Dr. Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico and Laureate Presidential Counselor, visited Universidade Europeia in Lisbon, Portugal, where he delivered an address titled “Globalization in the Age of Populism.” Dr. Zedillo explored the relationship between populism and globalization, including relevant analysis of the situation that considers the broad political spectrum. Populism, according to Dr. Zedillo, is usually a political tactic to win or preserve power, democratically or not.
This conference was held at Universidade Europeia and was attended by key leaders and representatives of important organizations, most notably the Minister of Internationalization, Eurico Brilhante Dias; the Minister of the Embassy of Mexico, José Manuel Castañeda; the President of the Portuguese-Mexican Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Miguel Gomes da Costa; the Secretary General of the House of Latin America, Manuela Júdice.
Throughout his speech, the former president explained that populist leaders seek popularity and power by making unrealistic promises to solve real problems such as poverty, social exclusion, insecurity, and lack of economic opportunities that affect people across the globe.
According to Dr. Zedillo, populists tend to blame others for the problems and failures of their countries, promoting conspiracy theories in which certain individuals, organizations, or even entire countries are responsible for every conceivable problem. However, populist governments, despite promising to make their countries more independent of foreigners, ultimately weaken these countries, making them even more dependent and vulnerable to foreign powers.
Ernesto Zedillo was president of Mexico from 1994 to 2000. President Zedillo has been Chairman of the Global Development Network and Chairman of the High-Level Commission on Modernization of World Bank Group Governance. He served on the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament; the Partnership of the Americas Commission; the Commission on Drugs and Democracy; and the High-Level Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor. He currently chairs the oversight board of the Natural Resource Charter and is vice-chair of the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security.
President Zedillo was a professor at the National Polytechnic Institute and El Colegio de México. He currently is director of the Yale University Center for the Study of Globalization, and he serves as a Yale professor of International Economics and Politics; International and Area Studies; and Forestry and Environmental Studies. He earned his bachelor degree at the School of Economics of the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Yale University.
Click here to view Dr. Zedillo’s post-conference Q&A session with students as well as a full recording of the conference and related content.