Preview of the 40th Annual Washington Conference on the Americas

Posted by Scott Miller
May 11, 2010
Secretary General of the Organization of American States

About the Author: Scott Miller serves as a Foreign Service Officer in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Eric Farnsworth, Vice President of the Council of the Americas, to discuss the 40th Annual Washington Conference. This event provides a platform for top government, industry, and policy leaders to define the agenda for the Americas each year. The audience consists of over 200 business leaders from around the globe, who have the opportunity to engage in substantive analysis on timely themes important to the hemisphere.

The Washington Conference kicks off today at the International Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, D.C. State is pleased to host the conference tomorrow, May 12, 2010, at the U.S. Department of State headquarters.

What is the Washington Conference?"For 40 years the Washington Conference on the Americas has been the top event focused on Latin America, Canada, and the Caribbean, bringing together senior U.S. government and foreign leaders together with members of the policy and private sectors to discuss the issues most directly facing the region."What are your goals for the 2010 edition of the Washington Conference?"The goal of this year's conference is to take stock of hemispheric affairs one year after President Obama's travel to the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as to promote a shared agenda of broad-based economic recovery, strengthened democracy, and social inclusion. Featured speakers include U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, as well as ministers from Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Panama, and Peru."How is the State Department helping to make this happen?“The conference is held each year at the U.S. Department of State, which offers a serious and dignified venue for high-level deliberations and consultations. Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Arturo Valenzuela, is the host, and has welcomed the hemisphere to Washington in a meaningful and appropriate way. He will also speak at the conference."What are some highlights of past Washington Conferences?"Past conferences have included remarks by every U.S. president going back to Lyndon Johnson, and the U.S. Secretary of State has addressed the conference for 10 of the past 11 years. The conference has concretely advanced issues of trade and investment, while offering the U.S. Administration a ready-made forum to promote the shared agenda of social inclusion and broad-based, economic growth and development."Related Entry:Secretary Clinton Delivers Remarks at 40th Washington Conference on the Americas



william m.
District Of Columbia, USA
May 12, 2010

William M. in Washington, D.C., writes:

The COA has been a longstanding and effective advocate of free economies and open markets. This has made it a very important partner to countries all through the Americas seeking to bring opportunity and growth to their peoples. The level of senior attendance at the Washington Conference, from all over the hemisphere, is poignant witness to this.

Maryland, USA
May 12, 2010

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Good luck on solving the issues of the Year. I think Assistant Secretary Arturo will be a Good Host for this event..:)

Nice Photo of you all....:) SeeYA...

Wisconsin, USA
May 13, 2010

Nick in Wisconsin writes:

I know they will be discussing the major issues in Western Hemispheric affairs at the Washing Conference. They will probably focus on the Mérida Initiative, but I was wondering if they will focus on other solutions to the narco-insurgency conflict and its problems, not just focusing on Mexico and Pres. Calderón's cooperation but on the greater context of Latin America as a channel for trafficking and how to stop it.

Nic G.
Wisconsin, USA
May 14, 2010

Nic G. in Wisconsin writes:

This conference is a great opportunity to set a new tone when discussing the issues that plague the region. While trade issues are undoubtedly important, now is the time to focus on the problems of the people, especially old problems like the so called "vicious cycle of inequality" and relatively new ones, like the increase of femicide in Mexico and Guatemala.


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