About us

About the Institute of the Americas

IOA building

For over 30 years, the Institute of the Americas haspromoted dialogue and collaboration across the Western Hemisphere to foster sound public policies and to advance sustainable inclusive economic growth and prosperity. We are proud to be amongst the premier institutions on the West Coast of North America serving as a strategic center for vital exchanges, engagements and collaborations.

An impartial and independent non-profit organization, the Institute of the Americas benefits by having its complex in La Jolla, California, on the campus of the University of California, San Diego. The Institute is at the nexus of where the Americas come together, only 25 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border and on the Pacific Rim.

Both at our extensive facilities and in major cities throughout the Americas, the Institute convenes industry and government leaders, as well as representatives from academia and civil society for frank and open discussions in order to arrive at pragmatic solutions to pressing regional and hemispheric issues. Toward these ends, the Institute also organizes professional workshops for young scholars, instructors, journalists, innovators, professionals, and others to study and focus on these issues.

Our leadership role has drawn 14 Latin American current or former presidents to the Institute, including:

  • 2013 Felipe Calderón ( Mexico)
  • 2010 Leonel Fernández ( Dominican Republic)
  • 2008 Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico)
  • 2007 Vicente Fox (Mexico)
  • 2006 Alejandro Toledo (Peru)
  • 2005 Alvaro Uribe Velez (Colombia)
  • 2004 Ricardo Lagos Escobar (Chile)
  • 2001 Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico)


The Institute is led by Jamal Khokhar, President and CEO. He is guided and supported by a distinguished Board of Directors whose members are business and academic leaders from throughout the Americas.


The Institute is a 501(c)(3) corporation registered in the State of California.  The Institute receives no funding from UCSD nor is it supported by the federal government. However, we work closely with universities and governments throughout the Western Hemisphere to encourage dialogue on public policies for economic development, trade and investment, good governance and regional integration.


Much of our financial support comes from our Board of Directors, program Steering Groups and corporate members throughout the Americas. The Institute also receives funding from membership dues, conference and roundtable registrations, corporate sponsorships and donations.  


In 1983, the Institute was founded by Theodore E. Gildred in collaboration with Richard Atkinson, who was then chancellor of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and who later served as president of the University of California. Gildred, a San Diego land developer and former U.S. Ambassador to Argentina, established the framework and the vision for the Institute that is still in place today.


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