Mexico's President to Speak at Harvard Kennedy School

Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón will deliver this year’s commencement address to Harvard Kennedy School graduates on May 26.

Though the Kennedy School did not request a specific topic for the address, Kennedy School Dean David T. Ellwood said that he “would expect and hope” that Calderón, a former Mason Fellow at the Kennedy School who graduated with a MPA in 2000, speak about public service.

Now in the fourth year of his six-year term, Calderón has managed to reform Mexico’s tax system and public pension fund as well as overhaul the electoral laws since he took office in 2006.

“He has tackled very, very difficult challenges in Mexico, and I admire the courage he has shown in doing that,” Ellwood said.

Ellwood said that he heard Calderón speak at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where the leader urged governments and corporations to pool together resources to meet targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.


“He was quite inspirational,” recalled Ellwood, who had met with Calderón before.

Calderón has also served as secretary of energy under former President Vicente Fox and president of the National Action Party’s national executive committee.

Calderón previously addressed the Kennedy School in Feb. 2008, defending his first year in office to a packed audience at the Institute of Politics.

The specific hour of Calderón’s address this year has yet to be determined, and the event will not be open to the public.

­­—Staff writer Sirui Li can be reached at