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President’s Column – Q2 2022

Jun 24, 2022 | President’s Column

Earlier this month, the United States hosted the IX Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles with a focus on Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future” for our hemisphere.   The Summit was attended by 23 heads of state from across the region and was complimented by three parallel convenings — IV CEO Summit of the Americas, IX Civil Society Forum and VI Young Americas Forum.   At the Summit, the Institute of the Americas (IOA) was represented by board members, Rolando González-Buster, Manuel Estrella, Advisory Council member, Richard Feinberg and IOA’s Energy & Sustainability Vice President, Jeremy Martin and me. 

Much of the Summit’s media attention was focused on the authoritarian leaders of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua (CVN trio) that were not invited to Los Angeles as well as the heads of state of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras that opted out of the triennial convening due to the exclusion of the CVN trio.  Given the growing polarization and weakening of democratic institutions across the Americas, such disagreements were to be expected.    

That said, some measured progress was made at the Summit.   Among those like-minded Hemispheric leaders that did attend the Summit, two important agreements were signed: the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection to “increase opportunities for orderly and safe migration” across the region and a nine-country joint declaration, led by Chile, on “Americas for the Protection of the Ocean” to promote regional cooperation on marine protected areas and sustainable fisheries across the Eastern Pacific Ocean.   Additionally, Vice President Harris officially launched the US-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis-2030.   Also, at the Summit, Ecuador officially signed on to the Alliance for Development in Democracy (ADD) that was initially launched by Panama, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic in 2021 to promote democratic strengthening and economic growth through the tightening of the three countries’ commercial, demographic, and cultural ties. 

In the run up to the Summit of the Americas, the IOA organized the Pacific Climate Forum of the Americas: Promoting Marine Biodiversity & Climate Resilience in an Era of High Risk & Uncertainty on June 1-3, 2022 in collaboration with Scripps Institution of Oceanography and UC San Diego’s School for Global Policy & Strategy and made possible thanks to the generous support of the Builder’s Initiative, Alumbra Innovations Foundation, Sempra, the San Diego Foundation and the International Community Foundation.  

In May, the IOA also convened a two-day forum entitled U.S. Policies toward Authoritarian States in the Americas featuring 19 recognized thought leaders that examined U.S. policy options vis-à-vis Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, amidst changing geo-politics, especially in light of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.  A forum proceedings report can be found here.

The IOA’s Energy and Sustainability (E&S) program remained very active during Q-2, convening its in-person 2022 Madrid Energy Conference in April and its Argentina Energy Roundtable in May in Buenos Aires.  Its three-part geothermal energy webinar series was also inaugurated this month.  IOA also continued to make strides towards advancing its energy access and poverty agenda with the signing of a collaboration agreement with the State Energy Commission of Baja California.   Additionally, IOA’s nine Energy Non-Resident Fellows collectively teamed up to prepare the Latin American Energy Transition Workforce Readiness Assessment and Barometer.  With the recent election of Gustavo Petro as the next President of Colombia, IOA E&S team organized a rapid response webinar briefing on Colombia’s Economy, Energy and International Relations featuring two experts on that country’s energy sector, Roger Tissot and John Padilla.

In May, IOA organized its first in-person event -post pandemic- in La Jolla kicking off its 2022 Distinguished Speaker Series with a keynote address by former Mexican Under Secretary of Economy, Luis de La Calle, on the topic of “USMCA and Mexican Economic Competitiveness”.    The program was made possible the Burnham Foundation and SENTRE.

Institutionally, the IOA continued to expand and diversify its International Advisory Council with the addition of Leslie Bassett, the former U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay, and Zach Rabinor, the CEO of Puerto Vallarta-based Journey Mexico.

Thank you for all your on-going support to further the Institute of the Americas’ mission.

Sincerely,

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Richard Kiy

President & CEO

1https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/06/09/remarks-by-president-biden-at-the-opening-plenary-session-of-the-ninth-summit-of-the-americas/