Q&A with … Vicente Fox

In November, the former president of Mexico spoke at the inaugural forum which bears his name to tout leadership development and problem-solving.

Q&A with … Vicente Fox

Vicente Fox, president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006 kicked off a new forum named for him that will bring world leaders to campus in the coming year. (Photo by Glen E. Ellman)

Q&A with … Vicente Fox

In November, the former president of Mexico spoke at the inaugural forum which bears his name to tout leadership development and problem-solving.

Leading during difficult times is the focus of The Vicente Fox Forum of World Leaders at TCU, which debuted in November with its namesake giving the keynote address. The event will bring high-profile leaders from across the globe to North Texas in 2012. President Fox, who served as president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006, kicked off the inaugural forum by touching on difficult problems facing the world, such as drug violence and  economic imbalance, and how students can prepare for leadership roles. He received a standing ovation.

How did The Vicente Fox Forum of World Leaders begin? I participate in a lot of meetings with former presidents. I have that great opportunity several times a year, and that’s when I thought I would invite them to come to Centro Fox [his state-of-the-art presidential library and learning center]. With that in mind, I started to invite them and had a great response. I think to all of us citizens, it’s mighty important to listen to what’s going on in the world. Many times we only pay attention to what is going on in our neighborhood. Today, many things are happening in the world, the rise of the emerging nations, the growth of the Asian economies, the problems in Europe and the European Union; and then there’s the debate, problem and conflict that’s here in the United States in not reaching the decisions that this nation needs urgently. With all this in mind, I think bringing in leaders will give us the inspiration to think about our problems, but also see the opportunities and what others are doing. I think that’s crucial.

How did you choose TCU as the setting for the forum? One good reason is that it shares the same philosophy I learned in the Jesuit system, and the second good reason is Juan Hernandez ’78 (MA) (PhD ’81), a former student from this university, who invited me to come here and propose this project to the university authorities. Of course, Texas itself, greater Fort Worth and Dallas, is so close to Mexico and so relevant to Mexico, so it’s something that’s meaningful for us to bridge ideas, share happenings. We’re doing the series here and in Centro Fox in Guanajuato. We want to enhance this relationship and make it very fruitful.

What can people expect in future forum events? We’re going to bring in former presidents and leaders in Asia so you’ll have the opportunity to listen to what’s going on there, in that part of the world. If we bring in people from Europe like President [José María] Aznar [of Spain] and President Lech Walesa from Poland we will have the opportunity to directly listen to the happenings in that part of the world and, from that, we can much better understand our own problems.

In your speech, you mentioned the challenges facing young people today. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing their generation? I think most are disappointed with the leadership we have in politics. If we get committed to listening to what they are doing or listening to the reasons for what they did, we will be learning how to act, and how to work to build a better future. At the very end, that’s the key. We want to build a better world and for that we need leadership.


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