University Ombudsmen Network in Mexico Signs León Declaration

At the European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education annual conference in 2019, representatives from five networks of Ombuds in higher education in Spain, Portugal, Canada, Latin America, and Europe signed the León Declaration. With this document, the organizations agreed to:

  • identify areas of common interests
  • establish a public electronic forum
  • encourage each other to participate in respective network activities
  • and support each other in developing and safeguarding the networks.

On May 27, 2022, REDDU (Red de Defensores, Procuradores y Titulares de Organismos de Defensa de los Derechos Universitarios), the University Ombudsmen Network in Mexico, became a signatory.

At a ceremony with the Rector of the University of San Luis Potosi in Mexico, Alejandro Javier Zermeño Guerra, the following Ombuds signed the Declaration:

  • Urenda Queletzu Navarro Sanchez, Ombuds at the University of San Luis Potosi and President of REDDU
  • Guadalupe Barrena, Ombudsperson at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and RDDU General Secretary
  • Josef Leidenfrost, former Austrian Student Ombudsman and President of ENOHE.

The León Declaration was the very first ENOHE policy document issued in four languages: English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. The original signatories were Emilio Olias-Ruiz of the Conferencia Estatal de Defenosires Universitarios (Spain), Berta Batista of the Rede National de Provedores do Estudante do Ensino Superior (Portugal), Wilfredo Jesus Ardito Vega of the Red Iberoamericana de Defensorias Universitarias (Latin America) and Natalie Sharpe of the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons (Canada).

Rector Zermeño Guerra of USLP as well as REDDU President Sanchez both emphasized the importance of networks within countries as well as internationally in the further development of Ombuds offices in higher education. Barrena, General Secretary of RDDU and Ombuds at UNAM, welcomed the joint initiative of the both networks and endorsed it. Leidenfrost of ENOHE informed about the so called Rome Communiqué which 48 higher education ministers had approved during the ministerial conference in November 2020. The ministers there and then emphasized the importance of higher education Ombuds for safeguarding students rights and recommended their further development.

The cooperation between the Mexico-based and the European networks, which originally began in 2007 upon the initiative of the then Ombuds at UNAM, Leoncio Lara Saenz, was highlighted during the 2022 ENOHE Athens Conference where all in all six Mexican speakers were expected. Besides giving presentations during sessions the Mexican colleagues also participated in bilateral talks there about the possibilities of joint future projects, activities and publications of the two networks.