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Obama Hosts North American Leaders’ Summit

WHO:    Robert Pastor, American University’s School of International Service professor of international relations and director of the Center for North American Studies, is the author of The North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future (Oxford, 2011). Pastor served as the U.S. National Security Advisor on Latin America (1977-1981), was a consultant to the State and Defense Departments during the Clinton Administration, and was the founding director of the Carter Center’s Latin American and Caribbean Program.  Pastor is a well-known authority on North America.   

WHAT:  North American Leaders’ Summit

WHEN: March 30 – ongoing    

WHERE: Via telephone, at American University, in-studio

President Obama is hosting Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada and President Felipe Calderon of Mexico for the North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS) on Monday, April 2, in Washington.  The three leaders will focus on ways to strengthen the economic competitiveness and security of North America.   Robert Pastor is available to discuss the importance of the sixth summit of NALS, which was cancelled in 2011 and last occurred in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2009.   "While many focus on China's rise and Europe's fall, few seem to realize that our first and second largest markets in the world and largest sources of energy imports are Canada and Mexico," Pastor said.  

Pastor is a leading advocate of further integration between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and he has been very critical of the three governments for failing to realize the region's promise.   "After making no progress on the North American agenda," Pastor said, "it is a relief they are finally meeting.   One hopes they will take concrete actions to promote competitiveness by creating a seamless market, reduce impediments on the border, foster educational opportunities in all three countries, and articulate a vision of North America that will encourage greater cooperation."     

He presents his arguments and a blueprint for action in his most recent book The North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future (Oxford, 2011).  Zbigniew Brzezinski called the book "a brilliant work offering a creative vision of North America's future.   Buttressed by masterful scholarship, it is profoundly challenging and politically insightful."   Foreign Affairs describes his book as "a brave master plan, a bright vision to challenge and enlighten future generations."   He’s written a dozen op-eds on the subject and has offered thirty lectures in the past six months in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

In advance of the Summit, the three Defense Ministers met in Canada to discuss strategies to counter transnational crime.   They will report to the three leaders, who will also consult on positions the three governments will take at the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia on April 14.  

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