THIRTY YEARS OF SHAPING THE POLICY AGENDA FOR ACTION
More than 300 dignitaries from across the Americas gathered in Washington on June 7, 2012, to help the Inter-American Dialogue celebrate its 30th anniversary.
Hosted in the Hall of the Americas at the Organization of American States, the Gala celebration featured speakers such as President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia (via video); World Bank President Robert Zoellick; Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA); former president of Chile Ricardo Lagos; His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick; and, as emcee, Ray Suarez of PBS NewsHour. The Dialogue also presented its first ever Award for Civic Engagement to the 4% movement for education reform in the Dominican Republic.
It was during President Ronald Reagan’s first term that the Dialogue’s inaugural conference was organized in Washington, DC to focus on such issues as the debt crisis, the Central American civil wars, the challenge of restoring democratic governance, and the tensions associated with the Malvinas/Falklands conflict. The Dialogue has changed
substantially over the past three decades – as has the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the state of inter-American and hemispheric affairs.
Today, as always, Dialogue activities are directed to generating new policy ideas and practical proposals for action, and getting these ideas and proposals to government and private decision makers. Our work plan for the period ahead addresses the following
themes: the nature of immigration
and changing demographics
in the hemisphere—including an assessment of the new reality of more influential and politically demanding indigenous and Afro-descendant groups; the future of democratic governance
in the Americas; economic and social developments, looking at growth, poverty and inequality
; changing dynamics in energy
and the environment—including the simultaneous emergence of mega-infrastructure projects, extractive industries, and environmental and other concerns flowing from protected territories and ancestral lands; tendencies of regionalism and integration
and the future role of non-hemispheric actors
; trends in crime and violence
, and scenarios for coming decades that have yet to be contemplated.
Since 1982—through successive Republican and Democratic administrations and many changes of leadership elsewhere in the hemisphere—the Dialogue has helped shape the agenda of issues and choices in inter-American relations. Given such rapid and fundamental changes in recent years and the challenges that lie ahead, the role of the Inter-American Dialogue has never been more important to the future of the Americas.