President’s Column Q-3 2023

IOA Info, President’s Column

October 5th, 2023

This past Spring at the Cities Summit of the Americas, the Cities Forward Initiative was announced.  Cities Forward is a collaborative partnership of the U.S. State Department, ICLEI, Resilient Cities Catalyst, and the Institute of the Americas (IOA) that aims to provide a peer-to-peer exchange, capacity building, and diplomatic engagement to support projects addressing critical sustainability-focused challenges in municipalities across Latin America & the Caribbean.  In support of Cities Forward, in August, IOA and our partners selected twelve US and LAC city pairs to take part in this flagship program.   

Over the past week, IOA joined our partners to organize a two-day agenda-setting workshop in Mexico City with selected Cities Forward cities and our work is off to a good start.  IOA is proud of our advances to date on Cities Forward in collaboration with our partners and looks forward to keeping you appraised of our progress over the next two years.

On the energy front, over the summer IOA organized high-level roundtable discussions in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires to highlight emerging industry trends and policy considerations for energy policy in Brazil and Argentina.   These roundtables laid the groundwork for the Institute’s upcoming XXXII La Jolla Energy Conference on October 11-12, 2023 which highlights the regional challenges and opportunities related to energy security and energy transition across the Americas. 

As IOA works to establish its new programmatic pillar focused on economic competitiveness, a key area of focus has been nearshoring in North America.  Here, IOA continues working closely with UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy & Strategy (GSP) to serve as the US Co-Coordinators of North America which held a meeting earlier this week in Monterrey, NL, Mexico.   Also, IOA has partnered with UCSD’s Center for US-Mexico Studies, the George W. Bush Institute, Future Border Coalition (Canada), and the Mexican Council of Foreign Relations (COMEXI) to be part of the North American Competitiveness Working Group.  Over the summer, IOA contributed to issuing papers to the working group related to re-shoring/near-shoring in North America. 

IOA is also pleased to welcome Shane Christensen, our first diplomatic fellow who began his fellowship with the Institute in mid-August.  Most recently, Shane was the U.S. Consul General in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and had other diplomatic posts in Mexico City, Kabul, and Dubai as well as the U.S. missions at the OECD in Paris and the United Nations in New York.   IOA’s Diplomatic Fellowship Program is part of a partnership with the US State Department that aims to provide mid-level foreign policy professionals with a one-year residency at the Institute that includes research in support of the Institute’s programs, professional development through coursework at UC San Diego; mentoring of San Diego area students interested in pursuing future careers in the U.S. foreign service; and engagement, more generally, with civic, business, academic and governmental institutions in Southern California. 

Finally, IOA is looking forward to two upcoming keynote speakers –Brian Nichols, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere (October 10th), and Senator Christopher Dodd, the U.S. Special Presidential Advisor for the Americas (October 11th) – that will be joining us in La Jolla to highlight the future direction of US policy in the Americas.

We look forward to seeing you at the Institute’s upcoming programs over the next months. Thank you for your ongoing support.


Richard Kiy

President & CEO