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Does the Summit of the Americas Still Matter?

WHO:  American University experts available to analyze Summit of the Americas

WHAT: Analysis, discussion of the gathering of heads of state from the Western Hemisphere

April 12 - ongoing

In-studio, via telephone, American University

President Obama will join his 33 democratically elected counterparts from the Western Hemisphere in Cartagena, Colombia, for two days of leader-to-leader meetings on elevating the prosperity of all in the hemisphere through partnership—this Summit’s theme addresses the key areas of poverty and inequalities, citizen security, disasters and access to technologies through regional and hemispheric cooperation. American University’s Latin America, and U.S. foreign policy experts are available to discuss the Summit and what will be taking place officially and on the sidelines.  Additionally, they are able to discuss any potential frictions or off-hand comments aimed at the United States that are not uncommon at these meetings where personalities such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and others seek to make headlines for their domestic constituencies.

While skeptics question the effectiveness of the Summit of the Americas process, it provides the United States a place at the Hemispheric roundtable since other regional organizations – ALBA and the more recent CELAC–have been growing in influence as alternative regional forums from which the U.S. and Canada are excluded.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and several members of Congress will also be on hand in Colombia in an effort to deepen cooperation and forge new agreements demonstrating the importance attached by the United States to this triennial gathering of leaders, foreign ministers, and other high-ranking officials.

U.S. Foreign Policy/Latin America Experts

Philip Brenner, professor in the U.S. Foreign Policy program and former chair of American University's Council on Latin America, is an expert on Latin America with an emphasis on the Caribbean and Cuba, U.S.-Cuban relations, Congress and foreign policy, and presidential decision making on foreign policy.  Since 1985, Brenner has served on the advisory board of the National Security Archive and he is also a member of the advisory boards of the Center for Democracy in the Americas.

Robert Pastor professor of international relations, director of the Center for North American Studies and co-director of the Center for Democracy and Election Management.  He 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 Program.  Pastor is a well-known authority on U.S. foreign policy and the Western Hemisphere.  Pastor is the author of The North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future (Oxford, 2011).  

Eric Hershberg, director of the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies and professor of government, focuses his research on the comparative politics of Latin America and on the politics of development.  Hershberg is an expert on Latin American political economy and relations within the Western Hemisphere. He is especially interested in the state of democracy in Latin America and his most recent book is Latin America’s Left Turns: Politics, Policies and Trajectories of Change (2010).

Louis Goodman, professor and dean emeritus of American Universities School of International Service, focuses on social change and politics in Latin America.  Goodman’s current research focuses on civil-military relations, foreign investment in developing countries and on determinants of career success for blue-collar workers.  

Matthew Taylor, assistant professor in the School of International Service, focuses on Brazil and more broadly Latin American political economy.  He has lived in Brazil for more than a decade and most recently served as an assistant professor at the University of São Paulo. Judging Policy: Courts and Policy Reform in Democratic Brazil (Stanford University Press, 2008) earned Taylor the Brazilian Political Science Association's Victor Nunes Leal Prize for best book, and he co-edited Corruption and Democracy in Brazil:The Struggle for Accountability (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011). 

Emilio Viano, professor in the Department of Justice, Law and Society, is an expert on Latin America relations including international cooperation in education, social policy, and security.  Prof. Viano is frequently invited to speak in Latin America including Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico and participates as an international advisor on judicial reform and international law

Economic Issues/Finance in Latin America

Arturo Porzecanski, distinguished economist-in-residence, is an expert in international finance, emerging markets and Latin American economics. Porzecanski carries out and publishes research in international finance; provides consulting services to legal and financial firms, as well as to U.S. government agencies and multilateral institutions.  Among the positions he held before entering academia was chief economist for emerging markets at ABN AMRO Bank; chief economist for the Americas at ING Bank; chief emerging-markets economist at Kidder, Peabody & Co.; chief economist at Republic National Bank of New York; senior economist at J.P. Morgan Bank; and research economist at the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies in Mexico City.

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