Dr Ernesto Zedillo Ponce De Leon
President of Mexico 1994-2000
Former President of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo was born in Mexico City on December 27, 1951. He received his primary, secondary and undergraduate education from Mexican public schools. After graduating from the School of Economics of the National Polytechnic Institute, he went to Yale University to earn a Ph.D. in economics.
In 1978 Dr. Zedillo started a decade-long career at Mexicos Central Bank, where he served as economist, deputy manager of economic research, general director of a trust fund in charge of supporting the solution of the 1980s private sectors external debt problem, and deputy director of the bank. During his stay at the Bank of Mexico he published several professional articles in various books and journals. He also taught macroeconomics and international economics at master programs of the Colegio de Mexico and the National Polytechnic Institute.
In late 1987, he was appointed undersecretary of the budget at the Mexican Federal Government. In this position, he participated in the design and execution of an economic adjustment program that eventually lead, for the first time in many years, to the stabilization of the Mexican economy. A year later, he became head of the full secretariat. As secretary of economic programming and the budget (1988-1992), he contributed to the successful economic reforms undertook by the Mexican Federal Government during the early 1990s. He was appointed Secretary of Education in early 1992, with a precise mandate to launch a sweeping reform of the national basic education system. This was achieved after nine months and comprised not only the updating of the national curriculum and school materials, the establishment of special compensatory programs for the education of the poorest students, but also the decentralization of the whole system to state governments.
Dr. Zedillo left the Federal Government in late 1993 to become head of the campaign of Mr. Luis Donaldo Colosio, the PRI presidential candidate. He succeeded Mr. Colosio as the PRI presidential candidate after his assassination. He was elected President of Mexico on August 21, 1994. He received around 50 per cent of the total votes. More than 78 per cent of the registered voters participated in this election , which was considered both by national and international observers as unprecedented regarding its legality and transparency. Nevertheless, from his very first day in office he called for further and definitive political reforms to achieve full democracy in Mexico. This became an undeniable reality during Dr. Zedillos Presidency, thanks above all to the participation of all political parties and many Mexican citizens. Right at the start of his mandate, Dr. Zedillo´s government had to confront a major financial and economic crisis. He did not hesitate to take whatever harsh actions were deemed necessary to overcome the adverse situation. Boldness paid-off. The five year period with the highest GDP growth in recent Mexican history was achieved during 1996-2000. Economic discipline was not pursued at the expense of social justice during the Zedillo Presidency. Every year social programmes were allocated an increasing proportion of the Federal Budget until reaching its highest historical share in year 2000.
Former President Zedillo has been married to Nilda Patricia Velasco since 1974. They have five children: Ernesto, Emiliano, Carlos, Nilda Patricia and Rodrigo.
Dr Zedillo is also the Chair of the United Nations High Level Panel on Financing for Development