Outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderon heading to Harvard

Mexican President Felipe Calderon waves from the presidential palace. He hands over his post Saturday to Enrique Peña Nieto.
(Alex Cruz / EPA)
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MEXICO CITY -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon will head to Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., after his six-year term ends Saturday. He will be a teaching and research fellow in 2013, the university and the president’s office said in statements Wednesday.

The announcement put to rest one of the most pressing questions in Mexico’s political chatterbox: What’s the next post or destination for Calderon, who declared a military-led campaign against drug cartels that left scores of civilians dead or missing across the country?

For his next move, the politically conservative Calderon will be named Inaugural Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School for next year, allowing him to lecture, teach and conduct research as he pleases, the school said.


Calderon received a mid-career master’s degree in public administration at the Kennedy School in 2000. He also holds a law degree and a master’s degree in economics from institutions in Mexico.

In inviting him to Harvard, the school emphasized Calderon’s “pro-business” economic policies and his government’s reforms in areas such as climate change and healthcare.

“President Calderon is a vivid example of a dynamic and committed public servant, who took on major challenges in Mexico,” David T. Ellwood, dean of the school, said in the statement. “I am thrilled he will be returning.”

Earlier this year, Calderon was in negotiations to take a post at the University of Texas at Austin, sparking protests among students and faculty there. One organizer of a petition against inviting Calderon to the University of Texas told a local news outlet in September that his presence there would be “like saying, ‘We don’t care about your pain ... We don’t care that your country has been ravaged.’ ”

Elite private universities in the United States are friendly ground for Mexican presidents. Calderon gave the commencement speech at Stanford University in 2011. Ernesto Zedillo, president of Mexico from 1994 to 2000, is currently a professor at Yale University.

On Saturday, Calderon hands over Mexico’s presidential sash to Enrique Peña Nieto in a ceremony at the lower house of Congress to launch the country’s next six-year presidential term.



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