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Former Mexican president to deliver Cohen lecture

Former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, who now is director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, will address the issue of “Globalization at the Crossroads” when he delivers the 18th Annual Cohen International Relations Lecture.

The lecture, which takes place at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 8 at Zoellner Arts Center’s Baker Hall, is free and open to the public.

Zedillo was sworn into the office of the presidency of Mexico in 1994, following a campaign that involved an unprecedented 78% of the country’s registered voters. During his tenure, he is widely credited with the democratization of Mexico through a transfer of power following 71 years of single-party rule, and the institution of several sweeping economic, political, and judicial reforms.

Through his actions as president, he handed over to his successor, Vincente Fox, a stable democracy that saw its highest five-year gross domestic product growth in a quarter of a century.

In recent years, Zedillo has dedicated his career to helping developing nations pursue free trade agreements, while considering the welfare of other nations when developing policy.

A graduate of Mexico’s public school system, Zedillo enrolled at age 18 at the Advanced School of Economics of the Instituto Politécnico Nacional, where he received his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1972. Zedillo earned his master's and Ph.D. degrees in economics from Yale University, where he studied the issue of public indebtedness in Mexico and its link to future growth of petroleum exports.

In 1978, after teaching at the Instituto Politécnico Nacional and El Colegio de México, Zedillo became involved in economic research and analysis at the Banco de México. He became widely recognized as one of the main proponents of economic modernization policies.

While working at the Banco de México, Zedillo established the Exchange Risk Coverage Trust Fund (FICORCA), the agency that made it possible to restructure the debt of many Mexican companies in the early 1980s. This action assured the companies’ financial recovery and preserved the jobs of thousands of Mexican workers.

He later served as the secretary of programming and budget, where he formulated the National Development Plan and prepared federal expenditure budgets for the country, and as secretary of education, where he reformed the pre-school, primary, and secondary education systems in Mexico.

In 1993, Zedillo left the government to head the campaign of the candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party, Louis Donald Colosio. Zedillo rose to the presidency when Colosio was assassinated in March 1994.

For more information about the lecture, e-mail Stephanie Bodnar or call her at (610) 758-3898.

Posted on Wednesday, April 07, 2004

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