Former Mexican President, Vicente Fox, Pushes Mexico To Become Technology Hub
by Peter High, published on Forbes
Recently, I was thrilled to be invited to meet with former Mexican President Vicente Fox at his presidential library, the first for a Mexican president. Among the many opportunities he has pursued is to develop a Charlie Rose-style interview program. I was a guest on his show, and he agreed to return the favor.
Fox’s story is an extraordinary one. He rose from delivery route supervisor to President of Coca-Cola KO +0.35% Mexico. He was elected as Governor of Guanajuato after first serving in the federal Chamber of Deputies. As he explained in my interview, he did not grow up dreaming of being President of Mexico. Rather, he got involved because he had grown so frustrated with corruption. He won an improbable victory on his 58th birthday, July 2, 2000. In this interview, we spoke about his major accomplishments as president, the importance of thinking strategically, the transformative power of technology, as well as a variety of other topics.
(To hear an unabridged podcast version of this interview, please visit this link. This is the tenth interview in the IT Influencers series. To read past interviews in the series with Sal Khan, David Pogue, Walt Mossberg, Jim Goodnight, Sir James Dyson, and Sebastian Thrun (among others), please visit this link. To read future interviews in the series, please click the “Follow” link above.)
Peter High: As we sit here in Centro Fox, the first presidential library in Mexico and a center for education and exploration, I thought we would begin with the objectives of Centro Fox.
Vicente Fox: Our vision is that leaders, persons with a name and a face, are who change and build the world that we live in much more than institutions. So if we believe in leadership and that it can change the fate of Latin America, this can be changed.
We are a Latin American center that is geared around ideas, leadership, and strategies. We do it through, number one, young kids. The middle-upper class and the rest have access to the best universities. But the broader constituency does not receive any messages or aspirations of happiness in life at home. What they get, it seems, is the message to be poor all of their lives or be migrants and move all around the world. That is the core of what we do, academically, as a think thank, and as a social institution committed to the poor. We tackle the issues of education, poverty, health, and housing, which are the main four ingredients that people need to have a better life.
We have a program, for instance, called President for the Day where we bring up to 500 kids a day, 60,000 a year, to give them that message to try and change their minds. We wish we could have a “next experience,” but for the moment it is enough; they go back home saying, “I can be President” or “I can be an architect”. We also do some think tank in relation to public policies that we take to government. Thirdly, we are also concentrated on gender equity, which in Mexico as well as Latin America is a weakness. It is a passion, so every single one of our programs has an emphasis on women and gender equity.