Build Back Better Together: Canada and the United States

Build Back Better Together: Canada and the United States

Program Partners: University of California Television (UC TV), UCLA Canadian Studies Program, California Chamber of Commerce, Maple Business Council 


About the Forum

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

8:30am-11:30am PT [11:30am-2:30pm ET]

The Institute of the Americas’ planned Canada Day forum will examine the binational Canada-United States relationship to explore new possibilities in the post-pandemic era to build back better together as we grapple with the emerging regional and global challenges of the 21st century including future public health crises, regional security threats, climate change as well as our shared interests on the global stage.


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

8:30am-11:30am PST

Indicates confirmed speaker: *

Final agenda subject to change

8:30 am           Welcome

  • Richard Kiy, President & CEO, Institute of the Americas *
  • Arwen Widmer Bobyk, Consul for Political, Economic & Cultural Affairs, Consulate General of Canada, Los Angeles *

8:40am            Keynote Speaker

  • Introduction: Zaib Shaikh, Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles *
  • Katherine Baird, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Canada in Washington *

9:00 am           Video: “Beautiful Canada—Welcome Back in the Post-Pandemic World”

9:10am            Build Back Better Together in Trade & Investment

Moderator:  David Weaver, Board Member, Institute of the Americas; Chairman & CEO, Intercap Energy Systems *


  • Eric Miller, Global Fellow at the Wilson Center and President, the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group*
  • Ian Saunders, Deputy Assistant Secretary, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce *
  • Colin Robertson, Vice President, Canadian Global Affairs Institute *
  • Kirstine Stewart, Head, Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment & Innovation and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum*

10:40 am         Closing Keynote Speaker: “Partners:  the United States and Canada”

  • Introduction: Zaib Shaikh *
  • Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) representing Western New York;  Congressional Co-Chair,  Northern Border Caucus–Invited


11:30 am         Adjournment

Richard Kiy and Arwen Widmer Bobyk

More About the Forum:

Sharing the longest international border in the world, Canada and the United States enjoy a truly unique relationship with similar core values, common geo-political interests, and deeply intertwined economic and cultural ties.  Among Canada’s nearly 38 million people, close to 90% live within 150 miles of the U.S. border.

Together Canada and the United States have the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world with supply chains that are inextricably linked and two-way trade in goods and service totaling over $718 billion in 2019[i].    Investment by Canadian companies in the United States is also substantial with US$495.7 billion invested in 2019.  That year, U.S. companies invested $402.3 billion in Canada[ii].   This investment has contributed to employment and job growth that benefits the economies of both countries, with 1.47 million Canadians employed by U.S. owned firms[iii] 752,000 American workers employed by Canadian companies operating in the United States[iv].

Canada is of strategic importance to the energy security of the United States.  In 2019, Canada accounted for 91% of U.S. energy imports, principally crude oil. petroleum.  Also, according to the US Energy Information Administration,  98% of all U.S. natural gas imports came from Canada.[v]

Business travel and tourism is also significant between both countries.  In 2019, the United States was the top destination for Canadian visitors that totaled 20.72 million.   Of these Canadians, nearly one million are annual “snowbird” visitors fleeing the Canada’s colder climate for America’s south and southwest.[vi]  Similarly, Canada ranked #2 as a top foreign destination for American tourists after Mexico with 15 million travelers that year, accounting for two-thirds of all Canadian foreign visitors.  The vast majority of Americans arrive to Canada by car.

Canada and the United States also have shared environmental interests leading to cooperation on a wide range of transboundary issues from water resource management, air quality, protection of migratory bird and marine mammal species, fisheries management and emergency planning and response in response to natural disasters along our common border.

In spite of our shared interdependencies, the COVID-19 pandemic has tested the Canadian-United States bilateral relationship in new ways leading to a reduction in two-way trade, investment as well as non-essential business and leisure travel over the past year.  As a result, regional economies in both Canada and the United States have both suffered.   Lack of early cross-border collaboration in vaccination development and distribution is now hampering economic recovery for many communities on both sides of our common border.

As we look toward the future, Canada and the United States have both learned important lessons about our shared inter-dependencies, common destiny and the need for expanded binational collaboration in the future.   Here, we have an opportunity to learn from our shared COVID-19 experience to build back better together as we grapple with the emerging regional and global challenges of the 21st century including future public health crises, regional security threats, climate change as well as our shared interests on the global stage through international bodies such as the United Nations, NATO, WTO, G7, G20, APEC, the Artic Council and the OAS.

The Institute of the Americas’ planned Canada Day forum will examine the binational Canada-United States relationship to explore new possibilities in the post-pandemic era.


[ii] Ibid

[iii] [iii]






Challenges & Opportunities in Central America’s Northern Triangle Region

Challenges & Opportunities in Central America’s Northern Triangle Region

When: June 2 – 3, 2021

Where: Virtual Forum, Whoava Platform

The 2020-2021 Central American diaspora to the U.S. southern border has been precipitated by crime, violence, corruption as well as by two hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic that has aggravated economic distress in the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The search for solutions and/or relief is multi-national and increasingly urgent.

To promote greater prosperity in Central America, there is a critical need for expanded private sector investment and expanded leadership on the part of the governments of the United States, Mexico, Canada and neighboring States.

Ultimately, badly needed job creating foreign investment and tourism will not be attracted to the area until Central American citizens feel they can live in peace and safety in their native countries. The objective of the Institute of the Americas’ two-day forum is to discuss ideas on how to get from here to there.


Get Whova Now

Confirmed speakers include:

Congressman Scott Peters
Congressman Scott Peters
(CA-52), Member, House Energy & Commerce Committee and House Budget Committee as well as joint Economic Committee

Congressman Scott Peters serves California’s 52nd Congressional District, which includes the cities of Coronado, Poway and most of northern San Diego. First elected in 2012, Scott has worked across the aisle to fix a broken Congress and stand up for San Diego’s military and veterans community. Scott Peters currently serves on the House Budget Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as the Joint Economic Committee.

Scott Peters is a civic leader who has made improving the quality of life in San Diego his life’s work. After a 15-year career as an environmental lawyer, Scott was elected to the San Diego City Council, where he later became the City’s first City Council President. On the Council, Scott helped lead the $2 billion redevelopment of downtown San Diego, the cleanup of the city’s beaches and bays, and the completion of a number of major infrastructure projects. He also pursued greater accountability and efficiency in government through the creation of a new Council/Mayor form of government with an independent budget review function.

In 2001, the governor appointed Scott to the Commission on Tax Policy in the New Economy, and in 2002, the Speaker of the Assembly appointed Scott to the California Coastal Commission.

Scott also later served as chairman of the San Diego Unified Port District – a major economic engine that supports over 40,000 high-skill, high-wage jobs for San Diegans, with $3.3 billion in direct regional economic impact.

Scott earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and worked as an economist for the United States Environmental Protection Agency before attending New York University School of Law. He and his wife of 33 years reside in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California, where they raised their son and daughter.

During his time in Congress, Scott has passed legislation to give the military the advanced technology it needs to fight terrorism, to level the playing field for small businesses competing for government contracts, and has succeeded in getting the federal government to make changes to the homelessness funding formula that disadvantages San Diego. Ranked the 4th most independent Democrat in Congress by the National Journal, Scott Peters understands that business problems have bipartisan solutions, and is never afraid to work across party lines to build consensus and get things done.

Marta Ruiz-Arranz
Marta Ruiz-Arranz
Principal Economic Advisor, IDB, Inter-American Development Bank

Marta Ruiz-Arranz is Principal Economic Advisor in the Department of Central America, Haiti, Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic of the Inter-American Development Bank, and previously served as economic advisor for the Andean region. Before joining the IDB in 2015, Marta worked at the International Monetary Fund for 12 years, where she was Deputy Division Chief in the Fiscal Affairs Department. Marta Ruiz-Arranz received her Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University.

Congressman Juan Vargas
Congressman Juan Vargas
(CA-51), Member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs
The Honorable Norma J. Torres
The Honorable Norma J. Torres
(CA-35), Co-Chair of the House Central American Caucus

Congresswoman Norma J. Torres represents California’s 35th Congressional District in the Inland Empire which includes Bloomington, Chino, Fontana, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona, and Rialto. She previously served as a State Senator, Assembly Member, and as a Mayor and Council Member in the City of Pomona. Throughout her career in elected office, she has worked to make government more responsive to the needs of Inland Empire residents.

As State Senator, Torres played a significant role in making the Affordable Care Act work for California’s patients and consumers.  Her law to diversify the Covered California Board so that it would be better prepared to enroll the uninsured, earned her statewide recognition and national attention.  As Chair of the Committee on Housing and Community Development, she led an effort that secured $2 billion in federal funds for the “Keep Your Home California” program, which helped thousands of families keep their homes during the foreclosure crisis.  Fighting crime and making sure public safety systems are responsive to the needs of the community has been a lifelong priority for Torres. As a former 9-1-1 dispatcher, she drew on her expertise to author a law that modernized the 9-1-1 system—resulting in a system that now routes cell phone callers to their local police department, rather than a statewide hotline, during an emergency.

Now on her third term in Congress, Torres currently serves on the powerful House Appropriations and Rules Committees. The Appropriations Committee is responsible for appropriating all federal spending, domestic and abroad. As a member of the Rules Committee, she helps determine the consideration of all legislation on the House floor.

Previously, she served on the Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, and Natural Resources Committees. As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Torres worked to address the root causes of migration from Central America and has fought to ensure accountability and transparency for U.S. funds spent abroad. Notably, her amendment to require the Secretary of State to send Congress a list of corrupt officials in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala was adopted in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 and signed into law.

On the Homeland Security Committee, she worked to tackle the many serious national security challenges facing the nation. In the committee, Torres prioritized the need to address cybersecurity risks at the nation’s ports. Specifically, at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where most of goods imported traverse the Inland Empire. In October 2018, her Strengthening Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Coordination in Our Ports Act was passed into law as part of the five-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Torres also served on the Natural Resources Committee, where she championed initiatives that would strengthen Indian’s Country’s ability to become more self-sufficient and address the disturbing increase in murdered and missing Native American women. Her amendment to the National Landslide Preparedness Act that addresses increased risk of landslides and flooding due to wildfires passed in the House.

Torres immigrated to the United States from Guatemala at age five and is a longtime resident of the Inland Empire.  She resides in Pomona with her husband Louis, and their two sons Robert and Matthew. Her third son, Christopher, is an Air Force veteran. Torres received her bachelor’s degree in Labor Studies from the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Alan Bersin
Alan Bersin
Policy Consultant, Covington & Burling LLP; Former Assistant Secretary of International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer for the Department of Homeland Security and Former Vice President of INTERPOL for the Americas Region

Alan Bersin served between 2012 and 2017 as Assistant Secretary in the Office of Policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Alan was responsible for overseeing the Department’s policy formulation function in the areas of border security and trade, cyber, critical infrastructure and resilience, threat prevention and security policy and strategy, and plans and risk assessments.

As Chief Diplomatic Officer for DHS, Alan led the Department’s international engagement and served as the principal advisor to the Secretary on all international affairs and functions; oversaw the strategic development and execution of the Department’s international policies and plans; facilitated DHS multilateral, regional, and bilateral relations with foreign governments, law enforcement agencies, and international organizations to ensure an integrated transnational affairs program for the Department; served as the lead Departmental representative in interagency policy deliberations affecting foreign relations; and served as the Departmental interlocutor with the Department of State and the foreign affairs community, including foreign governments and international organizations.

Eric L. Olson
Eric L. Olson
Director of Policy & Strategic Initiatives, Seattle International Foundation

His primary responsibility is to oversee the Foundation’s engagement with the DC-based policy community. He also provides strategic policy advice to the Foundation’s Central American partners on priority issues such as promoting rule of law and good governance, ending forced migration and displacement, ensuring equity, and strengthening civil society.

He oversees SIF’s Anti-Impunity Project and Independent Journalism Fund. In addition to his work with SIF, Olson is a Wilson Center Global Fellow. He served as the Mexico Institute and Latin American Program’s Deputy Director for 11 years. He has published numerous articles and books including, “Crime and Violence in the Northern Triangle: How U.S. policy is helping, hurting, and can be improved.”

Prior to his arrival at the Wilson Center he worked with the Secretariat for Political Affairs at the Organization of American States as a Senior Specialist on Good Governance; at Amnesty International USA as Advocacy Director for the Americas; and at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) as Senior Associate for Mexico. He also worked for Augsburg College’s Center for Global Education and Experience in Mexico, and in Honduras as an economic development specialist. He began his career as a legislative assistant for a Member of Congress from Minnesota.

Originally from Minnesota, Olson has spent over 30 year living and working in Latin America including Venezuela (where he grew up), Honduras, and Mexico. He has traveled extensively in Central America and the region. He holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the American University’s School of International Service, and a Bachelor’s degree in Education and History from Trinity College in Deerfield, IL.

Fernando Quevedo 
Fernando Quevedo 
General Manager, Country Department Central America, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, and Country Representative in Costa Rica, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) 
David Shirk, PhD
David Shirk, PhD
Department of Political Science, University of San Diego

David A. Shirk, PhD, joined the University of San Diego in 2003 and has served as graduate director for Masters in International Relations since 2015. His books include Mexico’s New Politics: The PAN and Democratic Change (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2005), [edited with Wayne Cornelius] Reforming the Administration of Justice in Mexico (Notre Dame, 2007), [edited with Andrew Selee and Eric Olson] Shared Responsibility: U.S-Mexico Policy Options For Confronting Organized Crime, and [with Emily Edmonds-Poli] Contemporary Mexican Politics (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014).
Areas of Expertise

Mexico; U.S.-Mexico Relations; U.S.-Mexico Border Politics

Areas of Interest

Shirk’s teaching and research covers a wide range of topics in comparative politics and international relations, including Latin American politics, U.S. foreign policy, trans-national crime & terrorism, international political economy, immigration politics & policy, disaster and crisis management, and U.S.-Latin American relations, especially in Mexico and U.S.-Mexican border politics. Dr. Shirk is the principal investigator for the Justice in Mexico Project (, which addresses rule of law and security issues in Mexico. From 2003-2013, Dr. Shirk directed the Trans-Border Institute, which works to promote greater analysis and understanding of Mexico, U.S.-Mexico relations, and the U.S.-Mexico border region

Pedro Luis Rodriguez Peralta
Pedro Luis Rodriguez Peralta
Lead Economist & Program Leader for Equity, Finance & Institutions, Central America & the Dominican Republic, The World Bank Group

Lead Economist and Program Leader for Equity, Finance and Institutions, Central America, and Dominican Republic, the World Bank Group (Washington, DC, USA).

Pedro Luis Rodríguez is the lead economist of the World Bank’s Central America Country Unit (covering Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama). He coordinates key World Bank analytical and financial work in these countries, including programmatic budget support operations in five of the seven countries and the preparation of various analytical pieces (two regional growth studies, one focused on macro issues and the other on micro issues, and several Country Diagnostics and Public Expenditure Reviews) and an ongoing robust dialogue on trade facilitation.  Before this job, he was the Program Leader for the Andean countries, based in Lima, Covering Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and, for some time, Venezuela. Essential tasks in this region included leading work to attract private financing for infrastructure in Peru through budget financing operations, guarantees, and the provision of direct technical assistance. He also oversaw the World Bank Group’s contribution to Peru’s Country Program with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In both Peru and Chile, he contributed to assessing revenue options for Regional Governments, assessing the cost and benefits of the free economic zones, and the possibilities to increase the attraction of green financing for the private sector. As the Lead Economist for Romania and Bulgaria (2012-2015), he led the dialogue and reforms (in close coordination with the European Commission and the IMF) in areas, such as the liberalization of energy markets, and the improvement of the corporate governance of state-own enterprises in the energy and transport sectors – this dialogue led to the successful insolvency process for a large hydropower plant, and the launching of a successful IPO for the Romanian gas company. He has also lived and worked extensively in the South Caucasus countries (Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan), in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan), and Southern Cone Latin-American Countries (Paraguay and Argentina). In these countries, he led the dialogue and analytical work on critical issues, such as growth, trade, and tax policy reforms (e.g., Georgia, Kazakhstan, Paraguay) and the debt sustainability analysis for the Kyrgyz Republic that ultimately led to the country’s agreement with the Paris Club.

Before working at the World Bank, he worked as a staff of the Research Department of the Central Bank of Colombia. His doctoral studies in Economics are from Georgetown University in Washington DC, the USA, with majors in industrial organization and monetary policy (all but dissertation). He also holds a master’s degree in development economics from the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, two certificates from the Harvard School of Public Policy (Infrastructure Finance, Development Economics), and a certificate from the Economics Institute (Boulder, Colorado).

Juan Carlos Zapata
Juan Carlos Zapata
Executive Director, FUNDESA, Guatemala

Juan Carlos Zapata is the Executive Director of the Foundation for the Development of Guatemala (FUNDESA).  He has more than 15 years of experience in leading economic and social development public policy programs, focused on increasing productivity and generating prosperity through inclusive economic growth.

He has worked as a consultant for The Caribbean Council, a London-based think tank, and with projects financed by IDB, with firms like Turasist and others in Central America.  He is the person in charge of leading the team that organizes each year the National Development Forum (ENADE), an event that gathers more than 2,800 people a year, to present elements that are key for the development of Guatemala and is the person responsible for the initiatives presented within FUNDESA in terms related to competitiveness, social inclusiveness, reduce insecurity and strengthen institutional capacity.

Mr. Zapata holds a Master´s degree in Public Management and Leadership from the School of Government of Guatemala, where he graduated with honors.  He studied a Postgraduate Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University Center Cesar Ritz in Brig, Switzerland, and has a B.A. in Business Administration with a specialization in Finance, from Francisco Marroquin University in Guatemala City.  He also has postgraduate studies from INCAE, as well as a higher diploma from the Energy & Infrastructure Analysis Center.  He is a well-known columnist for the Prensa Libre newspaper and has written op-eds for elPeriódico, RepublicaGT, and Crónica Magazine.  He has also published articles for America’s Quarterly magazine and Insight Crime and is part of the Advisory Committee of Estrategia & Negocios Magazine.  As a volunteer, he is part of the steering committee of AgTech, a program that works as an incubator for entrepreneurship focused on innovation in agriculture.

Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote
Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote
President, AMCHAM-Guatemala and Partner, CENTRAL LAW-Guatemala

Partner at CENTRAL LAW in Guatemala. Graduated Bachelor in Laws from Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala and has a MSC. in Mercantile and Competiveness Law from USAC/CIG.

Mr. Carrasco de Groote has continued his legal studies and obtained different specializations: in Arbitration Law and Alternate Dispute Resolutions in Loyola University; Specialization in International Mergers & Acquisitions, College of Law of England & Wales; Executive Program in Legal Issues of International Business Law, Georgetown University Law Center/ INCAE; Specialization in Advanced Negotiation, Deal Design & Implementation, Harvard Law School.

He is the Head of the Foreign Investment Department of the firm and has specialization in the areas of M&A’s, Natural Resources (Mining, Oil & Gas), Energy, International Arbitration and Corporate Law. Juan Pablo is ranked as a leader in the field by Chambers Latin America, Chambers Global, IFLR 1000, IFLR Energy & Infrastructure and Legal 500. He has been recognized as a leading expert in Foreign Investment advice by Corp Intl.

Current Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Guatemala (AMCHAM) and Vice President of the Association of American Chambers of Commerce of Latin America (AACCLA), member of the Guatemalan Bar Association, the Inter-American Bar Association, the Energy & Infrastructure Analysis Center and the American Bar Association – ABA.

Professional highlights of Mr. Carrasco include the following:
Advised and lead the local strategy in investment and acquisition projects in multiple mining and energy projects which include Nickel, Silver, Gold, Antimony and Petroleum in Guatemala and Central America.

Advised as lead local counsel international arbitrations including the first ever DR-CAFTA Investor vs State dispute in Washington DC., which was ruled and executed on behalf of the investor.

Team leader in multiple strategic and large investments, M&A’s, real estate transactions, involving natural resources companies, foreign governments, and multinationals.

Team leader in multiple complex commercial transactions between multinationals and national entities and individuals.

Adriana Beltrán
Adriana Beltrán
Director for Citizen Security Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
Claudia Romero de Ibañez
Claudia Romero de Ibañez
President, AMCHAM-El Salvador and Corporate Affairs Manager, Walmart-Mexico and Central America

Claudia Romero de Ibañez

is the Corporate Affairs Manager of Walmart – México y Centroamérica. She oversees community development, social corporate responsibility, volunteering and she promotes projects against hunger, natural disasters, environmental issues and sustainability. Since 2012 Claudia has been the President of AmCham (El Salvador’s Chamber of Commerce). She is an advisor to the executive committee of ANEP – Asociación Nacional de la Empresa Privada (National Association of Private Enterprise). Prior to working at Walmart, she worked for six years as the Communications Manager for the Asociación Salvadoreña de Industriales (Salvadoran Association of Industrialists), nonprofit dedicated to the economic and social development through strengthening the industrial sector. She was also an account executive in the advertising agency Molina Bianchi. Claudia is a committee member of Fundemas and a board member of ANEP and CASALCO- La Cámara Salvadoreña de la Industria de la Construcción (The Salvadoran Chamber of Construction Industry). Claudia received her bachelors degree in communications from Universidad José Matías Delgado and has an MBA from ISEADE / FEPADE in El Salvador with a specialization in International Negotiations, awarded by the Anahuac in Mexico. Claudia is married and mother of a teenager. She lives in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Claudia Kattán de Jordán
Claudia Kattán de Jordán
President, AMCHAM-Honduras and Vice President, Central America and Panama, Crowley

Claudia Kattán de Jordán, Vice President Central America and Panama with a Marketing Degree from the Universidad Tecnológica de Honduras (UTH) and a Business Administration Diploma from the University of Miami.
Has worked for the company for the last 29 years in the positions of Customer Service, Sales Executive, Sales Manager, Country Manager, General Manager for Honduras and Nicaragua, VP for Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Claudia has a responsible and proactive attitude with which she coordinates sales, marketing and operation activities, oversees development of policies and procedures, reviews operating results to achieve goals, establishes annual revenue and budget, coordinates and negotiates contracts and/or agreements and has the extraordinary ability to operate in multiple foreign locations. She helps all involved managers and other company positions to develop and maintain business relations with customers and is also involved in other areas such as: Legal, Labor and other Operational Activities.
Claudia keeps relations and actively participates in other associations such as Director for AMCHAM (American Chamber); Advisor to the Board of Directors of the CCIC (Cámara de Comercio e Industrias de Cortés and Advisor to AHCORENA (Asociación Hondureña de Compañías y Representantes Navieros)

Eliza Brennan
Eliza Brennan
Senior Program Officer for Education & Migration, the International Community Foundation

As Senior Program Officer for Education and Migration , Eliza leads ICF’s nearly $3M Education portfolio with the goal of expanding educational opportunities for vulnerable children in Mexico and other regions of Latin America to succeed in school, careers and life. Since 2018, Eliza has also steered ICF’s programmatic work related to immigrants, refugees, and deportees in the San Diego-Tijuana Border. She also oversees ICF’s growing portfolio of grants in Central America.

Eliza joined ICF in August 2015 and has served in several roles including interim Program Officer for Environment and Conservation, the inaugural Marketing & Development Manager, and most recently, Program Officer for Education and the Arts.

Eliza’s prior experience includes four years as Development Associate & Volunteer Manager at the Fabretto Children’s Foundation in Nicaragua, an organization that provides education, health, nutrition and community development programs to over 20,000 Nicaraguan children and their families in under-served communities. Previously she had interned at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Agora Partnerships, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Eliza holds a Master of Public Affairs (MPAFF) from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She has 30 years of experience living and working in Latin America, and academic experiences in China and South Africa.

Arnau Baulenas Bardia
Arnau Baulenas Bardia
Legal Coordinator, Instituto de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas, El Salvador
Caroline Boyd Kronley
Caroline Boyd Kronley
President, The Tinker Foundation

Caroline Kronley is the Tinker Foundation’s third President. Previously, she worked as the Managing Director for Strategy at the Rockefeller Foundation, leading the development of new programmatic initiatives. Earlier in her career, she was a management consultant at Katzenbach Partners as well as Booz & Company where she served a broad range of clients on strategy and organizational performance. Caroline worked for a number of years in Mexico, where she oversaw strategic planning activities for a microfinance institution. In this role, she designed and led marketing, partnership, training, and program evaluation initiatives. She graduated from Haverford College with a degree in history and a concentration in Latin American studies and holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

Richard Ambrose
Richard Ambrose
Managing Partner, Pomona Impact Fund, Guatemala

Richard is an accomplished emerging market private equity and venture capital investor with 15+ years of experience. He has played an active role in raising new investment funds, as well as originating, structuring, monitoring and exiting direct investments.

Richard is Co-founder and Managing Partner of Pomona Impact, an impact investment firm that invests in for-profit businesses with a social mission across Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Ecuador. He also founded the Pomona Impact Foundation that runs the leading AgTech accelerator in Central America. He leads a terrific team of investment professionals as well as co-working specialists in Guatemala.

He co-founded two of the most dynamic co-working spaces in Guatemala, Chamba and the Impact Hub Antigua, and is actively working to expand the benefits of co-working spaces across more of Central America. He is on the board of directors of Enactus Guatemala and several portfolio companies.

Richard has also worked 10 years with Latin American Partners and EMP Global developing investment funds and making direct investments across Latin America and Middle East & North Africa in infrastructure, agriculture and heavy industry.

Richard brings an entrepreneurial mindset to everything he does. He’s co-founder of LaunchPosse, a web-based collaboration platform for entrepreneurs and had a product design featured on Business Week Online. Richard has a BA from Furman University and MBA from Georgetown U.

Specialties: Private equity, mezzanine structuring, impact investing, entrepreneurship, macro-economics, infrastructure, hospitality, business strategy and community building.

Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov
Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov
IMF’s regional resident representative for Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic

Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov is the IMF’s regional resident representative for Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic since February 2021. In this capacity, Dr. Hadzi-Vaskov fosters the dialogue with the Central American authorities on regional and policy issues, and manages the Fund’s regional outreach activities. Previously, he worked as senior economist in the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department and served as advisor to executive director at the IMF’s Executive Board. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov es el representante residente regional del Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI) para Centroamérica, Panamá y la República Dominicana desde febrero de 2021. En esta capacidad, el Doctor Hadzi-Vaskov fomenta el diálogo con las autoridades centroamericanas sobre asuntos regionales y políticas macroeconómicas, y coordina las actividades regionales de divulgación del FMI. Anteriormente, se desempeñó como economista principal en el Departamento del Hemisferio Occidental del FMI y como asesor en el Directorio Ejecutivo del FMI. Tiene un Doctorado en economía de la Universidad de Utrecht en los Países Bajos.


Wednesday, June 2
8:30 am – 9:15 am
Live Stream: Join stream
Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35), the Co-Chair of the Congressional Central America Caucus and a native of Guatemala, will share her perspective on the importance of addressing corruption and promoting good governance and key preconditions of… See More
9:15 am – 10:45 am
Live Stream: Join stream
  • Eric Olson (Panelist) Director of Policy & Strategic Initiatives, Seattle International Foundation
  • Professor David A. Shirk (Moderator) full professor and graduate director in the Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of San Diego
  • Alan Bersin (Panelist) Covington & Burling LLP, Policy Consultant at Covington & Burling; Former Assistant Secretary in the Office of Policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; former Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Arnau Baulenas Bardia (Panelist) Legal Coordinator, Instituto de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas, El Salvador.
  • Adriana Beltrán (Speaker) Washington Office for Latin America (WOLA), Director for Citizen Security

Security, justice and good governance are integral to  Central America’s  hopes for sustained economic recovery.  Our panelists will discuss the multi-dimensional aspects of security issues in the Northern Triangle region incl…

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Thursday, June 3
9:05 am – 10:30 am
Live Stream: Join stream
  • Pedro Rodriguez (Panelist) Lead Economist and Program Leader for Equity, Finance and Institutions, Central America, and Dominican Republic, The World Bank Group (Washington, D.C, USA)
  • Juan Carlos Zapata (Panelist) Executive Director, FUNDESA
  • Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov (Panelist) Regional Resident Representative for Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, International Montetary Fund (IMF)
  • Fernando Quevedo (Panelist) General Manager, Country Department Central America, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, and Country Representative in Costa Rica, Inter-American Development Bank
  • John Andersen (Moderator) Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere (retired), U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, US Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration (retired)

The ravages of back-to-back hurricanes compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to historic economic devastation in Central America’s Northern Triangle region. With the pandemic being far from under control (e.g., less than 0.02% of Guat…

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10:35 am – 11:30 am
Live Stream: Join stream

Foreign investment will be a critical component of the economic resurrection of Central America’s Northern Triangle region.   Our distinguished panelists representing the American Chambers of Commerce chapters from El Salvador, Gua…

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11:35 am – 12:50 pm
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While the Biden Administration has committed $4 billion in direct foreign assistance (DFA) to the Northern Triangle region over the next four years, more investment will be needed from the multilateral development agencies, DFA from other nations …

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1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Live Stream: Join stream
  • Congressman Juan Vargas (Speaker) Member of Congress; Member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Congressman Scott Peters (Speaker) Member, Energy & Commerce Committee , U.S. House of Representatives
  • Mary Walshok (Co-Moderator) Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Programs, University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego)
  • Richard Kiy (Co-Moderator) President & CEO, Institute of the Americas

Members of Congress representing California’s border region will discuss the Biden Administration’s proposed four-year, $4 billion regional strategy for the Northern Triangle region to address security and economic factors driving …

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30th Anniversary La Jolla Energy Conference Week 2

30th Anniversary La Jolla Energy Conference Week 2


Visit Event Page

When: May 2021

Where: Online Zoom- Remo Platforms

Virtual Panels and Discussions

Every Friday morning (PDT) in May we will be hosting live panels and presentations on the interactive Remo Platform.

Virtual Networking Lounge

Every Friday our virtual lounge will offer a unique interactive experience driven by the Remo Platform.

Virtual Roundtables and Breakout Sessions

Every Wednesday in May and organized on an invite-only basis via Zoom platform.

Full Month Access to Related Conference Content

Pre-recorded deep dive interviews with government officials, regulators, executives and other thought leaders and other content that will be available on-demand for registered participants.


Omar Paganini
Omar Paganini
Minister of Industry, Energy & Mining, Ministry of Industry, Energy & Mining, Uruguay

Until his appointment as Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining, he was director of the UCU Business School.

In 1990 he founded an engineering and automation services company for industry. In 1995 he settled in the department of Paysandú to assume the position of director of the company Paylana S.A., where it generated an innovation in textile technology. Between 2001 and 2003, back in Montevideo, he joined Antel’s ITC consultancy. From 2003 he was dean of the Faculty of Engineering of the Catholic University of Uruguay and later served as vice-rector of Economic Management and Development.

Minister Paganini holds a degree in electrical engineering from the University of the Republic and holds a master’s degree in Business Management from the Universidad Católica del Uruguay. He has also completed coursework in Entrepreneurship at Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley Universities, as well as the Global PON program at Harvard University.

Jorge Rivera Staff
Jorge Rivera Staff
Secretary of Energy of Panama

Jorge Rivera Staff has been the National Energy Secretary of Panama since July 2019. Since that date, he has also been President of the Board of Directors of the Electricity Transmission Enterprise (ETESA), member of the Rural Electrification Office Executive Committee and member of the National Authority Public Services Board of Directors.

He has a degree in Law and Political Science, with a PhD in Administrative Law from the Complutense University of Madrid. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Energy Law from the Superior Institute of Energy (ISE) of Spain.

He has more than 10 years of experience advising governments and private companies on legal, regulatory and public policy issues in the energy sector.

His academic preparation includes a specialization in Globalization and General Interest Public Services, as well as a specialization on Integration Processes in Europe and America at the Carlos III University of Madrid. He also has Postgraduate MBA in Strategic Management, from the Inter-American University of Panama.

He studied at the Institute for Social Development (INDES) from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Public Management results oriented for Development, and has a Diploma in Political Management and Governance from the George Washington University and the University of Panama. Knowledge that he reinforced in the Regional School of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), on Public Policy Analysis from the Human Development perspective.

Within his public career, he served as Legal Advisor of ETESA and Legal Adviser officer in the Electricity Direction of the National Energy Secretariat during its organization period.

He obtained a Postgraduate Degree in Superior Teaching at the Specialized University of the Americas, and ventures as an academic in public and private universities, by teaching Electrical Law for a Master in Administrative Law at the Latin University of Panama. Also taught for a Diploma in Electric Market of the Technological University of Panama, as well as Administrative Procedural Law and Economic Law at the Santa Maria la Antigua University (USMA).

While  exercising his political life, he held the Presidency of the Energy and Telecommunications Commission of the National Bar Association for the period 2015-2017, and the Representation of large clients in the Operational Committee of the electricity market during the period 2016- 2018. He is a member of the Ibero-American Forum of Administrative Law, of the Latin American CAF Governance Network, as well as of the Network of Ibero-American Energy Experts of the CEDDET Foundation.

Founder and director of Enlex consultants, specialists in legal, regulatory and public policy aspects of the Panamanian energy sector with an emphasis on the electricity market.

Advisor, consultant and facilitator for private companies, public entities, NGOs and United Nations agencies. Speaker or moderator in various forums on law and energy, among other topics. He is the author of recognized publications, as well as multiple articles of socio-political opinion in newspapers and magazines with national circulation.

Author of “Fundamentals of Electrical Law”. Editorial Barrios & Barrios. 2017 After performing various tasks in public and private sectors, in July 2019 he assumed the responsibility of directing the Ministry of Energy. Among his main challenges is working for energy security and energy transition, promoting renewable energies and continuing to regulating the hydrocarbon sector, fundamental axes for the social and economic development of the country.


His mission is to conduct the country’s energy policy, within the current constitutional framework, to guarantee a competitive, sufficient, high-quality, economically viable and environmentally sustainable supply of energy resources for Panama´s development. The National Energy Secretariat attached to the Presidency of the Republic, has the mission of establishing and promoting the country’s Energy Policy to:

  1. Guarantee the energy security supply,
  2. Achieve access to electricity throughout the country,
  3. Promote the rational and efficient use of energy and electricity,
  4. Promote research and development of Panama natural resources with potential to produce energy, including mainly renewable and cleaner energies,
  5. Promote the use of energy in a sustainable manner,
  6. Support in the implementation of the regional electrical interconnection,
  7. Comply with the time commitments for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

These objectives are in accordance with the National Development Plan of Panama and comply with the economic, competitive, and quality parameters.


A population with full access to energy supplies, at competitive prices, operating within an adequate legal and regulatory framework. Based on a strong drive for the efficient use of energy and technological research and development; with broad promotion of the use of alternative energy sources; and with security of supply.

Changes in an increasingly globalized world affected the direction of Panama’s economy, and made it necessary to modernize and strengthen the structure, to respond to new world trends and the demands of an increasingly participatory Panamanian society, which demands better services.

The restructuring process mainly sought the specialization of the National Energy Secretary in two (2) sectors: hydrocarbons and electricity, without losing sight of the importance and necessary role of the national energy policy formulation.

In 2011, strategies and actions for restructuring and resizing of the National Secretariat of Energy were established, which are specified in a flatter organizational structure and in accordance with the development policy of the National Government.

The new structure was established in Law No. 43 of April 25, 2011 (Official Gazette No. 26771 of Monday, April 25, 2011) which reorganizes the National Energy Secretary and dictates other provisions. (Repeals Law No. 52 of July 30, 2008). With this new structure and with the application of strategies of innovation, quality, modernization and optimization of resources, it is how the National Secretariat of Energy orients its work to design energy public policies.


Among the primary functions of the National Energy Secretary are:

  • Promote the sector growth, towards a diversified energy matrix, capable of reducing: costs, adverse social and environmental impacts, vulnerability and dependence on limited resources
  • Promote a competitive market
  • Maximize the energy efficiency of the national energy system;
  • Promote a regulatory framework which facilitates the rules for a modern and efficient electricity system
  • Work in a consultative manner with all elements and stakeholders of the national energy sector, whether from the public or private sector nationwide.
Fiona Clouder
Fiona Clouder
Regional Ambassador, Latin America & Caribbean COP26

Fiona was appointed as the UK Government’s Regional Ambassador for Latin America and the Caribbean, COP26 in Mar 2020. Find out more about COP26, the 2021 UN Climate Conference.

Fiona joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (now FCDO) in 2001, from the Research Councils (now UKRI) to build and lead the FCO’s global Science and Innovation Network (UKSIN). In 2006 she went to India as Director of Corporate Services, returning to London in 2009 to work on Migration issues. From 2011, as Deputy Director, Americas, Fiona led the FCO’s strategy on Latin America (the Canning Agenda). Fiona served as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Chile from Feb 2014 to Jun 2018. On return her work included Americas, Overseas Territories, Climate Diplomacy and preparations for COP26.

Anna Shpitsberg
Anna Shpitsberg
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Transformation, Bureau of Energy Resources, US Department of State

Anna Shpitsberg serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Transformation at the U.S. Department of State. Ms. Shpitsberg is responsible for supporting a shift to a decarbonized economy that enables secure and resilient energy systems. Shpitsberg leads efforts and advises on power market reform, clean energy financing, and resilient supply chains to support transitioning power, transport, and end-use sectors. Additionally, she leads U.S. representation at the International Renewable Energy Agency, and other bilateral and multilateral engagements on energy with U.S. allies and partners.

In her prior role, Shpitsberg served as Director for Global Power and Renewables at IHS Markit. In this capacity she conducted research on emerging trends in the power sector; collaborated with teams covering power, clean energy technology, upstream energy, climate, economics, transport, and agriculture on possible outcomes for the energy transition; advised  executives on trends that may impact their business strategy; led corporate renewable research, including the outlook for the United States; consulted on bespoke renewable projects; and managed the buildout of power market analysis and research in Africa and the Middle East.

Prior to joining IHS Markit, Ms. Shpitsberg established the U.S. Department of State’s Power Sector Program (PSP) through which she partnered with and advised utilities, regulators, system operators, and energy ministries on power market reform, energy resource optimization and procurement, regional power market development, and renewable energy integration and financing. In this role, she designed, managed, and advised on over 30 projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, including in Angola, Argentina, Cambodia, Chile, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, and Vietnam. She also held positions at the U.S. Department of Energy, the Rocky Mountain Institute, and Morgan Stanley. Ms. Shpitsberg holds a BS from Binghamton University in Finance and an MEM in Environmental Economics and Policy from Duke University with a focus on power systems and the energy-water nexus.

Elizabeth Urbanas
Elizabeth Urbanas
Acting Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, US Department of Energy

Beth Urbanas is the Acting Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, US Department of U.S. Department of Energy. Ms. Urbanas is responsible for managing DOE’s bilateral and multilateral engagement with Asian and American countries. Ms. Urbanas is also responsible for DOE’s work in several multilateral fora including the North Amerian Leaders’ Summit, APEC and ECPA. Prior to her current position, she was the Director for European and Eurasian Affairs at the Office of International Affairs in the U.S. Department of Energy. In this role she was also responsible for DOE’s work in the G20 and G7. Prior to working at DOE, Ms. Urbanas spent 14 years at the U.S. Treasury Department where she created and directed the Office of Environment and Energy and represented the United States on the boards of several international organizations including the Global Environment Facility, the Clean Technology Fund, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the World Bank. Ms. Urbanas started her career in investment management on Wall Street and has also held a staff position at the World Bank. Ms. Urbanas has a B.A. from the College of William and Mary, an M.A. from the State University of New York at Albany, and an M.B.A from George Mason University.

Saverio Minervini
Saverio Minervini
Director, Latin American Corporates, FitchRatings

Saverio Minervini is a director in Fitch Ratings’ Energy & Utilities Latin America corporate team.
Saverio joined Fitch in 2015. Prior to joining Fitch, Saverio was an Associated Director on the Latin American Investment Banking team at Nomura. He also worked for UBS in New York and Sao Paulo.
Saverio has a BBA from Pace University and an MS in Financial Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology.

Glaucia Roveri dos Santos
Glaucia Roveri dos Santos
Energy & Environment Manager, South America General Motors

Experienced professional in Energy and Sustaiability areas. I have led the implementation of the Energy and Utilities department for the Latin America, Africa , with significant energy cost reduction, establishment of advocacy programs, . International career developed in the facilities management area, involving industrial fleet management, manpower and union relations, facilities maintenance and construction, utilities operation and environmental control.

Specialties: energy procurement strategy, sustainability projects,

Rafaela Guedes
Rafaela Guedes
Senior Fellow, Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI), and Chief Economist, Petrobras

Rafaela Guedes is a Senior Fellow of the Energy Program at the Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI) and Petrobras´ Chief Economist. At Petrobras, she is responsible for developing and monitoring the company’s corporate scenarios, macroeconomic forecasts, oil and oil products demand outlook, and the development of strategic competitive analysis. Her main areas of interest are strategy, energy and climate change. She is currently a member of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative Executive Committee. Rafaela joined Petrobras in 2006. Since then she progressed through a number of assignments, having worked in the Corporate E&P segment, in Investor Relations, and in International New Businesses Development. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economic Sciences from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and a Master’s degree in International Management from Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV).

Faisel H. Khan
Faisel H. Khan
Senior Vice President, Finance, Sempra Energy

Faisel Khan is senior vice president of finance for Sempra Energy, and chief financial officer of Sempra LNG.

Khan is responsible for communicating Sempra Energy’s disciplined focus for delivering long-term shareholder value to the investment community, while providing oversight to Sempra Energy’s risk management and treasury matters. In his role as chief financial officer of Sempra LNG, Khan oversees accounting and financial modeling.

Previously, from 2018 to 2019, Khan was vice president of investor relations for Sempra Energy.

Prior to working at Sempra Energy, he was a managing director for Citigroup in New York, covering the natural gas, pipeline, midstream, refining and master limited partnership industries. Khan was ranked as one of the top financial analysts in the natural gas sector for 11 consecutive years by the Institutional Investor Survey.

Before joining Citigroup in 2005, Khan worked for six years at Credit Suisse First Boston, first in investment banking and, later, as an equity research analyst following the integrated pipeline, merchant power and gas distribution industries.

Khan serves on the board of directors of Infraestructura Energética Nova (IEnova).

He holds bachelor’s degrees in engineering and economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Rodolfo Lacy
Rodolfo Lacy
Director, Environment Directorate, OECD

On 1 August 2018, Dr. Rodolfo Lacy was appointed Director of the Environment Directorate of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Dr. Lacy holds a Doctorate Degree in Environmental Science and Engineering from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Mexico), a Master’s Degree in Urban Studies and Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Engineering from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Mexico) and a certificate in Leadership on Environment and Sustainable Development from El Colegio de México.

Dr. Lacy has been Vice Minister of Environmental Policy and Planning at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico (2012-2018), Chief negotiator of Climate Change (COP19-COP23), Co-chair of the Global Methane Initiative, Member of the High-Level Group of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO6), and Board Member of the Climate Action Reserve in California, USA.

Dr. Lacy has had extensive experience in policy making in the field of environment. He held the following positions:

• Technical Director at Mario Molina Center for Energy and Environmental Strategic Studies (2005-2012), a policy research NGO lead by Dr. Mario Molina, a chemist Nobel Prize laureated for his scientific work in the depletion of the ozone layer;
• Chief of Staff for the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources (2000-2003);
• Founder President of the Mexican Environmental Engineering Association CINAM (1996-1998);
• General Director of Environmental Projects and Studies and of Environmental Pollution Control and Prevention – Mexico City Government (1989-1997);
• Director of Environmental Planning at the Ministry of Urban Development and Ecology (1982-1987); among other relevant assignments.

Dr. Lacy is a Mexican national.

Sylvie D’Apote
Sylvie D’Apote
Executive Director for Natural Gas, Brazilian Petroleum Institute (IBP)

Sylvie D’Apote an energy economist with over 25 years of experience as an international energy consultant, spanning the whole energy spectrum from oil & gas to coal and biomass. Focusing on Latin America since 1999 and based in Brazil since 2003, Sylvie has developed a deep expertise on regional natural gas issues, supply-demand dynamics, regulation, prices and contracts, geopolitics and market integration, cross-border gas and LNG trade, gas-power convergence. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of PRYSMA E&T CONSULTORES. Sylvie is a frequent speaker at seminars and conferences, both in Brazil and abroad, on various subjects related to the Brazilian and South America oil and gas industry. She is the author or co-author of several books and articles on natural gas. She speaks fluently English, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

Enrique Rodriguez-Flores
Enrique Rodriguez-Flores
Energy Specialist, European Investment Bank (EIB)

Enrique Rodriguez-Flores is a Senior Specialist in the Energy Transition Programs Division of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in Luxemburg and has more than 30 years of work experience. Enrique received in 2010 a Ph.D. degree in Engineering from the Kassel University in Germany and in 2001 a Master of Science and Engineering title from the Technical University of Berlin in Germany. Enrique joined the EIB in 2017 and his areas of specialization are Climate Finance and Sustainable Energy, currently advising on operations in the clean energy sector in and outside Europe. Prior to joining the EIB, Enrique served as a Lead Energy Specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank, and previously as Senior Energy Advisor for a major German consulting company, where he was responsible for the design, financial structuring, implementation, supervision, and monitoring of sustainable energy projects and programs in many countries of the world.

Enrique Rodríguez-Flores es Especialista Senior en la División Programas de Transición Energética del Banco Europeo de Inversiones (BEI) en Luxemburgo y tiene más de 30 años de experiencia laboral. Enrique recibió en 2010 un grado de Doctorado en Ingeniería de la Universidad de Kassel, Alemania y en 2001 un título de Maestría en Ciencias e Ingeniería de la Universidad Técnica de Berlín, Alemania. Enrique ingresó al BEI en el año 2017 y sus áreas de especialización son Financiamiento Climático y Energías Sostenibles, asesorando actualmente en operaciones en el sector de energías limpias dentro y fuera de Europa. Antes de ingresar al BEI, Enrique se desempeñó como Especialista Líder de Energía en el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, y previamente como Asesor Sénior en Energía de una importante empresa consultora Alemana, donde fue responsable del diseño, estructuración financiera, implementación, supervisión y monitoreo de proyectos y programas de energías sostenibles en muchos países del mundo.


Manuel Pablo Zúñiga-Pflücker,
Manuel Pablo Zúñiga-Pflücker,
President and CEO, PetroTal Corp

Manuel Zúñiga is a petroleum engineer with 30 years of industry experience. Mr. Zúñiga was a founder and the President and Chief Executive Officer of BPZ when oil was discovered in the Corvina field of the Z-1 Block, brought online in less than two years using the first floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit ever used in Peru and developed with a buoyant drilling and production platform. Prior to completion of the Arrangement, Mr Zúñiga had been the President and Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Managers of PetroTal LLC since January 2016.

He started his career as a junior engineer with Occidental Petroleum where he worked in Block 1-AB, located in the northern jungle of Peru. He was born and raised in Talara, Peru and has led exploration and development projects for oil and gas in Peru, as well as other countries in Latin America. He has established relationships with operators in Peru, including owners of the targeted assets, and has good relationships with government agencies in the region. Mr. Zúñiga holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland and a Masters of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Carlos Pascual
Carlos Pascual
Senior Vice President, Global Energy, IHS Markit

Carlos Pascual is senior vice president for Global Energy and International Affairs, responsible for leading all business lines in Latin America.

As the energy envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs for the United States, Mr. Pascual established and directed the new Energy Resources Bureau at the U.S. Department of State and was senior advisor to the Secretary of State on energy issues. He had previously been a United States Ambassador to both Mexico and Ukraine and was special assistant to the President and successively as director and then senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia on the National Security Council. At the Brookings Institution, Mr. Pascual served as both vice president and director of foreign policy studies and launched the Brookings Energy Security Initiative. He taught and wrote on energy geopolitics at Columbia University. Mr. Pascual created the position of coordinator for reconstruction and stabilization, establishing the State Department’s first civilian response capacity to conflicts. He also was the State Department’s coordinator for American assistance to Europe and Eurasia. He has also held leadership roles at the U.S. Agency for International Development, including as deputy assistant administrator for Europe and Eurasia, chief of policy and strategy for Africa and in field postings in Mozambique, South Africa and Sudan. Mr. Pascual received his Masters of Public Policy degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University. His book, Power and Responsibility, won a 2009 award for the best political science book published by an independent publisher.

Santiago Sacerdote
Santiago Sacerdote
General Manager, YPF Tecnología (Y-TEC) and Executive Director of H2Ar Consortium
Roberto Herrera
Roberto Herrera
Managing Director, Head of Dominican Republic, InterEnergy

Roberto is the CEO of CESPM and its operator Basic de la República Dominicana. He is also the Executive Director and Vice President to the Board of CEPM and a member of the InterEnergy Board.

Roberto has over 20 years’ experience working in the Latin America energy sector. Previously, he was the Deputy Country Manager in the Dominican Republic of Basic Energy; Vice President for Administration of EGE HAINA and CEPM; and Regional Manager for the Americas of Scotia Energy Ltd.

Roberto has an economics degree from Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in Santo Domingo and an MBA (based on the University of North Carolina programme), magna cum laude from Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

In 1997 he was awarded a British Chevening Scholarship to study a master of science in business economics at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.



Jorge Milanese
Jorge Milanese
Regional Director, Latin America, Sproule

Jorge Milanese is Sproule’s Regional Director of Latin America responsible for developing and executing Sproule’s client engagement strategy in the region.  Jorge is an experienced oil and gas professional with expertise in domestic and international business development, acquisitions and divestitures, corporate development and upstream assets management. He had a leading role in a wide range of conventional and unconventional energy projects in North and South America. His areas of expertise include upstream investment opportunity identification, both in conventional and unconventional reservoirs, financial and technical evaluation, strategy development and contract negotiation and administration of operated and non-operated joint ventures. Jorge’s previous experience includes engagements with major global oil and gas operating companies as business development Vice President and Assets Vice President. Jorge has proudly served in the Argentinean Navy as a Naval Aviation Officer. He holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has a degree in aeronautical engineering. Jorge maintains membership in several professional organizations and societies.

Nadia Rhazi Khawar
Nadia Rhazi Khawar
Director | Business Development | Structured Finance and Insurance U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)

Nadia Rhazi Khawar is the Director for Business Development in the Office of Structured Finance and Insurance at the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). In this role, Nadia focuses on early deal origination and directly engages with project sponsors to determine their eligibility, terms, and structuring for DFC debt financing and political risk insurance.

Nadia joined DFC’s predecessor agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, in 2015 from the Department of Energy’s Office of International Affairs, where she spent three years as a Senior Advisor on Latin America and Caribbean. Nadia has also worked in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the Department of Justice’s Law and Policy Office in the Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Nadia has a Masters of Public Policy degree from U.C. Berkeley, where she focused on energy and environmental policy, and a Bachelors in Political Science/International Affairs from UCLA.

John Padilla
John Padilla
Managing Director, IPD Latin America

As Managing Director and partner at IPD, John leverages years of Wall Street experience in structured energy and infrastructure financing to offer comprehensive perspective on energy investment throughout Latin America.

John led IPD’s expansion into Mexico in 2001. He has since played a vital role in the development of lobbying efforts to encourage a healthy, more vigorous Mexican energy sector. With 15 years of direct consulting experience in Mexico, John is one of the premier experts on the politics and policy of that country’s energy industry. In 2011 he relocated to Bogota in order to participate more directly in the resurgence of Colombia’s oil and gas sectors.

John co-heads IPD’s business throughout Latin America, contributing a strong pragmatism and tactical expertise to support project risk and opportunity assessment. He has devised comprehensive government relations, key stakeholder management, and legislative and regulatory analysis services to enhance clients’ ability to navigate Latin America’s complex business environments. John is frequently quoted in the U.S. and international press, and speaks regularly at industry conferences and events.

Prior to joining IPD, John was Vice President and a Global Relationship Manager with Dresdner Kleinwort Benson in its N.Y. based Energy, Utility and Infrastructure Group, focusing on large domestic and international projects in Latin America, the U.S. and Asia. He also held positions with the project finance group at Banque Paribas and the transportation group at Manufacturers Hanover (now JP Morgan Chase).

Bachelor of Science, Boston College, 1991 – Major: Finance

Languages Spoken
English (native), Spanish (fluent)

Anthony Hayward
Anthony Hayward
Executive Chairman, SierraCol Energy

Chair: Ethics, Compliance and Culture and the Investigations Committees; Member of the Health, Safety, Environment and Communities Committee.


Anthony Hayward has been Independent Non-Executive Chairman from May 2013. Prior to being appointed Chairman he was the Senior Independent Non-Executive Director.


Dr Hayward is a partner and member of the European advisory Board of AEA Capital and chairman of Compact GTL Limited.

Dr Hayward was group chief executive of BP plc from 2007 to 2010, having joined BP in 1982 as a rig geologist in the North Sea.

Following a series of technical and commercial roles in Europe, Asia and South America, he returned to London in 1997 as a member of the upstream executive committee. He became group treasurer in 2000, chief executive for BP upstream activities and member of the main Board of BP in 2003.

Dr Hayward studied geology at Aston University in Birmingham and completed a Ph.D. at Edinburgh University. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and holds honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, Aston University, the University of Birmingham and Aberdeen University.

Roberto Quirós Balma
Roberto Quirós Balma
Electric Mobility Program Coordinator, Grupo ICE (Costa Rica)

I have 20+ years of experience in the energy sector, currently at ICE, in charge of the electric mobility strategy implementation, together with a team of people throughout Costa Rica, who seek to create national conditions for the growth of electric fleets, commercial linkages and customer relations of the wholesale electricity sector. Before, I served as an advisor for the Electricity Manager at ICE, and worked in wholesale electricity markets at both a Costa Rican national level and internationally. During my tenure at ICE, I have team up to the development of commercial strategies for energy trade with private electricity generators and the Regional Electrical Market (MER).

My academic background includes degree’s in Electricity Markets, data analytics and climate change from Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rican’s universities, a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Business Administration with emphasis in Management.

Salvador Handal
Salvador Handal
 Executive Secretary, National Energy Commission (CNE) of El Salvador
Marcelino Madrigal
Marcelino Madrigal
Principal Energy Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Dr. Marcelino Madrigal is a principal energy specialist and electric mobility leader at the Inter-American Development Bank. He has over 20 years of experience in the areas of electricity markets and power systems planning, operations, and regulation. Dr. Madrigal graduated with a Master of Science from the Morelia Technology Institute and received his PhD in Electric Power and Markets from the University of Waterloo, Canada.

Carlos de Regules
Carlos de Regules
Partner, Risk Advisory, Deloitte Spanish Latin America

Mr. de Regules is an expert in regulation, strategic planning, safety and environmental risk management and climate change, with particular experience in the oil and gas sector. He is a partner at Deloitte, focusing on risk management in the energy sector across Latin America

As a consultant, he recently helped the Government of Guyana build new institutional capacities for the oversight of petroleum operations and advised the Water Industry Commission of Scotland in the implementation of new collaborative approaches in the regulatory process. He also participated as a peer reviewer in regulatory assessments in the transportation sector in Peru and the energy sector in Ireland.

In 2014-18, Mr. de Regules led the creation of Mexico´s ASEA, the national agency for safety and environmental protection in the hydrocarbon sector, responsible for regulating, permitting and supervising a 22 thousand regulated entities industry. In this capacity, he was responsible for the establishment of a comprehensive risk-based, performance-oriented regulatory model, and issued, among other regulations, the first methane emissions regulations for the oil and gas industry at the national level in Latin America.

Prior to that, during his 18 years career at Petróleos Mexicanos he held different responsibilities, namely as Deputy Director for Strategic and Operational Planning, responsible for the development of the strategic planning process and the integration of the business plan, and as Environmental Protection Manager, responsible for the development of the sustainability portfolio of initiatives.

Mr. de Regules holds a BSc in Chemical Engineering from Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey and an MSc in Environmental Engineering and Management from École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris.

He is a fellow of the Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) International Network, and a frequent participant at OECD’s Network of Economic Regulators, Chatham House´s New Petroleum Producers Group and the International Energy Agency´s Methane Guiding Principles Network.

Gema Sacristán
Gema Sacristán
Chief Investment Officer, IDB Invest
Warren Levy
Warren Levy
CEO, Jaguar
Agnes da Costa
Agnes da Costa
Head of the Regulatory Advisory Office, Ministry of Mines and Energy of Brazil

Agnes M. da Costa, as Head of the Regulatory Advisory Office at the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy, is an internationally recognized energy specialist with more than 16 years advising Ministers in energy and natural resources policy design in Brazil. She has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and completed her M.Sc. studies in Energy at the University of São Paulo (USP). Her professional experience also includes working at a Brazilian bank with project finance in the energy sector.

Agnes has great experience in coordinating collaborative work, putting many stakeholders together to build solutions that generate a common public value. Her main experiences in coordinating collaborative work have been the privatization processes of power utilities and the Brazilian power sector reform.

With an extensive list of publications and appearances as a speaker at national and international forums debating the role and trends of the energy sector, she contributes to the understanding of the policies under development in Brazil and worldwide.

She has also been adding with her sectorial expertise and business savvy to corporate boards for over than 6 years and is also an enthusiast of the role played by the energy sector in social and economic inclusion.

Co-author of the #simelasexistem project, she is a precursor to the debate on career and leadership from the point of view of women in the energy sector in Brazil, seeking to increase the retention and sense of belonging of all its talent pool.

A Srª Agnes Maria de Aragão da Costa é Chefe da Assessoria Especial em Assuntos Regulatórios, tendo como especialidade as Economias de Energia e de Mineração. Atua há 16 anos no MME, na recomendação e na formulação de políticas públicas. Possui bacharelado em Ciências Econômicas pela Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) e é mestre em Energia pela Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Servidora da carreira de Especialista de Políticas Públicas e Gestão Governamental. Atualmente é membro do Conselho Fiscal da Petrobras. Foi membro do Conselho de administração da CEAL, CEPISA e Norte Energia e membro do Conselho Fiscal da Eletrobras.

Kevin Ramnarine
Kevin Ramnarine
Former Minister of Energy of Trinidad and Tobago & Senior Consultant with IPD Latin America

Kevin Ramnarine served as Minister of Energy of Trinidad and Tobago from June 2011 to September 2015.

During his tenure he created a positive climate for investment which resulted in major investments in deepwater exploration, the expansion of the petrochemical sector and new port infrastructure. Under his watch, Trinidad and Tobago attained country compliant status with the EITI in addition to the first IPO of a State-owned energy company (TTNGL).

Prior to being appointed Energy Minister, he held positions in the Energy Chamber and at British Gas where he worked as the Lead Economist. He holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry, a M.Sc. in petroleum engineering and an International MBA with distinction.

Since leaving Ministerial office, he has worked as a consultant for major companies in Trinidad and Tobago and internationally. He is currently a Senior Consultant for the consulting firm IPD Latin America. He is a regular speaker at international conferences and is a media commentator on energy related matters in his native Trinidad and Tobago and in Guyana. He is also a lecturer in two MBA programmes at the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business in Trinidad and Tobago.

For his contribution to the development of the Trinidad and Tobago energy sector he received the award of “Energy Executive of the Year” from the Petroleum Economist magazine in 2014.

German Chullmir
German Chullmir
CEO, OREL Energy Group

German is an entrepreneur with over 25 years of international experience. Passionate about the environment and conscious about the crucial role clean energy plays in Latin America’s development, German has been advocating for the diversification of the energy matrix while facilitating social development through technology innovation.

German has founded and managed numerous investments in real estate, construction and renewable energy.

Foreseeing the market trends in the Renewable Energy sector, German founded Orel Energy Group in 2015 to focus on opportunities in Latin America developing a unique perspective on the specific dynamics of the market while cultivating a strategic vision about private-public partnerships in the energy sector.

Jose Luis Manzano
Jose Luis Manzano
Chairman, Integra Capital

José Luis Manzano is an Argentine businessman with a deep understanding of Latin American public policy and global emerging markets. He possesses significant experience in the investment, media, energy and distress industries. He speaks frequently across the world on these issues. Dr. Manzano founded the international firm Integra Capital, a private equity and merchant banking firm. Integra also provides services such as mergers and acquisitions, financial structuring, IPOs, due diligence procedures, debt and company restructuring, among others.

Dr. Manzano and his family are relevant shareholders of Phoenix Global Resources, a company engaged in the exploration and production of oil and gas with activity in Argentina. PGR is listed in the London Stock Exchange, AIM Market, and the Stock Exchange of Buenos Aires, produces 10.000 barrels of oil per day and has more than 60 million barrels of proven reserves and 300 million barrels of unconventional resources. Dr Manzano is also a relevant investor in Interoil, an exploration and production company listed in the Oslo stock exchange that produces 1600bopd in Colombia.

Dr. Manzano is the major shareholder of Integra Oil & Gas, an oil production company that produces 4000 bopd in Venezuela. He is also a major shareholder in Integra Gas Distribution in partnership with Mercuria Energy Trading. Integra Gas Distribution is a significant shareholder of Metrogas, the gas distribution company of Buenos Aires serving more than 10 million people. He is also a relevant shareholder of Edemsa, the distribution electricity company of the province of Mendoza, HIDROELECTRICA AMEGHINO, a hidroplant producing 60 megas and Altus, a winery producer of premium wines in Argentina.

In relation to the media industry, Dr. Manzano is a major shareholder of Grupo America, the second by size argentine media group he co-founded in 1996. The group owns TV stations, news channels, radios and newspapers, including America Tv, the national leader on live television and El Cronista Comercial, the more prestigious business and finance newspaper of Argentina and radio La Red, leader in sports and news.

In mining, Integra has invested extensively in uranium exploration in the province of Chubut in Argentina and in lithium in Jujuy and Catamarca, at the lithium triangle where is developing over 400.000 has.

Prior to his business career, Mr. Manzano was active in the Peronist party where he was Secretary General. He served as majority leader in the lower house of Argentina’s National Congress from 1983 to 1991 and was appointed as Homeland Security Minister under President Carlos Menem between 1991 and 1993.

Dr. Manzano is a relevant donor to several educational organizations and charities. Dr. Manzano is the President of Universidad de Congreso, where he is actively involved in academics and research activities. He has developed activities with the climate change organization of Novel Awards Al Gore and the Clinton Global Initiative. He is also active with the UK Argentinean Chamber of Commerce and the Cámara de Comercio Argentino Norteamericana.

He is a sponsor of the Chinese House of Culture in Buenos Aires. He was a member of the B20, the business group in support of the G20 Argentine presidency. Dr Manzano is a regular participant of the activities of the Council of The Americas and the Americas Society. Dr Manzano is a member of the Energy Steering Committee of the Institute of The Americas, and also a board member of the Institute of The Americas at UCSD.

Since 2019, Dr Manzano is the Chairman of the European Chapter of the Eisenhower Fellowships. Furthermore, he advises and cooperates with IPS Latin America and IPS Consortium, a global news agency member of the UN system of which University of Congreso is one of the anchor institutions.

Dr. Manzano received his Medical Doctorate and his Post Degree specialization in Occupational Health from the National University of Cuyo. He has been a Visiting Scholar at both Georgetown University and the University of California at San Diego.

He has received an International Business Certificate and an International Finance Certificate from Georgetown University. He has received a diploma in Leadership from Oxford University and lectured at prestigious universities in Argentina, Japan, Europe and the United States.

Federica Salazar
Federica Salazar
Partner, Environmental Resources Management, (ERM)

Mrs. Salazar is an attorney with a master’s degree in environmental law, with broad legal and administrative experience in environmental and administrative law and related areas. She is an environmental, health, and safety law specialist with extensive experience in legal environmental training, legal advice and representation in businesses in both the public and private sectors. She currently leads the Transaction Advisory Service for ERM´s Latinoamerica (LAC) Region. Her broad experience is composed of support in connection with (i) HSE Permitting, obtaining licenses, concessions and permits needed to begin certain projects or businesses, (ii) ongoing compliance with environmental and health and safety regulations and standards (iii) M&A services all over the region and, (iv) with the proper management of contamination incidents and / or identification of environmental liabilities.

Christian Iturri
Christian Iturri
General Manager, New Markets Americas, Shell

Christian has more than 20 years of Oil and Gas Industry experience in both upstream and gas/LNG commercial and managerial activities.

Christian joined Shell from the BG Group where he was most recently the VP for LNG Marketing for the Group, in charge of all mid and long-term LNG sales. Prior to that he has was the Managing Director Norway and VP Growth and Strategy Europe E&P where he managed all Business Development and Exploration activities for Europe.

As General Manager New Markets Americas, Christian in in charge of the gas, power and environmental products market development, strategy and execution in the region.

A US citizen, originally from Bolivia, Christian has had the fortune to have lived in 8 different countries, he is married with 3 Children.

Armando Zamora Reyes
Armando Zamora Reyes
President National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH), Colombia

Mechanical Engineer and Specialist in High Government from Los Andes University; Armando Zamora Reyes, current President of the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH). He has a Master of Science and Doctorate in Engineering from MIT, and an MBA from IMD (Lausanne). He is an Honorary Professor at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mining Studies of the University of Dundee (Scotland), where he was Deputy Director.

Mr. Zamora was the first Director of the National Hydrocarbons Agency from 2003 to 2011, emphasizing in the creation and strengthening of the new regulatory authority of the hydrocarbon sector in Colombia, as well as the adoption of a new model for concession contracts. He organized and executed six area bid rounds for exploration and production of the hydrocarbon sector, derived as modern, competitive and fair. Among other achievements, he has also served as Senior Advisor to Accenture Strategy Energy and Schlumberger Business Consulting, Senior Consultant to the Boston Consulting Group, and Consultant to the IDB, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the International Finance Corporation. He previously worked at Mobil de Colombia, the Institute of Nuclear Affairs, Carbocol and Corporación Invertir en Colombia, currently Procolombia.

Cecilia Aversa
Cecilia Aversa
Managing Director, Innovation, Integra Capital

Cecilia Aversa is a Ph.D. in Political Sciences (Catholic University- University of Salamanca- University of Pittsburgh). She served at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of the Argentine Republic for more than a decade as Counselor for International Relations, representing the country at the European Commission, United Nations agencies, and the OECD.

Afterwards, Cecilia became a member of the Cabinet, and led Big Data, Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence initiatives. Before joining Integra, she was designated General Manager of the first Innovation Lab of Argentina in the Space Sector, and supported collaboration with NASA, ESA, ASI. In 2020, she assumed her current role as Managing Director of Innovation at Integra Capital S.A., and became Member of the Board of Directors of Integra Lithium.

Cecilia is also a Professor at the Catholic University, was awarded Argentinian Eisenhower Global Fellow ‘17, and associated to the Eisenhower Fellowships Selection & Mentoring Committee. In 2018, she was appointed Member of the distinguished Board of Directors of the Argentine- North American Cultural Institute (ICANA).

Gabriel Prudencio
Gabriel Prudencio
Head of Sustainable Energies Division, Ministry of Mines and Energy of Chile
Aykut I. Ölçer
Aykut I. Ölçer
Professor, Director of Maritime Research, World Maritime University

Dr. Aykut I. ÖLÇER is a naval architect and marine engineer holding the position of Professor at the World Maritime University (WMU), Malmö, Sweden. In his Ph.D. thesis, he developed a novel methodology utilizing multiple attributive group decision-making and fuzzy set theories with the applications to Ship Design/Production area.

Prior to joining WMU, he worked at Newcastle University (England), University of Strathclyde (Scotland) and Istanbul Technical University (Turkey) within the fields of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. He played an important role in Newcastle University’s first international branch in Singapore to help the University achieving its objectives in teaching/learning and research activities in the undergraduate programs of Marine Technology.

For many years, he has conducted research independently/jointly and collaborated with other researchers, academics and students all over the world, in particular from Europe and Asia.

Dr Ölçer was involved in numerous EU funded FP5, FP6 and FP7 projects including OPTIPOD (Optimal Design and Implementation of Azimuthing PODS for the Safe and Efficient Propulsion of Ships), FASTPOD (Fast Ship Applications for Pod Drives), COMPASS (A Rational Approach for Reduction of Motion Sickness and Improvement of Passenger Comfort and Safety in Sea Transportation), COMAND (Integrated Crisis and Operation Management Decision Support System for Passenger Ships), SAFEDOR (Design, Operation and Regulation for Safety of Ships), IMPROVE (Design of improved and competitive products using an integrated decision support system for ship production and operation) and TARGETS (Targeted Advanced Research for Global Efficiency of Transportation Shipping).

He currently leads the WMU Maritime Energy Research Group that has secured funding from the EU and IAMU for several projects including wind assisted ship propulsion (SAIL project, EU-Interreg IVB), improving energy efficiency of ships through optimization of ship operations (IAMU), and development of vocational education for LNG as a marine fuel (OTMW-N project, EU-Marco Polo).

His recent areas of research are:

  • ·      Maritime energy management and energy efficiency
  • ·      Renewable energy and alternative fuels (LNG in particular)
  • ·      Real-time decision support systems for energy efficient ship operations
  • ·      Climate change impact on port infrastructure and its adaptation
  • ·      Lean, energy efficient and green ports
  • ·      Life cycle cost/environment impact models of green solutions for ships, ports and shipyards
  • ·      Decision making for trade-off situations of cleaner seaborne transportation

He has published results of his research in leading, internationally peer-reviewed journals such as “European Journal of Operational Research”, “Quality and Reliability Engineering International”, “Computers and OR”, and “Applied Soft Computing”.

Sira Corbetta
Sira Corbetta
Chief Sustainability Officer, Jaguar
Neil Brown
Neil Brown
Director, KKR Global Institute

Neil R. Brown (New York) joined KKR in 2014 and is a Director in the KKR Global Institute. Mr. Brown is also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States. Prior to joining KKR, Mr. Brown served for over eight years as a senior staff member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he concurrently led energy security efforts for Senator Richard G. Lugar. He has also served as a senior advisor at Goldwyn Global Strategies, on the U.S. Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative advisory committee for the U.S. Secretary of Interior, and as a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Mr. Brown currently serves on the boards of The Lugar Center, Merton College Charitable Corporation, Association of American Rhodes Scholars, and Columbia University Energy Journalism Initiative. An Iowa native, Mr. Brown is an honors graduate of Harvard University and received graduate MSc and MPhil degrees from Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar.

Tristan Abbey
Tristan Abbey
President, Comarus Analytics LLC
Silvia Alvarado
Silvia Alvarado
President, Energy Intelligence Consulting
Rolando Gonzalez Bunster
Rolando Gonzalez Bunster
Chief Executive Officer & Chairman, InterEnergy

Rolando founded the business in 1988 and has over 40 years of experience in project management and business development.

He began his career at Gulf & Western Industries where he started out as a special assistant to chairman and founder Charles Bluhdorn, eventually becoming its youngest corporate Vice President and Head of International Operations. After Gulf & Western, Rolando went on to establish his own companies to acquire and operate assets in the region.

Rolando, Georgetown University College Class 1968, serves on many of his alma mater’s boards. He was Chair of the International Initiatives Board and is currently a trustee on the Board of Advisers of the Georgetown College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Latin American Board.

He is a Director and Trustee of the William, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. He is also a member of the Energy Committee of the Clinton Global Initiative, focusing on the development of clean and renewable energy. Rolando is proud to be a founding member of the Walkabout Foundation which has distributed 21,000 wheelchairs to date.

Carlos Sarmiento
Carlos Sarmiento
Managing Director - Ecuador, Colombia & Peru Schlumberger

Ecuatoriano, nacido en Ibarra el 17 de julio de 1970. Ingeniero Mecánico – graduado de la Escuela Politécnica Nacional de Quito; MBA – RSM Erasmus University, Rotterdam-Países Bajos; Certificado de Estrategia Disruptiva – con Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School. Casado con Deasy Chavarro; padre de tres hijos: Sofía, Filipe y Arantxa.

Ha ocupado diferentes puestos en la industria petrolera, desde ingeniero de campo hasta gerente general, pasando por otros departamentos, tales como Recursos Humanos, Ventas, Comercial, Capacitación y Operaciones, en todas partes desde Alaska hasta la Patagonia.

Carlos cree que el trabajo en equipo es un elemento clave del liderazgo situacional y avizora un futuro en el que podrá comunicarse con las personas y quienes lo rodean con respecto a los negocios en el área geográfica. Carlos trabaja constantemente por mejorarse a sí mismo, buscando el nuevo Everest, creyendo que es el problema el que necesita ser eliminado, no la consecuencia. Lo más importante, es que quiere centrarse en lo que tiene a la mano para encontrar oportunidades y no centrarse en lo que falta para evitar problemas.

A lo largo de su carrera, ha visto crecer a otras personas y su mayor orgullo es verlas mejorar, no solo como individuos, sino también como empleados. Carlos se esfuerza constantemente por dejar una marca en todo lo que emprende.

Thorsten Dradrach
Thorsten Dradrach
Head of Power Region America, MAN Energy Solutions

Thorsten Dradrach is currently the Head of Sales — Region Americas for Power Plants for MAN Energy Solutions. He is responsible all commercial and sales aspects of the Americas power business. Before working for MAN, Thorsten held positions with Siemens in Germany, Russia, China, and Mexico. He has more than twenty years of experience in operations, project management, and business development at global facilities. Thorsten has a Business Administration degree from the University of Cooperative Education Karlsruhe.

Thorsten Dradrach es el Director Comercial para la Región de las Américas, en la unidad de Negocios de Plantas de Energía. Thorsten es responsable de todos los aspectos comerciales y de desarrollo del negocio eléctrico de MAN Soluciones Energéticas Américas. Antes de unirse a MAN Soluciones Energéticas, Thorsten fue empleado por Siemens en Alemania, Rusia, China y México. Tiene más de veinte años de experiencia en operaciones, gestión de proyectos técnicos y comerciales, y desarrollo de negocios en instalaciones en todo el mundo. Thorsten tiene un título de Administración de Empresas de la Universidad de Educación Cooperativa de Karlsruhe.

Michelle Foss
Michelle Foss
Fellow in Energy, Minerals & Materials Center for Energy Studies Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University

Michelle Michot Foss, Ph.D., is the fellow in energy, minerals and materials at Rice University’s Baker Institute, developing policies and conducting research to help build capacity on non-fuel minerals supply chains. She has nearly 40 years of experience in senior positions in energy and environmental research, consulting and investment banking with early career exposure to mining and mined land reclamation.

Over the past three decades, Michot Foss developed and directed research on energy value chain economics and commercial frameworks to support worldwide investment while serving in several positions at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston. She previously served as the chief energy economist and head of the Bureau of Economic Geology’s Center for Energy Economics at the University of Texas at Austin. She was also a UH Shell Interdisciplinary Scholar with grants on North American gas and power integration and national oil companies. Her career research highlights include reviewing oil, gas and minerals markets for local, national and international government bodies, including the Texas Comptroller, U.S. Energy Information Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, World Bank, Japan’s External Trade Organization and other institutions.

Michot Foss also led a university-based LNG industry consortium for North America. In addition, she implemented energy development assistance and engagement programs sponsored by USAID and the Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources in more than 20 countries and regions, including Central Asia, Ukraine, West Africa, Uganda, India, Bangladesh and Mexico. She built and led the New Era in Oil, Gas & Power Value Creation program for energy sector professionals from more than 40 countries. She also was previously a director of research at Simmons & Company International and at Rice Center.

Michot Foss remains an executive instructor for the Texas Executive Education program at UT’s McCombs School of Business, and she was named an Exxon Mobil Instructor of Excellence.  She has served on the advisory committees for the UTA Jackson School of Geosciences Energy & Earth Resources graduate program and Jackson School Endowment.

She is a member of the advisory boards for Haddington Ventures LLC and Energy Intelligence Group.  She is past president of the International Association for Energy Economics; past president of the U.S. Association for Energy Economics; and was named USAEE Senior Fellow for service. Michot Foss is a partner in Harvest Gas Management LLC, and she created and leads a nonprofit organization, Friends of Briargrove Park Green Space LLC, to coordinate activities with Harris County Flood Control District for post-Harvey rehabilitation.

Michot Foss received her B.S. from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, an M.S. from Colorado School of Mines and a Ph.D. from the University of Houston.

For background on the CES Energy & Minerals program, see

Leonardo Beltran
Leonardo Beltran
Non-Resident Fellow

Leonardo Beltran was Deputy Secretary for Planning and Energy Transition en the Administration of President Peña Nieto (2012-2018). As part of his responsibilities he was appointed non-executive director of CFE and Pemex. He was the Chief Planning Officer and the Chief Technology Officer in the Mexican Energy Sector. He studied a Master´s in Public Administration in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School, a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico, and studied Law in the Faculty of Law of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México.

In 2005, Mr. Beltran joined Secretaria de Energia (SENER) as Director for International Negotiations, participating in high level meetings of the Energy Working Group of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Mechanism (APEC), the International Energy Agency, the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, and in bilateral and multilateral negotiations with the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, India, New Zealand, Spain, and United States of America.

In 2010, Mr. Beltran was appointed Director-General for Information and Energy Studies at SENER, where he took part in the National System of Science and Technology and collaborated in the Technology and Science Research Information System of the National Science and Technology Council, as well as the Special Program on Science and Technology. He also coordinated the interdepartmental working group on Carbon Capture, Use and Storage, and the working group to develop the Sustainable Building Mexican Voluntary Standard.

Leonardo Beltran has been a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. He was part of the International Affairs division of the campaign and transition team of President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Leonardo Beltran has been part of the World Economic Forum´s Council of the Future of Electricity (2014-2016), and the Council of the Future of Energy (2016-2018). Currently he is a member of the Advisory Council of the Partnering to Accelerate Sustainable Energy Innovation Project. Since 2017 is a member of the Administrative Board of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), and in 2018 he joined the Board of Fundacion por Mexico. He is also a consultant to the World Bank.

Andres Chambouleyron
Andres Chambouleyron
Non-Resident Fellow

Andres Chambouleyron is non-resident fellow at the Institute of the Americas. He has worked extensively in the private sector as an economist and consultant for public utilities (electricity, natural gas, water and sanitation, and telecommunications) and other regulated and non-regulated businesses. His work involves economic analysis, pricing and rate setting, valuation, business advisory, regulatory design and analysis mostly in the energy sector.

In the public sector, Dr. Chambouleyron has been economic advisor to Argentina’s Secretary of Communications (2000), where he helped design and implement the country’s new regulatory framework (i.e., interconnection, spectrum management, universal service, and licensing regimes); and advisor to Argentina’s Minister of Economy (2001) on regulatory and energy issues.

Before joining the Institute of the Americas Dr. Chambouleyron was Chairman of the Board of Argentina’s National Electricity Regulator (ENRE, 2018-2020) that regulates rates and quality of service for two electricity distribution companies in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area (six million users), one 500 KV electricity transmission company (fifteen million users), and seven 132 KV regional transmission companies. He has also been Undersecretary of Tariff Policy at Argentina’s Ministry of Energy and Mining (2015-2017), where he designed and implemented a subsidy reduction program to both electricity generation and natural gas production and a social tariff regime for low-income families.

Dr. Chambouleyron has provided written or oral testimony as an expert in more than twenty arbitration cases in sectors ranging from electricity generation, transmission and distribution, natural gas production, transportation and distribution, to water and sanitation services, telecommunications and satellite services. He has provided consulting services to both private companies and regulatory authorities throughout Latin America on regulatory issues such as interconnection rates and tariffs for both fixed and mobile telecommunication operators, X factors, and tariff calculation for price-cap regimes in telecoms; natural gas distribution companies and electricity and natural gas distribution and transportation companies.

Dr. Chambouleyron holds MA (1992) and PhD (1995) degrees in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin and his research on pricing and regulatory issues has been published in several professional journals. He has collaborated in writing two chapters in two books related to the economics of crime and price and quality discrimination practices by unregulated monopolies. He has taught courses in microeconomics, industrial organization, and regulation at both undergraduate and graduate levels in local universities.

Marta Jara Otero
Marta Jara Otero
Non-Resident Fellow

Ex President of ANCAP (Administración Nacional de Combustibles, Alcohol y Portland), Uruguay • After more than 20 years international experience at Royal Dutch Shell, Marta left her position as President of the Shell companies in Mexico to join the energy industry in her native Uruguay • Chemical Engineer graduated from the University of Buenos Aires • MA in Strategic Financial Management at Kingston University, UK, executive education programs at IMD in Lausanne and Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She has accepted an invitation to the upcoming Georgetown Leadership Seminar 2019 at the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service

Francisco Xavier Salazar Diez de Sollano
Francisco Xavier Salazar Diez de Sollano
Non-Resident Fellow

Francisco Xavier Salazar Diez de Sollano is a partner at Gadex, Enix and Trust Mexico. Gadex is a consulting firm specialized in the natural gas market in Mexico, Enix is devoted to energy regulation while Trust Mexico analyses socio political risks for infrastructure projects in the country.

Francisco is also the Coordinator of the International Confederation of Regulators (ICER).

In 2016, he was appointed as the first “Institute of the Americas Regional Energy Integration Non-Resident Fellow” and as executive fellow at the School of Public Policy of the University of Calgary.

During 2015-2017, he was Chair of the Mexican Chapter of the World Energy Council (WEC). In 2017 he became a member of COMEXI, the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations

From 2005 to 2015, he served as Chairman of the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) time during which he was an active promoter of energy reform in Mexico. During 2011-2015 he chaired the Ibero-American Energy Regulators Association (ARIAE).

Prior to being a regulator, he was a congressman for two terms. In Congress he served as a Chairman of the Energy Committee at the Chamber of Deputies.

At the beginning of his professional career, he also was involved in the Chemical Sector.

Mr. Salazar holds an MSc in Public Financial Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a BSc in Chemical Engineering from the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi, and Diploma studies in Law and Economics from other universities.

He has taught courses on Public Finance and Monetary Economics at local universities in San Luis Potosi and written on the use of economic instruments in environmental public policy, as well as on energy policy and regulation. Mr. Salazar has also participated as member of editorial boards from major newspapers and business magazines in Mexico.

Chris Sladen
Chris Sladen
Founder/director, Reconnoitre Ltd.

Chris is an advocate for better energy solutions than the ones we have used so far!

Chris is well known across the energy sector, particularly for laying a framework for co-investment between public and private sector energy companies, whilst explaining the different elements of project, contract and country risk. He has a track record of helping governments and regulators to optimise private and co-investment.

His focus as a non-resident fellow at the Institute includes low carbon and zero carbon policies and energy technologies, particularly geothermal and hydrogen, being implemented across the globe, especially in Latin America, Europe/UK and Australasia.

Chris is author of the widely read ‘Energy Matters’ op-ed that tackles big energy issues using real-life personal experiences, extensive research and verification. Chris contributes to numerous media articles and research pieces, and is frequently quoted on energy and climate issues by both the energy press and mainstream media. His articles reflect his passion for the energy sector and how to achieve better outcomes. He has published extensively over five decades.

Chris also has experience acquired on Boards of companies, advisory boards, and business chambers, including the Board of Directors of the Institute of Americas from 2014 through 2021. He has a doctorate in geoscience from the University of Reading and has researched lake systems and their economic importance for over 40 years. His contributions to energy and education have been recognised by the UK Government with both an MBE and CBE, and also the Aztec Eagle from the Mexican Government – the first foreigner in the energy sector to receive this.

Thiago Barral Ferreira
Thiago Barral Ferreira
CEO, Empresa de Pesquisa Energetica EPE, Brazil

Thiago Barral is currently Chief Executive Officer at the Energy Research Office (EPE), where he joined in Dec 2007 as Energy Research Analyst. He leads a team of experts in charge of the analysis of feasibility studies of various energy sources, like wind, solar, hydro, biomass, natural gas, coal, etc., especially for the federal energy auctions. He is also involved in various technical studies to support the design and implementation of energy policies.

Thiago holds a degree in civil engineering and a MSc degree in water resources and environmental issues, as well as an MBA in public administration.

Alfonso Blanco
Alfonso Blanco
Executive Secretary, OLADE

Since the beginning of 2017, Alfonso Blanco Bonilla has held the position of Executive Secretary of the Latin American Energy Organization, elected by the Meeting of Energy Ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean for the period 2017-2020. He holds a degree in Industrial Mechanical Engineering from the University of the Republic of Uruguay, a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the ORT University and a Diploma in Economics from UdelaR. He has a broad background as an Energy specialist in Latin America with an emphasis on regulatory issues, energy policy, project formulation and evaluation, business development and financing models. Prior to his current position at OLADE, he was a consultant for the World Bank, IDB, CAF and the United Nations and held senior positions within the Uruguayan government, leading various components of Uruguay’s energy transformation that began in 2005. He has participated in the formulation, evaluation, execution, start-up, and management of programs and projects for the public and private sectors and in direct liaison with international organizations.

Christoffer Mylde
Christoffer Mylde
Senior Vice President, Sproule

Chris Mylde is currently Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Sproule in Calgary. As part of the senior leadership team at Sproule, he drives the company’s global growth strategy. Chris has over 20 years experience and speaks frequently at industry events and conferences around the world on key trends in global energy markets. Prior to joining Sproule, Chris spent 10 years in corporate finance and advisory with HSBC in London, Hong Kong and Toronto and Simmons, a boutique advisory firm focused exclusively on the energy sector. He has a B.Sc. in Economics and Economic History from the University of Warwick and an M.Sc. in European Political Economy from the London School of Economics. Chris has been pleased to serve as the Norwegian Honorary Consul for Southern Alberta since January 2019.

Decio Oddone
Decio Oddone
CEO, Enauta

Décio Fabrício Oddone da Costa has a BS degree in Electrical Engineering and has studied Petroleum Engineering. He has attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School and the Advanced Management Programme at Insead. He was awarded an honorary PhD in Education from Universidad de Aquino. He was the CEO of Petrobras Bolivia, the Chairman and CEO of Petrobras Energia, a Vice-president of Braskem, an Officer of Prumo Logística and the General Director of the Brazilian National Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels Agency. He was a member of the Board of the Institute of the Americas and the President of the Bolivian-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and President of the Argentine Chamber of the Oil Industry.

Tania Ortiz Mena
Tania Ortiz Mena
CEO, IEnova

Tania Ortiz Mena has been serving as Chief Executive Officer for IEnova since September 2018 and has served on the Board of Directors since January 2019. Prior to her appointment, she served as Chief Development Officer for IEnova, heading both the Business Development and the Commercial divisions in 2016-2018. Tania began her career at IEnova in 2000, having held positions as General Manager, Project Director, Director for Government and Regulation Affairs, Chief Foreign Affairs Officer, and Chief Foreign Affairs and Business Development Officer. In 1994-1999, Tania worked at PMI, a Pemex subsidiary, as Deputy Commercial Manager for Refined Products, heading the international trade of heavy oil products.

Tania Ortiz Mena holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the Universidad Iberoamericana and a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Boston University.

She currently serves on the Boards of the Asociación Mexicana de Gas Natural and the World Energy Council-Mexico Chapter, and is a member of the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations. In 2015-2016, Tania was Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Asociación Mexicana de Gas Natural. In addition, she served on the Consulting Council of the Energy Regulatory Comission.

Rene Roger Tissot
Rene Roger Tissot
Non-Resident Fellow

Rene Roger Tissot is an economist, MBA and a CPA with deep experience in international energy policy and geopolitics. Roger started his career at the Canadian Energy Research InsƟtute (CERI), where he led the Institute’s international research, particularly in Latin America. He also worked as international government relations for a large Canadian oil company with largely focused on Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina. Later at Washington based consultancy he advised energy corporaƟons on LaƟn America’s energy policy issues. More recently, Roger led program at Kapsarc, a Saudi energy economic think-tank research on policy evaluation and design on in-country value addition and local content in the oil sector. His research focused on East Africa, parƟcularly Uganda and Mozambique. Since completing his assignment in Saudi Arabia, Roger has advised different organizations and recently completed a study for the Sultanate of Oman on the In-Country Value-added and local content policies. Roger is also engaged in work on a PhD in Global Studies at the University of British Columbia (Okanagan).

Raul Gallegos
Raul Gallegos
Director, Control Risks

Raul Gallegos is Director for Control Risks’ Global Risk Analysis in the Andean region, and an expert on Venezuela. He provides clients with a view of future economic, political and security risks and how they may impact businesses in the Andean region.

Raul previously worked as a contributing analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, as a featured Latin America columnist for Bloomberg, and as a financial columnist for Thomson Reuters. For five years, Raul served as the Caracas-based oil correspondent for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal where he also covered OPEC meetings in Vienna. He led a team of journalists covering Wall Street for Institutional Investor in New York. He is the author of Crude Nation: How Oil Riches Ruined Venezuela (Potomac Books 2016).

Raul holds a BA in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley, a master’s degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and a master’s from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. He was a 2010 Knight-Bagehot Fellow at the Columbia Business School.