Challenges & Opportunities in Central America’s Northern Triangle Region

Challenges & Opportunities in Central America’s Northern Triangle Region

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.

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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 (www.justiceinmexico.org), 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.

 

Agenda

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Wednesday, June 2
8:30 am – 9:15 am
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
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  • Eric L. 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; Former Assistant Secretary in the Office of Policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • 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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10:50 am – 12:00 pm
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A senior official from the Biden Administration will highlight the Biden Administration’s comprehensive regional strategy for Central America and discuss efforts to directly respond to the region’s critical security challenges during t…

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Thursday, June 3
9:05 am – 10:30 am
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  • Pedro Luis Rodríguez Peralta (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) FUNDESA, Executive Director
  • 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 Anderson (Moderator) Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere (retired), U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration

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
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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

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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