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Felipe Calderón the former president of Mexico and one of the great leaders of the modern world was kind enough to speak to the Trinity University community last week. He started his lecture addressing the college students in the audience by telling them that College is the one moment in our life that defines our character, who we are and what we want. The defiance of character would become a reoccurring theme in his lecture. He said that college is the time when you figure out who you are because this is the point in your life when you are given so much freedom. In high school you are under close supervision of teachers and parents and coaches. In college you have to choose what you are going to do with your time. Are you going to get involved or are you going to sleep al day? The choice is yours.
Then he touched on what it takes to be a leader. He said that there are two main things that make a true leader: severe spiritual motive and philosophy and an honest motive behind your intentions. Calderón had a very clear motive behind wanting to be a leader. He wanted to move his country into the world spotlight. He overcame so much during his tenure that started with the closest presidential election in history. One political party formerly controlled Mexico and Calderón ended the reign of the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) which had control for over 76 years. Calderón also solved an economic crisis, dealt with violence, swine flu, a horrible drought and the death of three close friends and political associates while he was in office.
Calderón was also vey successful in reviving the Mexican economy during his stay in office and it continues to improve today. The Mexican economy is more competitive than ever. It accounts for 60% of the exports to all Latin American and Caribbean countries. Mexico is the world’s largest exporter of flat screen televisions, the 6th largest exporter of phones and the 3rd largest exporter of vehicles. Calderón believes strongly in Political and economic freedom. For this reason Mexico will soon have a Stock Market of its own similar to the U.S. and many countries have established free trade agreements with Mexico. This revival of the Economy has also stopped the immigration problem; the past four years there has been 0% immigration. I am very impressed with his economic strategy as he realizes that a successful nation begins with educating its citizens.
Calderón said the main step in creating a successful nation is changing from a manufacturer of goods to a manufacturer of talent. By talent he means talented individuals who will become the great minds of the next generation. In order to achieve this Calderón invested heavily in education. Every child under the age of twelve has a place in school; there are 1100 new public high schools and 140 new public and tuition free universities. This is a great step forward for Mexico. While we offer free education for all students in the United States through high school we are loosing sight of how valuable an education is. The government cuts are really affecting how well we are able to educate our students. While the rest of the world is taking steps forward the U.S. is falling behind.
Calderón ended his lecture by reminding the audience to never stop defending your ideas and dreams. He said to fight for something that you believe in so that you can leave a legacy. He then said that the key in life is to graduate in life, be a good citizen in your country and find a purpose to you existence and embrace it.
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