Professor Mary Docter Introduces Vicente Fox, President of Mexico 2000-2006 and the President’s Breakfast Speaker, Feb. 19 in Convocation
Buenos días y bienvenidos a todos. Good morning and welcome to all. It is truly an honor to introduce you to President Vicente Fox.
In the year 2000 all eyes were on Mexico as Vicente Fox, a political outsider of sorts, accomplished a feat many considered impossible. He won the presidency of Mexico and in the process shattered 71 years of one-party rule in that country. Campaigning to change a crippled, corrupt system, his victory ushered in a new era of hope in Mexican politics.
In his book, “Revolution of Hope,” he chronicles the life, faith, and dreams of a Mexican president. The grandson of a German American emigrant, he is living proof that not all those who leave home to seek the American dream travel north.
And, as the son and grandson of restless pioneers, he himself is always on the move. In his book he notes that in Mexico people say, “God has nothing but time, yet Fox is always in a hurry.”
He certainly moved fast when he worked as a truck driver for Coca Cola and sped his way up in the company to become the youngest CEO in the history of Coca-Cola Mexico.
A few years later, while still in his 30s, he was offered the presidency of the corporation’s entire Latin American empire and was poised for even greater things. But Vicente Fox declined, opting instead to return home —to his roots, the ranch he grew up on in Guanajuato, to help run the family businesses.
Don’t misunderstand. He remained “in a hurry.” But not for moving up the corporate ladder. He never really was much of a suit-and-tie kind of guy and was certainly not content sitting behind a desk. He is, instead, a man of action, of deep faith and convictions, a “man for others.” The Jesuits had taught him that it wasn’t enough to build up one’s own life projects; the real goal was to improve the lives of those less fortunate.
This eventually led him into a life of public service in local, state and national politics where, among other things, he initiated education reform, signed Mexico’s first Freedom of Information Act, established microlending banks to help lift people out of poverty, and fought for more progressive immigration policies with the United States.
Since leaving office in 2006, the former president has returned to the ranch his grandfather established, but he has not slowed down. In fact, Rancho San Cristóbal is now home to Mexico’s first presidential library, the Centro Fox academic think tank for global democracy, and the antipoverty foundation Vamos Mexico, which he founded with his wife, Marta Sahagún.
Always on the move, always in a hurry, he and his wife continue to work to bring hope and change not only to Mexico but throughout the Americas. A progressive thinker and activist, outspoken on issues of globalism, free trade, and immigration, sometimes controversial, always provocative, President Vicente Fox continues to fight for his American dream—an America of bridges, not walls; where people are lifted out of poverty and into the bright light of promise.
President Fox, we are honored that you chose to slow down just enough to share your morning with us and we look forward to learning from you.