Ernesto Zedillo is the Frederick Iseman ’74 Director of the Program for the Study of Globalization at the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs and a Professor in the Field of International Economics and Politics; Professor of International and Area Studies; and Professor Adjunct at the Yale School of the Environment.
After serving as Deputy Director at the Central Bank of Mexico, he was appointed Mexico’s Undersecretary of the Budget, Secretary of Economic Programming and the Budget, and Secretary of Education. He served his country as President of Mexico from 1994 to 2000.
Professor Zedillo has been at Yale since 2002 directing the YCSG and teaching courses on economics and global affairs, and during this time he has represented Yale in his service on numerous global and international commissions. He is a member of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders founded by Nelson Mandela with the aim to use their collective experience and influence for peace, justice and human rights worldwide. He serves on the Global Commission on Drug Policy; the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age; the United Nations High-level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs; and the Board of the International Finance Forum based in China. Recently he served as Chair of the Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health, Chairman of the Board of the Natural Resource Governance Institute and Co-Chair of the Inter-American Dialogue. He is on the 21st Century Council of the Berggruen Institute, and on the Selection Committee of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity and the Hilton Humanitarian Prize. In 2020-2021, he served on the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR) charged by the World Health Assembly to review critically how international and national institutions prepared for and reacted to the pandemic. The Independent Panel’s purpose was to learn all they could about the pandemic’s early emergence, global spread, health, economic and social impacts, and how it had been controlled and mitigated and to make actionable recommendations providing an evidence-based path for the future.
He was on the Governing Board of the World Economic Forum from 2002 to 2014 where he actively promoted the participation of the leaders of top universities, beyond the engagement of some of their distinguished scholars. From 2010 to 2012 he served as Vice Chair of the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security, Chaired by Kofi Annan. Prior to that he served as Chair of the Global Development Network; the High Level Commission on Modernization of World Bank Group Governance; the International Task Force on Global Public Goods; the Commission on the Future of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); and Co-Chair of the Task Force on Trade and Development for the UN Millennium Development Goals Commission; the Brookings Institution Partnership for the Americas Commission; the Regional Migration Study Group; and the Global Development Center’s Working Group on US-Mexico Migration, among others.
He is a member of the Group of 30, a consultative group on international economic and monetary affairs. He holds honorary degrees from Yale and Harvard Universities; the University of Ghana; the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and the University of Miami. He is the recipient of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom from Fear Award; the Gold Insigne of the Council of the Americas; the Tribuna Americana Award of the Casa de America of Madrid; the Berkeley Medal, UC Berkeley’s highest honor; and the 2006 Sustainable Development Leadership Award presented by the Energy Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi. In 2011 he was elected an international member of the American Philosophical Society and was awarded Yale’s Wilbur Cross Medal in 2001. He holds decorations from the Governments of 32 countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, Brazil, and Argentina.
Currently he teaches undergraduate seminars on “Debating Globalization” and “The Economic Evolution and Challenges of the Latin American and Caribbean Countries” and formerly co-taught the lecture course “Trade Theory and Policy.” He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the School of Economics of the Natìonal Polytechnic Institute in Mexico and his M.A and Ph.D. in Economics from Yale.
His edited volumes include Trade in the 21st Century: Back to the Past? (Brookings Institution Press, 2021); Africa at a Fork in the Road: Taking Off or Disappointment Once Again? (Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, 2015); Rethinking the War on Drugs through the US-Mexico Prism (YCSG, 2012); Global Warming: Looking Beyond Kyoto (Brookings/YCSG, 2008); The Future of Globalization: Explorations in Light of Recent Turbulence (Routledge, 2008); and Reforming the United Nations for Peace and Security (YCSG, 2005). His other publications include numerous op-eds; a bimonthly column in Forbes magazine from 2001 to 2007; a co-authored article “Drug Policy in Mexico: The Cause of a National Tragedy – A Radical but Indispensable Proposal to Fix It” (Penn Law Journal, 2019); and a co-authored article “We Can’t Go Cold Turkey: Why Suppressing Drug Markets Endangers Society” (The Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, 2018).