Students from local high schools and the university gained insight Wednesday on international issues, leadership experience and the importance of following dreams from two former political leaders.
For Lizeth Macias, a student from Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School, the experience of meeting two world leaders was not only an honor, but also a life-changing moment.
Left with a feeling of empowerment and thoughts of getting involved in politics, what she said she will remember the most is the former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, advising the students to follow their dreams.
Joining Fox was Jose Luis Zapatero, the former prime minister of Spain and the fourth Head of State, to take part in the Vicente Fox Forum of World Leaders, according to Provost Nowell Donavan.
“We have a big outreach to the schools in this area, and that is what we are really aiming to do, to attract young people to hear these world leaders,” Donovan said.
Zapatero served as prime minister of Spain from 2004 to 2011, and his agenda included economic efficiency, women’s rights and democratic participation, all of which he echoed at the forum.
While Zapatero, along with other world leaders, may have different leadership experiences, there are unifying themes that connect them as world leaders, Donovan said.
The Fox Forum not only aimed for students to learn from these leadership experiences, but also have them realize that they can make a difference, he said.
Erika Acosta, a student from Trimble Technical High School, shared with Macias that the forum was inspiring.
She also said that even though she was not into international politics, Zapatero offered a detailed understanding of international issues and leadership. She said she plans to apply the advice given by both leaders in future career opportunities.
As for TCU students, Donovan said he hopes events like the Fox Forum will expand global awareness in students.
“What better timing than with the new Purple Passport program that promotes the infusion of international perspectives and skills at TCU,” he said.
He even hopes to organize a visit to Centro Fox, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing leadership qualities in young adults.
Paige Hunter, a junior psychology and philosophy double major, attended the forum and said she learned to think about economy and the impacts of recession on a global scale.
“Because of globalization, everybody is so connected now that it is really important to understand other people’s point of view, she said. “We also need to understand that what we do here can have a global effect.”