Hemisphere in Transition Webinar Series

Regional Integration, Western Hemisphere Affairs

Over the Summer of 2021, the Institute was pleased to convene two important forums focusing on bilateral relation that the United States maintains with both Canada and Ecuador under the theme Building Back Better Together (B3T), in collaboration with University of California-Television (UC-TV).


Held on June 29 in commemoration of Canada Day, the Institute’s forum highlighted the strategic significance of the Canada-United States bilateral relationship as well as on-going challenges and opportunities amidst COVID-19.   The forum featured the participation of Katherine Baird, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Canada in Washington; Zaib Shaikh, Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles; Mary Scott “Scotty” Greenwood, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian American Business; and a panel discussion focused on the US-Canada trade and investment with Eric Miller, Eric Miller, Global Fellow at the Wilson Center and President, the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group; Ian Saunders, Deputy Assistant Secretary, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce; Colin Robertson, Vice President, Canadian Global Affairs Institute and Kirstine Stewart, Head, Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment & Innovation and  Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum.  The Forum’s sessions can be viewed here.  

With the goal of helping to catalyze expanded U.S-Ecuadorian private sector engagement and investment, the Institute convened a two-day virtual forum on September 9-10, made possible thanks to the generous support of Integra Capital and the Burnham Foundation.   The first day of the forum featured keynote addresses by Ecuadorian Ambassador to the U.S. Ivonne Baki, and U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Michael J. Fitzpatrick moderated by Ambassador Tom Shannon, the former U.S. Under Secretary of State and current Institute Board Member.   The forum also included a presentation on Ecuador’s economic agenda under President Lasso by the country’s Vice Minister of Finance, Luis Fierro and a panel discussion on Ecuador’s economic outlook amidst COVID-19, Juan Carlos de la Hoz, Ecuador Representative at the Inter-American Development Bank, Felipe Espinosa, Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce-Ecuador and Ramiro Crespo, President of Quito-based Analytica Securities.    

Day two of the forum focused on the topic of energy, environment and climate change and included keynote addresses by Ecuador’s Minister of Energy, Juan Carlos Bermeo Calderón and Karina Barrera, the country’s Undersecretary of Climate Change at the Ministry of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition.   The forum also included a session on the impacts of COVID on Ecuador’s education sector featuring Cinthya Game, Vice Minister of Education.     Our closing keynote address was delivered by Guy Mantel, Executive Director of Global Americans who highlighted the strategic importance of the U.S-Ecuador Bilateral Relations.  

Both forums were co-developed in collaboration with UC-TV and can now be viewed online in English and Spanish.

Tribute to U.S. Consul General-Tiuana, Sue Saarnio

On June 30th, the Institute of the Americas joined forces with the Smart Border Coalition, the Mexican Consulate of San Diego and the UCSD Center for US-Mexican Studies to honor U.S. Consul General to Tijuana, Sue Saarnio who retired on July 14th after more than 30 years of government service.  The reception held outdoors in a COVID-safe environment aboard the U.S.S. Midway, thanks to the support of Institute board member Malin Burnham and other San Diego area supporters. The event was attended by 75 civic leaders from the San Diego-Tijuana border region.   

The Institute was pleased to have been able to help organize this tribute to Counsel General Saarnio that did so much to help promote greater bilateral cooperation between the United States and Mexico during her tenure at the Consulate.  Sue, thanks again for all you did to help bring the communities across your consular district in both Baja California and Baja California Sur closer together with the United States, especially amidst COVID-19.