For 30 years, the Institute of the Americas has promoted dialogue and cooperation in the Western Hemisphere designed to foster sound public policies, economic development and social justice.
Led by Charles S. Shapiro, a former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, the Institute brings together industry leaders, government officials and representatives of academia and civil society for frank and open discussions.
This leadership role has drawn 14 Latin American presidents to the Institute over the past 26 years.
• 1987 Raul Alfonsin (Argentina) • 1989 Oscar Arias Sanchez (Costa Rica) • 1990 Virgilio Barco Vargas (Colombia) • 1992 Patricio Aylwin Azocar (Chile) • 1994 Carlos Saul Menem (Argentina) • 1997 Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (Bolivia) • 2001 Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico) • 2004 Ricardo Lagos Escobar (Chile) • 2005 Alvaro Uribe Velez (Colombia) • 2006 Alejandro Toledo (Peru) • 2007 Vicente Fox (Mexico) • 2008 Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico) • 2010 Leonel Fernández ( Dominican Republic) • 2013 Felipe Calderón ( Mexico)
As an impartial and independent non-profit organization, the Institute hosts roundtables, conferences and professional training sessions at its complex on the UCSD campus and in cities throughout Latin America. Its location 30 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border makes it the premier institution for cultural and business exchange on the West Coast as well as a strategic point of entry to Latin America.
Internationally known for its Energy Program, the Institute has played an important role in promoting energy policies in Latin America that serve the interests of the population while encouraging private investment in this critical area of the economy.
The community outreach program of the Institute encourages networking and the strengthening of cross-border ties between government, business and community leaders in the San Diego-Tijuana region.
The Institute also organizes professional workshops for journalists and other Latin Americans who travel to San Diego to study and debate issues as varied as poverty, immigration, science and technology, public health and global warming.
Recognizing the growing importance of China in world affairs, the Institute began a program in 2008 that serves as a bridge for policy interchange among China, the United States and Latin America.