Pubdate: Wed, 30 Nov 2011 Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX) Copyright: 2011 Fort Worth Star-Telegram Contact: http://www.star-telegram.com/submit-a-letter/ Website: http://www.star-telegram.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/162 Author: Diane Smith FORMER MEXICAN PRESIDENT VICENTE FOX INSPIRES LOCAL YOUTH TO BECOME LEADERS FORT WORTH -- Struggling economies, drug violence along the U.S./Mexico border and immigration are great challenges vexing today's global leaders and young people must step from the sidelines to become future pioneers with solutions, former Mexican president Vicente Fox told hundreds of high school and college students Wednesday at Texas Christian University. "Today, it's time for leaders," Fox told a crowd that included high school students from across North Texas. "You will have to build that future that is coming." Fox is on a mission to inspire young people to step up and become tomorrow's problem solvers. His quest began in Fort Worth with the launching of The Vicente Fox Forum of World Leaders at TCU. The event, held at TCU's Brown-Lupton University Union, is the first in a series to link world leaders to young people. Next year, global issues that were once merely discussion during a current events session in a social studies will be explored by world leaders such as Jose Maria Aznar, former prime minister of Spain, and Shimon Peres, president of Israel. Fox kicked off the discussion with a blunt picture of some of the world's ills. He said economies in Italy and Greece are in need of a fix. Asian governments and economies are poised for global leadership and The Americas must compete. He proposed a NAFTA-Plus solution or reinvigorating the trade agreement so that Mexico, the United States and Canada can build their economies. Illegal drug flow The United States -- long a democratic power -- seems unable to take charge of the internal issues such as an ailing economy and high government debt, he said. So from the outside, it appears U.S. leaders aren't making enough tough decisions, he said. "In the meantime, the economy is weakening," Fox said. "The debt is mammoth." Fox said Mexico needs to work at offering more educational opportunities and jobs for young people so they are not lured into jobs with drug cartels. He called on the United States to make tough choices to stop the flow of illegal drugs that passes through Mexico from South American countries en route to the United States. He suggested one solution might be for the United States to legalize drugs to stop the black market. While Mexico needs to develop resources for its people, Fox warned against the anti-migrant movements that can cost in potential human resources. "Isolation will only bring defeat," he said. "Isolation and walls don't work." Inspiring words Fox's words inspired many students, who said they want to serve. Many said they couldn't believe they were able to sit in the same room as Fox. "To be honest, I don't know what I am going to be in the future, but I am willing to work hard to accomplish what I can," said Victoria Ibarra, 14, a freshman from Fort Worth's Northside High School. "I am honored, as a Latina, to meet one of the most important people of Mexico." Joselin Barrajas, a 17-year-old senior at Fort Worth's Trimble Tech said Fox placed a big responsibility on her generation. "The first thing we need to do is get ourselves together," she said of fixing U.S. issues before tackling the world. Maria Pacheco, 17, a junior from Northside High School, said she wants to be a surgeon and then take her service to places in need. "I want to get as high as I can here," Pacheco said. Antonio Soresh, a 15-year-old sophomore from Arlington Heights, is ready to heed Fox's call. "I want to step up to the plate," he said. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.