Every member of our team contributes to the Institute’s mission to improve the economic and social well-being of the people of the Americas.
San Diego, California, USA
Ambassador (retired) Leslie Bassett completed a 35-year Foreign Service career in 2017. She has served on the City of San Diego’s International Affairs Board, and is currently a lecturer at the University of San Diego and Board President of the San Diego Diplomacy Council.
Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow
La Jolla, CA, USA
Ambassador Davidow served both in Washington D.C. and overseas. He was the U.S. ambassador to Zambia, Venezuela and Mexico, and the Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere. His years in Mexico coincided with the advent of a functioning multiparty system. He wrote about his experiences there and the nature of the U.S.-Mexico relationship in The Bear and the Porcupine, the U.S. and Mexico which highlights the complex and often difficult interaction of the two countries. After leaving the Foreign Service, he served as President of the Institute of the Americas for eight years. He is currently a Senior Counselor of the Cohen Group, a consultancy involved in international business strategies, headed by former Secretary of Defense William Cohen.
Dr. Samuel Dychter
La Jolla, CA
Dr. Dychter is a physician/scientist who has dedicated his career and personal mission to help advance the global development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of life-threatening diseases and social programs to enable positive and meaningful change within communities in both the United States and Mexico. Trained as a general medical practitioner at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, he has worked as a leader in different biopharmaceutical companies in clinical development, drug safety/risk management, and medical affairs. He is currently a Senior Medical Director at Pfizer. His involvement to create positive social change is reflected in activities such as past Chair of the binational International Community Foundation (ICF) and Olivewood Garden and Learning Center. In his role as chair of ICF, Dr. Dychter was involved with multiple health programs that have made impactful binational changes to disease management in areas such as diabetes (Project Dulce) and tuberculosis (Puentes Program), in addition to consultation in numerous other activities.
La Jolla, California, USA
Richard Feinberg is a professor of international political economy at the School. He has enjoyed a distinguished career as diplomat, policy advisor, corporate consultant, university professor and author of over 200 books and articles on international relations. His four decades of engagement with United States foreign policy spans government services — in the White House, Department of State and Department of the Treasury — numerous Washington-based public policy institutes, the Peace Corps in Chile and, now, academia.
Feinberg is an authority on U.S. foreign policy, multilateral institutions (IMF, World Bank, NAFTA) and summitry (APEC, Summitry in the Americas, G-8). He is an expert on trade and investment, globalization, democratization and non-governmental organizations.
As a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Feinberg authored reports assessing Cuba’s economic reforms on foreign investment, the country’s private enterprise and the emergence of its middle class, and solutions to U.S. property claims dating from the 1960s; and published Open for Business: Building the New Cuban Economy (2016).Some major accomplishments include publishing “The Triumph of Allende” at age 24; joining the Carter administration to focus U.S. foreign policy toward the promotion of human rights and democratic freedoms; publishing “The Intemperate Zone: The Third World and the Challenge to U.S. Foreign Policy”; serving as the principal architect of the 1994 Miami Summit of the Americas for the Clinton Administration; and since 2005 has written over 300 reviews for the Western Hemisphere book review section of Foreign Affairs magazine.
Rodrigo Gallegos Toussaint
Mexico City, Mexico
Rodrigo Gallego is currently a Senior Advisor with the Mexico City-based business strategy consulting firm De la Calle, Madrazo & Mancera. Rodrigo brings decades of strategic leadership experience across government, non-profits and the private sectors focusing on sustainable economic growth and social commitment. As the first Executive Director at Consejo Mexicano de Negocios (CMN), he was in charge of building the first long term strategy for Mexico’s most influential business organization (Mexico’s Fortune 60). Other achievements include creating, financing, and strengthening the first social inclusion initiative of the Council and building new strategic alliances with civil society, governments, and other business organizations across Mexico and the US.
During his 11 years at the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, (IMCO), one of Mexico´s leading think tanks, Rodrigo designed Mexico’s Federal Government Climate Change Program and carried out the first independent evaluation of Mexico’s climate change strategy. He became the first associate of the organization by building a green growth practice where he designed policies for Mexico´s energy reform as the Clean Energy Certificates market, incentives for renewable energy investment and Mexico´s first Rodrigo is a Board Member of the US Mexico Foundation, Sistema B (B-Lab), Fundemex (a business initiative to foster growth in poor areas), and Causa Natura (an Environmental NGO). He has a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University.
La Paz, Bolivia
Mr. García serves as President Council of International Relations of Latin America (RIAL). He aims to ensure compliance with the objectives that the Council states: to prepare proposals and recommendations to improve the ability to analyze and provide relevant inputs for discussion and implementation of foeign policy in the region.
Former Executive President CAF (Development Bank of Latin America) Bolivia. He joined this role in 1991 and is currently a visiting professor in practice of the Department of International Relations at London School of Economics. Prior to his position with CAF, he was head of Bolivia’s economic and social cabinet, acting on behalf of his country as governor at the World Bank. He has also served as a member of the development committee of the IBRD and the IMF.
Cheryl Hammond spent over twenty-two years in numerous sales and marketing positions at AT&T, including eighteen years working with AT&T’s Latin America operations in various sales leadership and market development roles.
Ms. Hammond was responsible for opening and developing the border region market for AT&T and was instrumental in developing and implementing AT&T’s strategy for Mexico, which included the formation of a $1B joint venture to offer telecom services to the Mexican market.
Ms. Hammond has extensive experience in developing new markets and building relationships in Latin America, is fluent in Spanish, and has managed numerous geographically dispersed cross-cultural teams. She has thorough knowledge of Latin American markets, a deep knowledge of the Mexico market, and a strong understanding of decision-making processes in foreign enterprises. Since retiring from AT&T, Ms. Hammond has been a consultant primarily focused on sales enablement, sales training and sales training program development.
Additionally, for the past three years Ms. Hammond has served as a Principal for the San Diego Regional Investment Center, an EB-5 Regional Center approved by the US Citizen and Immigration Services which was successfully sold in 2015. Currently, Ms. Hammond continues on the Executive Committee at the Otay Mesa Chamber and is a member of the South County EDC.
She has served on the board of National Citybased International Community Foundation since 2007 and was Board Chair from 2009-2011. Ms. Hammond graduated with a B.A. in Spanish and International Relations from Washington University in St. Louis, and obtained an M.B.A. in Marketing and Finance from UCLA. She has attended advanced management programs at UC-Berkeley and Wharton.
Tara C. Kenney
Tara Kenney is a senior finance executive with extensive experience as a banker and investor in the Emerging Markets. Areas of expertise include Emerging Markets Equities, ESG/Sustainable Investing and Latin American Debt Restructuring.
Kenney is bilingual, having lived in Latin America and worked with Latin American companies and government entities for nearly 4 decades. During her career, Tara has also served on non-profit boards furthering the mission of economic empowerment, financial inclusion, education and health care for the underserved, in the US and in Latin America. Kenney formed TCK Global Advisors in September, 2020 to bring sustainable investment solutions to the institutional marketplace.
She is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Notre Dame, teaching “Sustainable Accounting, Reporting and Impact Investing.
“ She is also acting as an advisor to Impact Capital Funds, for the launch of a Social Impact Vehicle.
Prior to this consultancy, Tara was a Senior Vice President for Boston Common Asset Management, a leader in ESG/Impact Investing. Earlier, Kenney was a Managing Director with Deutsche Asset Management, where she directed the Institutional business for Latin America, and served as a Portfolio Manager and Head of Emerging Markets and Latin American Equities for nearly 2 decades.
In her 30 + year career, Tara was a Managing Director and Portfolio Manager for Scudder Investments, as well as working for Bankers Trust’s Latin American Merchant Bank, where she led the Brady Plan debt negotiations for the bank. Her early career included work for the Chase Manhattan Bank, and the InterAmerican Development Bank.
Tara has extensive Corporate Governance experience having served on boards of numerous non-profits and academic institutions for the past 20 years.
She is one of the longest serving board members of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and is deeply committed to building the Impact Investing ecosystem at her alma mater.
Kenney currently co-heads the Finance and Investment Committee and has served as Treasurer for Accion International, a leader in Financial Inclusion for the Emerging Markets, as well as Catholic Charities USA, where she also serves on the Investment Committee.
Tara was a founding board member for EcoEnterprises Fund in 2000, investing in eco-friendly small businesses in Latin America.
Tara’s dedication to improving lives in Latin America also extends to her work with Educando and Andean Health and Development, two NGOs working in the areas of STEM education and health care delivery to the underserved.
She received a BA in Government and Spanish from the University of Notre Dame and later studied Economics at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru. She earned an MBA in Finance at New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Los Angeles, CA.
Abraham F. Lowenthal, professor emeritus at the University of Southern California, is a widely published scholar on Latin American politics, democratic governance and transitions, U.S. foreign policy, and California’s global role. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including eight essays in Foreign Affairs. A serial institution-builder, he is the founding director of the Wilson Center’s Latin American Program, the Inter-American Dialogue, and the Pacific Council on International Policy, as well as an influential policy analyst and advisor.
San Diego, CA
Atul Patel has over decades of international Treasury Management Experience. Prior to joining PriceSmart, he served as Assistant Treasurer for a private investment management firm in Bahrain and Geneva. Before that he spent 7 years with Imperial Chemical Industries in London focusing on managing foreign exchange and interest rate risk and day-to-day treasury operations. Atul Patel is a graduate of the University of Wales-UK where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Materials Science. Atul serves as a Board of Directors and Board Investment Committees of the Alliance Healthcare Foundation and the International Community Foundation.
Zach Rabinor was seduced early on by Latin America’s vibrant cultures, towering peaks, thundering surf and intoxicating cuisine. As the Founder, President and CEO of award winning travel company Journey Mexico, Zach oversees all aspects of the company’s operation and takes special interest and delight in the details of product development, marketing, and business development. Under Zach’s leadership, Journey Mexico has achieved dynamic growth as evidenced by its inclusion as an Inc. 5000 Company consecutively from 2009 through 2016, and has earned top honors and recognition including: National Geographic’s Best Tour Operators on Earth, National Geographic “50 Tours of a Lifetime”, Travel & Leisure Best Adventure Trips, Travel & Leisure Best Adventure Outfitters, and The New York Times Adventure Guide. Zach has been personally recognized as a top expert by leading luxury travel publications: Conde Nast Traveller Top Travel Specialist 2010-2022, Conde Nast Traveller Top Villa Specialist 2011-2013; and Travel & Leisure A-List 2010-2022 as well as being named a Trusted Travel Expert on Wendy Perrin’s inaugural Wow List 2014 and each year subsequently through to the present. Zach is a Regional Member of the World Travel and Tourism Council, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Oceanic Society; he has been sought out in the press on matters relating to Mexico, tourism, and travel including interviews in: Forbes and NPR and a host of other prominent publications.
Between his B.A. from Cornell University and M.P.I.A. from the University of California, San Diego, Zach worked as a teacher, an environmental activist, and an outdoor adventure guide throughout the Americas for almost a decade. Zach’s career journey also includes stints in Finance, Environmental Conservation, and Community Development, before launching Journey Mexico in 2003. Zach’s passion for Latin America grows ever-stronger as he continues to explore remote, off-the-beaten path destinations. When not designing new itineraries or leading exploratory expeditions, Zach can be found searching for waves and Mexico’s best ceviche on his beloved Pacific Coast. Zach lives in Puerto Vallarta with his wife Rebecca and their two sons Sam and Nat. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Sotero is a Distinguished Fellow and Former Director Brazil Institute Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2006-2020). He is a current member of the Board of Directors at the Institute of the Americas. Mr. Sotero is an award-winning journalist, from 1989 to 2006 he was the Washington correspondent for Estado de S.Paulo, a leading Brazilian daily newspaper. Sotero began his career at Veja in the late 1960s and worked for the magazine in São Paulo, Recife, Brasília, and Paris. He has been in Washington, D.C., since 1980, where he has been a correspondent for Istoé weekly magazine and the financial newspaper Gazeta Mercantil. He is a frequent guest commentator for the BBC, CNN, AlJazeera, Voice of America, National Public Radio, Globo News Television, and the Brazilian Radio Network – CBN. He is originally from the state of São Paulo. Mr. Sotero holds a bachelor’s degree in History from the Catholic University of Pernambuco, and a Master’s in Journalism and Public Affairs from the American University, in Washington, D.C.
Alfredo Thorne is a Principal Director at Thorne & Associates, an advisory firm specialized in economic and financial advice. Among its clients are mutual and hedge funds and firms seeking to maximize value to its shareholders.
Since July 28, 2016 and thru 23 June, 2017 was appointed Minister of Economy and Finance by the President of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. He was also the Governor of Peru at the World Bank Group and the Inter-American Development Bank. Before taking office, he was an Independent Director of the Lima Stock Exchange, of Prima AFP Pension Fund, and member of InPeru’s Advisory Committee. In addition, he is founder of “Thorne & Associates”, an economic, financial, mergers and acquisitions consulting firm with operations in Latin America.
He previously served as Managing Director of Investment Banking at Banorte-Ixe Financial Group, and Managing Director of Research for Latin America at the Global Research Department at J.P. Morgan Chase Bank. During that time, Latin Finance magazine awarded him as Mexico’s best economist in the years of 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2009; and Latam best economist in 2001 thru 2009.
Before, Mr. Thorne was a Senior Economist of the World Bank, with great experience in most Central European countries, including Russia and Kazakhstan. His last appointment was Senior Economist for Mexico.
Alfredo Thorne graduated from Oxford University in 1987 where he obtained a DPhil in Economics. Furthermore, he also holds a MPhil in Economic Development from University of Cambridge. He holds a License and BA in Economics from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (Catholic University of Peru).