President Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico since 2006, will be this year’s Commencement Speaker. While his name may not be well known to American students, Calderón has been possibly the most influential politician of modern Mexico, leading a courageous but violent fight against the drug cartels that currently plague Mexican society.
According to Stanford President John Hennessy, “Calderón assumed office at one of the most challenging times in the history of his nation, and is a respected foreign leader who has been involved in public service and advocacy for his entire life. He is committed to finding solutions to a number of national and global problems, ranging form combating drug cartels to comprehensive reform and arms control. His views on a life devoted to solving pressing problems and to improving society will be particularly meaningful to our graduates, as will his experience leading a nations so vitally intertwined with the future of California and the United States.”
This year’s Senior Class Presidents said they nominated Calderón as the 2011 Commencement speaker “to send a powerful message” to the country and to the rest of the world about the importance of leadership in international cooperation and social justice. Calderón’s presidency has not been without controversy–15,273 people died in Mexico’s drug wars in 2010 alone–but hopefully his speech will highlight the reasons behind his decision to pursue his goals for a drug-free Mexico in the face of such adversity.