Speech of Mr. Carlos Slim Domit, Chief Executive Officer of Telefonos de Mexico, on the occasion of the Telmex Foundation "21th Century Mexico" Event
Mexico City, September 12, 2013.
Dear Telmex scholars
Welcome and congratulations to you all,
This is a very special day and I would like to thank everybody at the Carlos Slim Foundation and Telmex for having worked with dedication to make this great event possible.
But more than anything else, I would like to thank you all, Telmex scholars, because you are not only the best students in Mexico, but also the core of our trust in our country’s future. We are very proud of you and we count on your determination to turn into reality the great promise that Mexico represents. Today is your day.
Several years ago we initiated this scholarship program. We were convinced that by providing individuals access to better opportunities we could make a difference in this era we are intensely living in.
For a number of decades and as a result of hard work and efforts we have succeeded in building prosperous enterprises based on very clear and solid principles.
Notwithstanding, more than a century ago our grandparents arrived in Mexico leaving everything they possessed behind. They came here with practically nothing, with no formal education and without even understanding the language of a country that opened to them its doors. The only thing they did possess was an enormous desire to build a better future for themselves and for their children. They succeeded thanks to two fundamental reasons:
Firstly, their vision was upheld by a firm ethical stance and a dedication to work that have been transferred along to ensuing generations; and secondly, Mexico offered them an opportunity, as it does to any individual who is willing to give it all when it comes to accomplishing his/her dreams.
Like them, we have always been confident about the future of Mexico and have thus worked with the conviction that a fundamental part of our responsibility is to help other families accede to the same opportunities we had.
In today’s globalized, strongly competitive and interconnected economy, these opportunities begin with the right of each individual to access education, health services and all forms of human capital development creating more jobs and less poverty.
During the period of the so-called “Mexican Miracle”, previous generations contributed to transform our country from a mainly rural and agricultural one to an urban and industrialized land. Nowadays, our generation must help to transform Mexico once again, and convert our economy into an inclusive one, fostered by better access to opportunities and development for all.
We have a profound conviction about the capabilities of your generation to lead us to that future.
At this very precise moment, here and around the world, Mexican young scientists are performing medical research that is saving thousand of lives; they are producing new technological inventions, they are excelling in sports, culture and the environment among other topics. They are all contributing to build our national pride thanks to the world’s recognition of our successes in so many fields.
You are here today because you have the skills, the motivation, the energy and the passion to make your own dreams and Mexico’s dreams come true. We are all here to help others accede to better opportunities allowing them to take the maximum advantage of their potentials and talents.
Our job is not limited to providing better access to broadband Internet and telecommunication services. Our job is also to provide better access to wider solutions by means of state of the art technologies; we are here to construct bridges and narrow the gaps. This is why we are also investing in applications to help people have access to health services when they live kilometers away from a doctor or a hospital. This is why we are helping many Mexican nationals that have no bank accounts to better administer their finances on line or send money to their relatives.
Our goal and commitment to the millions of people we serve in almost 30 countries around the world is to continue investing in infrastructure, training and innovation. We will compete intensely to achieve faster, easier and universal access to information. By this means, we will continue contributing to job creation and economic growth, particularly in Mexico, where our workforce is comprised of a team of over 200 thousand individuals.
On top of the social benefits arising from our business activities we are devoted to build a more inclusive society by means of our foundations. This is a personal pledge to all of us, expressed not only in important sums of money but also in the time and energy that each one of us is offering to find solutions benefitting the largest number of people.
To date, the Carlos Slim Foundation has provided direct support to the lives of over 30 million people through its programs in the education, health and economic development sectors, among many others. We strive to find innovative and sustainable solutions that will also help an individual to develop him/herself.
The only way to really combat poverty and exclusion is to help people acquire proper health and education, particularly high quality education, and most of all, a job.
Fortunately, the same technology that has changed the way we live and work is also changing the way we face our most difficult and complicated challenges.
In education, technology allows us to have free access to the best contents; it makes education readily and constantly available to everybody and contributes forcefully to breach the digital divide.
You will be able to share one particular example later today when listening to Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy. We are very honored of our partnership with him because it has allowed us to adapt his project for Spanish speaking people.
Today, over 50 thousand children and adults are being trained in our 3,600 houses, classrooms and Telmex digital libraries. These facilities are equipped with free broadband Internet and provide training on digital skills for students and teachers. They also lend computing equipment just as a traditional library lends books. A personal memory card that performs as a digital notebook accompanies the equipment. It allows the user to save the information consulted while providing educational materials too.
We have donated over 120 thousand computers to students, classrooms, libraries and public universities.
And of course, our scholarship program provides an economic stipend, a computer and a printer as well as free access to broadband Internet to the best students in Mexico. Over 355 Mexican young students engaged in many fields are being represented here today by each one of you.
In the health sector one of our most important endeavors involves state of the art research to cure and treat different diseases in Mexico. By means of the Carlos Slim Health Awards we recognize outstanding research in public health matters. We offer a comprehensive program of scholarships supporting thousand of health professionals and university students who are about to obtain their degree. In addition, we have implemented an On-line Health Education Center that offers easy access to continuous quality training for health professionals working in primary healthcare. For the past 5 years, over 8 thousand individuals have graduated with the support of this program.
One of our most important research projects is related to the genomic origins of cancer and diabetes type 2, ailments affecting the health of the Mexican population. Likewise we have created a national platform for the production of vaccines against regional tropical diseases like Leishmaniasis and the Chagas disease.
In partnership with other foundations like the Gates Foundation we are striving to eradicate polio from the world. Likewise, we participate in the RED project under the leadership of Bono to avoid childbirths with HIV. We have donated medical equipment to over 350 hospitals and clinics in every Mexican state; and provided tens of thousands of wheelchairs to those in need. In partnership with the Secretariat of Health, the states’ governments and the medical community we have delivered almost 800 thousand surgeries to people living in marginalized areas, including support for over 7,700 organ transplants.
With our technological solutions we are struggling to transform the medical model from one focused on curative treatments to another more focused on prevention. We thus collaborate with the Federal Government and some of its most important institutions to treat chronic ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Likewise, we have developed CLIKISalud, an on-line platform offering tools and information about different health topics for all, emphasizing on how to live a healthier live. All these efforts aim not only at living more, but also living better.
Today you will be able to find out more about some of our other projects and solutions in the fields of health, education, justice, culture, sports, the environment and natural disaster relief, with the support of almost 5 thousand Telmex volunteers throughout Mexico.
I would like to especially express my gratefulness to each and every person working in our Foundation and its programs. Your dedication is praiseworthy.
One of the most inspiring images that we witnessed this year happened in Mexico City’s center. In March, the Carlos Slim Foundation converted the city’s main square, “the Zocalo” plaza, into a gigantic digital village, offering for several days free 20 Mb/per second broadband Internet access and training to any visitor.
What was really exciting was the number of people who were willing to participate and take advantage of our village. This situation gained Mexico a Guinness World Record for organizing the world’s largest ever digital inclusion event. 154 thousand persons of all ages and social conditions visited the digital village connecting themselves to the future. During two weeks, over 5 thousand computers, tablets and smart phones were lent to children, their parents and grandparents who wanted to have access to all the information and opportunities that this new era has to offer. We saw how street vendors normally working around the city center came to the village and discovered a computer for the first time in their lives with a smile. This experience showed in evidence that “This is the Future, This is our Future”.
And each one of you is part of this future. Because each one of you will play a leading role in driving our country to the future. For many years, Mexico has been perceived as a distant promise when it comes to discovering new technologies and innovation.
Today, those days are long gone. This generation, your generation, has the potential to create another “Mexican Miracle”, transforming our country into a more prosperous, more just nation, with better opportunities than ever before. This new miracle demands much work, preparation and focus, but above all, an uncompromising willpower.
We are here today, because we are convinced that you can achieve this. We are here today, because we believe in you.
Together, we are part of a country that is connecting more and more people with a future of opportunities, a future that has never been so close to us, most notably if we are to build it together.
I thank you very much and I wish you really enjoy this day.