About the Institute of the Americas

IOA building

For over 30 years, the Institute of the Americas has been at the forefront of U.S.-Latin America cooperation, working with the public and private sectors, along with non-profit leaders and academia, to promote economic development and social well-being in the Hemisphere.  The Institute brings together industry leaders, policy makers and academics for frank and open discussions about business opportunities, democracy and public policy in the Western Hemisphere. Through high-level dialogue as well as local discussion, we provide a forum for leaders of the public and private sectors to analyze issues critical to improving the quality of life in countries throughout the Americas.

As an impartial and independent non-profit organization, the Institute hosts roundtables, conferences, professional workshops and special events such as our summer science programs at our complex on the campus of the University of California, San Diego, and in major cities throughout the Western Hemisphere. Our location 30 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border makes it the premier institution for policy discussion on the West Coast of the United States as well as a strategic point of entry to Latin America.

This 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)

Policy Areas

Energy, Trade, Journalism, Science and Innovation, China-Latin America relations, Mexico and the border are among the key topics we focus on.  


The Institute is guided and supported by a distinguished Board of Directors whose members are business and academic leaders from throughout the Americas.
During our search for a new president, the Institute's Board has appointed its Executive Operating Committee to provide oversight and to supervise an Executive Team


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.

Read 42445 times Last modified on Tuesday, 29 March 2016 16:23

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