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Q1 – 2022

President & CEO’s Column

As the war in Ukraine enters its fifth week –with the resulting destruction of once vibrant cities, cultural heritage and, most of all, the senseless loss of human life – the geo-political and economic impacts across the Americas are ever-present.   

While most countries across the Americas have officially condemned Putin’s actions in the UN General Assembly resolution on Russia last month, it was notable, but not surprising that Bolivia, Cuba, El Salvador and Nicaragua voted to abstain and Venezuela would fail to even vote at all given the growing level of political influence that Russia has in these countries.  



The new year brought the announcement of two new Non-Resident Energy & Sustainability Fellows: M. Trinidad Castro Crichton, the Executive Director at the World Energy Council Chile and Carla Lacerda, a Brazil expert and former ExxonMobil executive. We are pleased to have them join our team of returning Fellows: Leonardo Beltran, Andres Chambouleyron, Marta Jara, Nelson Narciso, Francisco Xavier Salazar Diez de Sollano, Chris Sladen and Roger Tissot.


2022 Energy Landscape & Outlook

Once again this January, we invited our Non-Resident Fellows to prepare short essays with their views on the landscape and outlook for the sector. Our Fellows are based across the Western Hemisphere and UK and thus provide a unique angle to better understand the contours and possibilities for the year.

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Vivir Sin Energía Eléctrica en Baja California

Our study analyzed the causes and effects of the lack of access to electricity in Baja California. But beyond just an assessment and academic exercise, we sought to give voice to those who continue to live without such a basic service in one of Mexico’s most prosperous states. 

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The EC2 program at the IOA has been busy with working to protect coastal mangrove forests and other blue carbon habitats along the Baja California Peninsula; trying to advance climate action bilateral efforts between Mexico and the U.S., and digging deep into air and marine pollution from cruise ships and its relationship to a regulation by the International Maritime Organization.


Las Californias Blue Carbon Report

Examining cross-border, nature-based market solutions to protect blue carbon coastal ecosystems in the Baja California peninsula.

There is a growing need to examine innovative cross-border solutions that extend beyond jurisdictional boundaries. This is especially true in bioregions with shared watersheds and migratory species such as the tri-state binational region of the Californias—California (US), Baja California and Baja California Sur (Mexico). The objective of our report is to examine potential cross-border financial mechanisms to help fund the long-term conservation of coastal wetlands in the Baja California peninsula, not only because of their climate mitigation potential, but because of the ecosystem services they provide to the entire region.

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IOA’s STEAM program transitions to UCSD Extension

We are thrilled to announce that as of April 1st, the Institute’s 13-year STEAM Program will have a new home at UC San Diego Extension’s Division of Extended Studies (DES).  Last month, we signed an agreement with UC San Diego to transition our STEAM Program to become an integral part of DES’ plans to provide Spanish language STEAM education to underserved students locally and in Latin America.  In addition, our popular teacher training workshop focused on project-based learning and multidisciplinary teaching pedagogy, proven methodologies to better engage students in STEAM subjects, will also move to DES.

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Distinguished Speaker Series

On February 25, we launched our Public Program’s Distinguished Speaker Series with internationally syndicated columnist, thought leader, best-selling author, Dr. Moisés Naím.  Dr. Naím highlighted his new book, The Revenge of Power: How Autocrats are Reinventing Politics for the 21st Century to explain the confusing time in which we live. He described how today’s autocrats utilize the three P’s of populism, polarization and post-truth to gain and retain power.  His talk, coinciding with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, strongly resonated with recent and current events across the globe

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Latin America in Crypto, DeFi/CBDC/BlockChain Transition

By Ernie Grijalva, IOA Practioner in Residence

Regardless of the outcome of El Salvador’s cryptocurrency venture, mobile phones, financial technology (“fintech”), decentralized finance (“DeFi”), blockchain technology, and cryptocurrency (“Crypto”), are poised to dramatically alter banking and commerce, and potentially economic stability, throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

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We are thrilled and grateful to have this stellar group of new people joining the Institute:

Caroline Freund, Dean, School of Global Policy and Strategy University of California San Diego

Board Member

Alfredo Thorne, Principal Director, Thorne & Associates Ex-Minister of Economy & Finance of Peru

Advisory Council member

Richard Feinberg, Professor Emeritus School of Global Policy and Strategy University of California San Diego

Advisory Council member

Soffia Alarcón, Associate Director Americas Sustainability Consultancy Schneider Electric
New York, NY

Non-Resident Fellow Environment & Climate Change program (EC2)

Daniela Nelson, BA in Economics and Sustainable Studies – Villanova University

EC2 Intern
Environment & Climate Change program (EC2)


Jonah Harris, BA in Public Policy – New York University | MAS in Climate Science and Policy – Scripps Institution of Oceanography

EC2 Intern
Environment & Climate Change program (EC2)


Carla Lacerda, Brazil expert and former ExxonMobil executive
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / Houston, TX

Non-Resident Fellow Energy & Sustainability program

Trinidad Castro Crichton, Executive Director from World Energy Council Santiago, Chile

Non-Resident Fellow Energy & Sustainability program

Ezra Kraus, MA candidate UCSD School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) BA Political Science and Government – University of Puget Sound

E&S Intern
Energy & Sustainability program


Sherry White, Takes over as the new Vice President of Public Programs

Staff News

Francesca Carrillo-Diaz, moved up to be the new Public Programs’ Assistant Director

Staff News


Madrid Energy Conference

April 6-8 | Madrid, Spain

Argentina Energy Roundtable

May 16-17 | Buenos Aires, Argentina

Distinguished Speaker Luis De La Calle: USMCA & the Future of Mexican Economic Competitiveness

May 23 | La Jolla, California

La Jolla Energy Conference

September 28-29 | La Jolla, California

Geothermal Across the Americas Webinar Series – Part I: Geothermal – as a game changer: heat, power and minerals

June 10 | Virtual

In the News:

Institute of the Americas Anniversary

Giving Back Magazine, (Page 62-63) – March 2022

Democratize CFE if It Is to Lead the Energy Transition

Mexico Business News, March 28

¿Puede Venezuela convertirse en un proveedor de petróleo confiable para EEUU? El Tiempo Latino, March 24

El Tiempo Latino, March 24

Will Costa Rica’s Green Hydrogen Plan Be a Success?

Energy Advisor, March 18

Mientras Rusia avanza sobre Ucrania, EEUU y Europa ya sienten los efectos de su dependencia energética

Hispano Post, February 26

Impacto mundial en energía, dadas las sanciones económicas de Estados Unidos a Rusia – Roger Tissot, IOA Energy NonResident Fellow, interview

CNN Radio Argentina, February 24

El Role del gas natural en la transición energética de América Latina

Diálogo Chino, Jan 18