The FDR Foundation at Adams House, Harvard College, has selected The Honorable Henry Cisneros, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Solomon D. (“Sol”) Trujillo, an entrepreneur and former global telecommunications, media and technology CEO, to deliver the eighth annual Roosevelt Memorial Lecture at Harvard University on April 8. 

FDR’s Good Neighbor Policy marked a new, positive approach in the United States’ policy with Latin America. Trading in the “Big Stick” for non-intervention in the internal affairs of its neighbors to the south, the Good Neighbor Policy helped build mutual trust and respect through diplomacy, economic growth and constructive cultural exchanges. With this event, the FDR Foundation hopes to reintroduce the powerful ideas of the Good Neighbor Policy to today’s policy discussions.

“Latinos are the driving force of U.S. economic growth for all Americans,” said Trujillo, “and yet many Americans believe Latinos to be an economic threat. Policies to drive more robust economic growth for all Americans must include a clear-eyed understanding of Latinos’ economic dynamism, not stale stereotypes.” 

Together, Cisneros and Trujillo founded the Latino Donor Collaborative (LDC) in 2010 to change the narrative about the Latino community in the U.S. and garner support for even stronger Latino business growth. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization works with media companies, policymakers and business leaders to advance an accurate perception and understanding of the contributions Latinos make to the U.S. economy and society. 

“We established the LDC not just to address a damaging misperception about the role of Latinos in our country, but also to promulgate ideas on how to bolster our economy for all Americans,” said Cisneros. “The Roosevelt Memorial Lecture will be an opportunity for us to reflect on the lessons of the Good Neighbor Policy and articulate modern-day best practices.”

Cisneros served as the mayor of San Antonio in the 1980s, making history as the second Latino mayor of a major U.S. city. In addition, he served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration. In 2000, Cisneros cofounded CityView, an investment management and development firm, and currently serves as the company’s chairman. He is also partner of Siebert Cisneros Shank LLC. 

Trujillo, the first U.S.-born Latino to serve as the CEO of a Fortune 200 company, has led three telecom giants in his career: Telstra, U.S. West and Orange S.A. He is the chairman of Trujillo Group Investments and currently sits on the corporate boards of Western Union, global advertising and public relations company WPP plc, and Chinese real estate platform Fang Holdings, Ltd. In the public sector, Trujillo has held executive positions in both federal and state governments. He served as a trade policy advisor to both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

“We are delighted to welcome two of the most important leaders of the U.S. Latino community to Harvard this year,” stated Michael Weishan, executive director of the Foundation. “Secretary Cisneros and Sol Trujillo, through their work in both the public and private sectors, have elevated and amplified Latino contributions to our national economy and shared culture.”

The FDR Foundation recognizes prominent civic leaders each year at the Roosevelt Memorial Lecture. Past honorees include historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, authors Curtis Roosevelt and Jean Edward Smith, historian Cynthia M. Koch, filmmaker Ken Burns and The Honorable David Huebner, Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. Foundation programs include the FDR Global Engagement Initiative, The Creative Citizenry Program and the FDR Global Fellowships.

This year, Deborah Anker, clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School, will moderate the discussion between the honorees. Professor Anker serves as director of Harvard Law School’s Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program.

The Memorial Lecture will take place April 8 at 4:00 p.m. in Harvard University’s Harvard Hall. Admission is free; however, seating is limited. Register for the event at http://fdrfoundation.org/save-the-date-9th-annual-fdr-memorial-lecture/.