Last night the Drake and Des Moines communities gathered for the 28th Bucksbaum Lecture presented by former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox.
After a long string of presidents from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, Fox was elected in 2000 as a member of an opposition party, the first since 1920. He went on to serve for six years, facing tumultuous times during his presidency.
Economic instability, civil unrest, crime and drug trafficking were all prominent issues Fox faced during his six years. His prior experience as governor of Guanajuato state and his belief in the potential of the nation allowed Fox to tackle the issues and work to improve Mexico as a whole. He was also able to see past the issues his country faced and spent time focusing on Mexico’s relationship with the United States, particularly pertaining to trade.
Now, Fox shares his experiences and perspectives as a public speaker. He joins several prominent figures in society as a Bucksbaum lecture presenter, including Dr. Maya Angelou, Dr. Jane Goodall and Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson.
The Bucksbaum Lecture committee, chaired by law professor Neil Hamilton, felt that Fox would be a unique and interesting speaker to bring to campus.
“The committee meets several times a year and considers different names and weighs them against who we’ve had in the past and whether someone would be interesting and would draw an interesting crowd,” Hamilton said. “We really have never had a former government leader of this rank as our speaker, so we thought having Fox would be a good decision.”
During the day on Wednesday, prior to his lecture, Fox met with students for a brief conference and question and answer session. Roughly 80 students and members of the community were in attendance and questioned Fox on subjects pertaining to immigration, legalization of drugs, the economy and relations between the United States and Mexico.
Fox expressed his support of the legalization of drugs and the importance of the relationship between Mexico and the U.S.
“We’re neighbors and we’re partners,” he said. “So we must work on that relationship because we’re neighbors. That we cannot avoid.”
He went on to comment on the condition of North America in regard to the economy and the shift in economic and global powers.
“I am absolutely convinced that North America, if we work together and understand a partnership, that we can build a future we want and that we can keep being the number one block in the world, the number one market, the number one power. But we have to work to that,” he said.
Fox’s lecture last night drew a large crowd to the Knapp Center, drawing attention not only to Fox himself, but also to Drake and the Bucksbaum Lecture series in general.
“Our goal is always for the university to create an educational and informative evening for our students, faculty, staff and the Des Moines community,” Hamilton said. “We want to show the role that the university plays in helping create an informed and engaged citizenry and we have done that by collectively over time bringing interesting people, like Fox, to the area.”