Yale Bulletin
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Ernesto Zedillo '81 Ph.D.,
former president of Mexico

Zedillo decries 'shameful trend of increasing polarization'

Another one of the Yale-educated world leaders who spoke at the "Democratic Vistas, Global Perspectives" symposium in October 2001 was Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico, who gave a talk titled "Envisioning the World in the Next Century: Challenges to a Global University."

Zedillo earned his Ph.D. in economics in 1981 at Yale, where his teachers included some of the world's top economists. Later, as Mexico's president 1994 to 2000, he helped create a new era of democracy and economic stability in his country.

In his talk at Yale, he called for the creation of a formal system of global economic governance and said that the stability of the world depends on it. Today, he said, the "voices" of too many developing countries are not being heard on economic issues of international importance, including trade and free markets. This, he said, leads to "mounted frictions" with and a "sense of frustration" in poorer countries that are not market participants. Such polarization, he maintained, will ultimately have adverse effects on the industrial nations who are currently benefiting the most from globalization.

Zedillo said Yale can help reverse the "shameful trend of increasing polarization between the haves and the have-nots" of the world by educating its students about global challenges and by its "persistent" cultivation of ideas on how to solve them."The public doesn't think that poverty in the rest of the world will affect them," he said. "The challenge is to persuade politicians and the public in developed countries ... that [to help struggling nations] is an investment in building a more secure world."


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