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The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (National Autonomous University of Mexico) is a university in Mexico. as a liberal alternative to the Roman Catholic Church-sponsored Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico (founded on 21 September 1551 by a royal decree of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and brought to a definitive closure in 1867 by the liberals). UNAM's autonomy, granted in the 1920s, has given it the freedom to define its own curriculum and manage its own budget without interference from the government. This has had a profound effect on academic life at the university, which some claim boosts academic freedom and independence.
The UNAM generates a number of different publications in diverse areas, such as mathematics, physics and history. It is also the only university in Mexico with Nobel Prize laureates among its alumni: Alfonso García Robles (Nobel Peace Prize), Octavio Paz (Nobel Prize for Literature), and Mario Molina (Nobel Prize in Chemistry).
Besides being one of the most recognized universities in Latin America, it is one of the largest and the most artistically detailed. Its main campus is a World Heritage site that was designed by some of Mexico's best-known architects of the 20th century. Murals in the main campus were painted by some of the most recognized artists in Mexican history, such as Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.
The university was founded on 22 September 1910 by Justo Sierra, and brought to a definitive closure in 1867 by Benito Juárez and his fellow Mexican Liberal Party. he aimed to create a new university, secular in nature and national in scope, that could reorganize higher education within the country, serve as a model of positivism and encompass the ideas of the dominant Mexican liberalism.
The project initially unified the Fine Arts, Business, Political Science, Jurisprudence, Engineering, Medicine, Normal School and the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria schools; its first rector was Joaquin Eguía y Lis.
The new university's challenges were mostly political, due to the ongoing Mexican Revolution and the fact that the federal government had direct control over the university's policies and curriculum; some resisted its establishment on philosophical grounds. This opposition led to disruptions in the function of the university when political instability forced resignations in the government, including that of President Díaz. Internally, the first student strike occurred in 1912 to protest examination methods introduced by the director of the School of Jurisprudence, Luis Cabrera Lobato. By July of that year, a majority of the law students decided to abandon the university and join the newly-created Escuela Libre de Derecho.
In 1943, initial decisions were made to move the university from the various buildings it occupied in the city center to a new and consolidated university campus; the new Ciudad Universitaria
(lit. University City) would be in San Ángel, to the south of the city. The first stone laid was that of the Faculty (division) of Sciences, the first building of Ciudad Universitaria. President Miguel Alemán Valdés participated in the ceremony on 20 November 1952. The University Olympic Stadium was inaugurated on the same day. In 1957, the Doctorate Council was created to regulate and organize graduate studies.
Another major student strike, again over examination regulations, occurred in 1966. Students invaded the rectorate and forced the rector to resign. The Board of Regents did not accept this resignation, so the professors went on strike, paralyzing the university and forcing the Board's acceptance. In the summer, violent outbreaks occurred on a number of the campuses of the University-affiliated preparatory schools; police took over a number of high school campuses, with injuries. During August 1968, protests formed on the main campus against the police actions on the main campus and in the center of the city. The protests grew into a student movement that demanded the resignation of the police chief, among other things. More protests followed in September, gaining frequency and numbers. During a meeting of the student leaders, the army fired on the Chihuahua building in Tlatelolco (Mexico City), where the student organization supposedly was. Tlatelolco massacre, with many dead, wounded and detained. Protests continued after that. Only ten days later, the 1968 Summer Olympics opened at the University Stadium. The University was shut down for the duration. Finally, some progress was made toward restoring order.
The 1970s and 1980s saw the opening of satellite campuses in other parts of Mexico and nearby areas, to decentralize the system. There were some minor student strikes, mostly concerning grading and tuition. The 1999 UNAM strike at the university occurred in 1999–2000 when students shut down the campus for almost a year to protest a proposal to charge students the equivalent of USD150 per semester for those who could afford it. Referendums were held by both the university and the strikers, but neither side accepted the others' results. Acting on a judge's order, the police stormed the buildings held by strikers on 7 February 2000, putting an end to the strike.
In 2009, the university was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities and began the celebration of its centennial anniversary with several activities that will last until 2011.
"Ciudad Universitaria" (University City) is UNAM's main campus, located within the Coyoacán borough in the southern part of Mexico City. It was designed by architects Mario Pani, Enrique del Moral, Domingo García Ramos, Armando Franco Rovira and others, and it encloses the Estadio Olímpico Universitario, about 40 faculties and institutes, the Cultural Center, an ecological reserve, the Central Library (UNAM), and a few museums. It was built during the 1950s on an ancient solidified lava bed to replace the scattered buildings in downtown Mexico City, where classes were given. It was completed in 1954, and is almost a separate region within Mexico City, with its own regulations, councils, and police (to some extent), in a more fundamental way than most universities around the world.
In June 2007, its main campus, Ciudad Universitaria, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Apart from Ciudad Universitaria, UNAM has several campi in the Greater Mexico City (Acatlán, Aragón, Cuautitlán, Iztacala, and Zaragoza), as well as many others in several locations across Mexico (in Santiago de Querétaro, Morelia, Mérida, Yucatán, Ensenada, Baja California, Cuernavaca and Leon, Guanajuato), mainly aimed at research and graduate studies. It has also four small foreign campuses in the United States and Canada, focusing on the Spanish language and Mexican culture:
External buildings of interest
Palacio de Minería
Under the care of UNAM's Engineering Faculty, the Colonial Palace of Mining is located in the historical center of Mexico City. Formerly the School of Engineering, it has three floors, and hosts the International Book Expo ("Feria Internacional del Libro" or "FIL") and the International Day of Computing Security Congress ("DISC"). It also has a permanent exhibition of historical books, mostly topographical and naturalist works of 19th century Mexican scientists, in the former library of the School of Engineers. It also contains several exhibitions related to mining, the prime engineering occupation during the Spanish colonization. It is considered to be one of the most significant examples of Mexican architecture of its period, conceived by Manuel Tolsa during de Spanish colonial rule in a neoclassical style (18th century).
Casa del Lago
The House of the Lake, in Chapultepec, is a place devoted to cultural activities, including dancing, theatre plays and ballet. It also serves as meeting place for university-related organizations and committees.
Museum of San Ildefonso
This museum and cultural center is considered to be the birthplace of the Mexican Muralism movement. San Ildefonso began as a prestigious Jesuit boarding school, and after the Reform War, it gained educational prestige again as Escuela Nacional Preparatoria, which was closely linked to the founding of UNAM. This school, and the building, closed completely in 1978, then reopened as a museum and cultural center in 1994, administered jointly by UNAM, the National Council for Culture and Arts and the government of the Federal District of Mexico City. The museum has permanent and temporary art and archaeological exhibitions, in addition to the many murals painted on its walls by José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera and others. The complex is located between San Ildefonso Street and Justo Sierra Street in the Centro (Mexico City) of Mexico City . It served the National Museum of Natural History for almost 50 years, and is now devoted to the temporary exhibitions of visual arts.
National Astronomical Observatory
The National Astronomical Observatory is located in the Sierra San Pedro Mártir mountain range in Baja California, about 130 km south of United States-Mexican border. It has been in operation since 1970, and it currently has three large reflecting telescopes.
UNAM is organized in Faculty (division), rather than Academic department. Both undergraduate and Postgraduate education studies are available. UNAM is also responsible for the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria (ENP)
List of Faculties, National Schools and Institutes
- - Faculty of Accounting and Administration(UNAM)
- - Faculty of Architecture(UNAM)
- - Faculty of Chemistry (UNAM)
- - Faculty of Economics (UNAM)
- - Faculty of Engineering (UNAM)
- - Faculty of High Studies (FES) Aragón
- - Faculty of High Studies (FES) Acatlán
- - Faculty of High Studies (FES) Cuautitlán
- - Faculty of High Studies (FES) Iztacala
- - Faculty of High Studies (FES) Zaragoza
- - Faculty of Law (UNAM)
- - Faculty of Medicine (UNAM)
- - Faculty of Odontology (UNAM)
- - Faculty of Philosophy and Literature (UNAM)
- - Faculty of Political and Social Sciences (UNAM)
- - Faculty of Psychology (UNAM)
- - Faculty of Sciences (UNAM)
- - Faculty of Veterinarian Medicine (UNAM)
- National Schools
- - National School of Plastic Arts
- - National School of Music
- - National School of Nursery and Obstetrics
- - National School of Social Work
- - National Preparatory School (with 9 high schools)
- College of Sciences and Humanities (with 5 high schools)
- - Institute of Aesthetic Research (UNAM)
- - Center for Genomic Sciences(CCG)
According to the 2009 THES - QS World University Rankings
, the University is the 190th best-ranked university in the world and the second best in Ibero-America. According to the 2008 Academic Ranking of World Universities
, developed by the Institute of Higher Education of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, UNAM is ranked in the 152–200 tier, and holds second place among Ibero-American universities in a tie between the University of Buenos Aires and Brazilian University, below the University of São Paulo (101–151 tier).
UNAM has excelled in many areas of research and houses many of Mexico's premiere research institutions. In recent years, it has attracted students and hired professional scientists from all over the world (most notably from Russia, India and the United States), which has created a unique and diverse scientific community.
Scientific research at UNAM is divided between faculties, institutes, centers and schools, and covers a range of disciplines in Latin America. Some of the more noted institutes include: the Institute of Astronomy, the Institute of Biotechnology, the Institute of Nuclear Sciences, the Institute of Ecology, the Institute of Physics, the Institute of Cell Physiology, the Institute of Geophysics, the Institute of Engineering, the Institute of Materials Research, the Institute of Chemistry, the Institute of Biomedical Sciences, and the IIMAS.
Research centers tend to focus on multidisciplinary problems particularly relevant to Mexico and the developing world, most notably, the Center of Applied Sciences and Technological Development, which focuses on connecting the sciences to real-world problems (e.g., optics, nanosciences), and Center of Energy Research, which conducts world-class research in alternative energies.
All research centers are open to students from Mexico and around the world. The UNAM holds a number of programs for students within the country, using scientific internships to encourage research in the country.
UNAM's scientific output continues to grow; despite numerous attempts by the Mexican government to curtail its budget, the University currently produces 60% of all scientific publications in Mexico.
As for basic sciences, UNAM currently has two Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholars and an endowment from the NIH extramural research program.
Students and faculty
Sports, clubs, and traditions
Professional football team
UNAM's Football (soccer) team, Club Universidad Nacional, participates in the Primera División de México of the Mexican Football League Division. The club became two-time consecutive champions of the Torneo de Apertura, and the Torneo de Clausura in 2004. Their home ground is the Estadio Olímpico Universitario stadium.
The University has as an annual tradition to make a large display of Day of the Dead all over the main square of Ciudad Universitaria. Each school builds an ofrenda, and in the center, there is usually a large ofrenda made according to a theme corresponding to the festivities of the University for that year.
UNAM students and professors are regarded throughout Mexico as very politically-aware and sometimes intensely politically active. While most of its students usually adhere to left-wing political ideologies and movements, the University has also borne a number of prominent right-wing and neo-liberal politicians, including Carlos Salinas de Gortari and Manuel Gómez Morín.
The UNAM contains several associations of current students and alumni that provide extra-curricular activities to the whole community, enriching the University's activities with cultural, social and scientific events.
- Fundacion UNAM
- Nibiru Sociedad Astronomica
Many of the most prominent figures in the economical, political, scientific and artistic life in Mexico were members of the UNAM alumni or faculty:
Heads of state
- Miguel Alemán Valdés (President of Mexico 1946–1952)
- Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado (President of Mexico 1982–1988)
- Luis Echeverría (President of Mexico 1970–1976)
- José López Portillo y Pacheco (President of Mexico 1976–1982)
- Abel Pacheco de la Espriella (President of Costa Rica 2002–2006)
- Alfonso Portillo (President of Guatemala 2000–2004)
- Carlos Salinas de Gortari (President of Mexico 1988–1994)
- Antonio Carrillo Flores (Cabinet Minister in several previous administrations, 1929, 1950)
- Alfonso Caso y Andrade (a very noted archaeologist)
- Alan Cranston (United States Senate)
- Carlos Mendoza Davis (Baja California Sur politician)
- Álvaro García Linera (Vice-President of Bolivia)
- Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Head of Government of the Federal District of the Mexican Federal District from 2000 to 2005, candidate for the Presidency of Mexico in 2006 and 2012)
- Abel Pacheco (President of Costa Rica)
- Alfonso Portillo (President of Guatemala)
- Veton Surroi (Kosovo publicist and leader of the Kosovar Party Reformist Party ORA)
- Fernando Baeza Melendez (Mexico, Senator from Chihuahua, Ex-Head of Government of Chihuahua, Politician)
- Luis Félix López (Secretary of Government of Ecuador)
- Narciso Bassols (former ambassador to Russia, France, and Great Britain; former director of UNAM's School of Law)
- Antonio Carrillo Flores (Secretary of Foreign Affairs (Mexico) during the Gustavo Díaz Ordaz administration)
- Alfonso García Robles (a Nobel Peace Prize laureate)
- Antonio Gómez Robledo (Secretary of Foreign Affairs (Mexico) during the José López Portillo administration)
- Rosario Green (Secretary of Foreign Affairs (Mexico) during the Ernesto Zedillo administration)
- Jorge Alvarez Fuentes (Currently ambassador to Lebanon, Qatar and UAE. Previous posting in New Zealand from 1999–2004)
Artists, writers and humanists
- Carmen Aristegui, journalist
- William F. Buckley (writer and political philosopher; attended in 1943 prior to being commissioned in the US Army during the World War II)
- Alfonso Caso (archaeologist)
- Salvador Elizondo (writer and a member of El Colegio Nacional)
- Bolívar Echeverría (Ecuadorian writer and philosopher)
- Julio Estrada (composer, writer and UNAM scholar)
- Carlos Fuentes (writer, essayist and a member of El Colegio Nacional)
- Alfonso García Robles (a Nobel Peace Prize laureate)
- Teodoro González de León (architect and responsible for the original urban planning of the university's campus: Ciudad Universitaria, now cataloged by Unesco as World Heritage)
- Enrique Krauze (historian, essayist and publisher, director of Letras Libres
- Agustín Landa Verdugo (architect and urban planner)
- Ricardo Legorreta (laureated architect)
- Audre Lorde (writer, poet and activist)
- Horst Matthai Quelle (philosopher)
- Carlos Monsiváis (editorialist and writer)
- José Emilio Pacheco (writer and a member of El Colegio Nacional)
- Eduardo Pareyón Moreno (archaeologist)
- Fernando del Paso (writer)
- Octavio Paz (poet and essayist; Literature Nobel Prize laureate)
- Elena Poniatowska (journalist and writer)
- Alfonso Reyes (writer, philosopher and diplomat)
- Alejandro Rossi (philosopher and writer)
- Jaime Sabines (poet)
- Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez (philosopher and writer)
- Enrique Semo (historian, writer, activist, Mexico City Secretary of Culture)
- Jaime Torres Bodet (writer and politician)
- Ayako Tsuru (mural artist)
- Jorge Volpi (novelist and essayist; current director of Canal 22 in Mexican free television)
- Maruxa Vilalta (dramaturg)
- Jacobo Zabludovsky (lawyer, journalist and first Anchorman in Mexico)
- Juan García Esquivel (musician)
Physicians and surgeons
- Carlos Fernández del Castillo (specialist in pancreatic diseases, pancreatobiliary surgery, gastrointestinal surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, USA)
- Guillermo Soberón Acevedo (biochemist, member of El Colegio Nacional)
- Jorge Calles-Escandón (endocrinologist, specializing in thyroid biopsy, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and insulin pumps at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, USA)
- Ignacio Chávez Sánchez (Prominent Mexican physician, founded the first cardiology area in the General Hospital of Mexico. He was the rector of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (1965–1966). Founded several Mexican institutions in Cardiology and he was appointed honorary doctor or rector of 95 universities around the world. He was a founding member of El Colegio Nacional (1943).)
- Jorge Soní Cassani
- Fernando Antonio Bermudez Arias (prominent physician, cardiologist, scientist, writer, teacher, historian, artist and social defender)
- Jorge Eduardo Cortes-Franco (prominent hematologist at Houston, Texas' University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center)
- Miguel Alcubierre (theoretical and computational physicist; see Alcubierre metric)
- Nabor Carrillo Flores (a soil mechanics expert, a nuclear energy advisor and former president of UNAM)
- Carlos Frenk (astronomer, a pioneer in simulations of large-scale structures)
- Guillermo Haro (astronomer, co-discoverer of Herbig–Haro objects)
- Miguel de Icaza (free software programmer)
- Antonio Lazcano (a notable biologist working in the field of origin of life; a current member of the group of scientists working to understand and fight against the A/H1N1 virus)
- Luis E. Miramontes (co-inventor of the contraceptive pill)
- Mario Molina (a Chemistry Nobel Prize laureate)
- Marcos Moshinsky (a theoretical physicist)
- Rodolfo Neri Vela (the first Mexican in space)
- Víctor Neumann-Lara (a pioneer in graph theory in Mexico)
- Ruy Pérez Tamayo (a pathologist and a member of El Colegio Nacional)
- Miguel Reyes Mugica (noted pediatric pathologist and expert on children's cancer)
- Constantino Reyes-Valerio (chemist and historian who coined the term arte indocristiano
and contributed to the discovery of the production of Maya blue pigment)
- Jerzy Rzedowski (plant scientist; pioneer in the field of Neotropical florsitics)
- Salvador Zubirán (a physician, founder of the National Institute of Nutrition)
- Gilberto Borja Navarrete (engineer, founder of Grupo ICA, one of the main national and international building companies)
- Carlos Slim Helú (businessman and the Forbes list of billionaires)
- Hugo Sánchez (one of Mexico's most acknowledged football players; former Mexican National football team and Almeria manager)
- María Eugenia "Cuca" Huerta (one of Mexico's top female football flag players and multiple champion at local and international leagues)
- Jorge González Reyna, architect.
- Max Cetto, architect.
- Alejandro Corichi, astrophysicist.
- Axel Didriksson, a writer education researcher and current Secretary of Education working for the Government of Mexico City.
- Erich Fromm, a German-born philosopher and Psychoanalysis, founder of the Mexican Institute of Psychoanalysis.
- José Gaos, philosopher.
- Pablo González Casanova , sociologist and former president of the UNAM.
- Jorge González Torres, politician, former presidential candidate.
- Paul Kirchhoff, anthropologist and ethnohistorian, one of the founders of anthropological studies at UNAM.
- José Miguel Insulza, a Chilean politician, secretary of the Organization of American States.
- Larry Laudan, philosopher
- Miguel León-Portilla, historian and Nahuatl researcher.
- Florian Luca, mathematician
- Rodolfo Neri Vela, the first Mexican astronaut to go into space.
- Edmundo O'Gorman, historian and writer.
- Imanol Ordorika, a specialist in education.
- Kiyoto Ota, sculptor.
- Arturo Rosenblueth, physiologist.
- Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez, a Spanish-born philosopher.
- Manuel Sandoval Vallarta, physicist and cosmic ray researcher.
- Sara Sefchovich, writer.
- Surendra Pal Verma, Volcanologist
- John S. Armstrong-Altrin, Sedimentologist
UNAM's Philharmonic Orchestra (OFUNAM)