Yesterday a co-worker gave me a couple of tickets for World Affairs Council of Oregon's 2008 International Speaker Series. The series takes place at the Arlene Schnitzer Hall and in the past has featured Mikhail Gorbechev, Madeleine Albright, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and many other political players. The speaker this time was former Mexican President Vicente Fox. When I arrived to pick up my tickets there were protesters on the sidewalk carrying signs, speaking their mind about NAFTA, genetically modified foods, and immigration reform. It was great to see people speaking out and they really added to the excitement surrounding the event. I must admit that I did not know more than the average person about Central American politics. However, I appreciated the his attempts to illustrate the progress of the region and the complexities of their relationship with the United States. The seats were outstanding - I was five rows from the stage. As I left the building someone was giving away their tickets to the reception across the street, so I jumped at that opportunity. There I got another opportunity to see President Fox in a smaller venue, while snacking on the yummy cocktails.
You can find the Oregonian article on President Fox's speech here.