President & CEO

Jamal Khokhar

Jamal Khokhar

Jamal Khokhar has been President and CEO of the Institute of the Americas since September, 2015. Prior, Ambassador Khokhar was a senior career diplomat with Canadian Foreign Service in the Department of Global Affairs — Canada’s federal ministry responsible for Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and International Development Assistance. From 2010-2015, he was Canada’s Ambassador to Brazil. His other key appointments have included being Director General for Latin America and the Caribbean responsible for the full range of Canada’s bilateral engagement in the region. In this capacity, he was instrumental in developing Canada’s Americas Strategy. Later, he was the Regional Director General for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Canadian International Development Agency, where he redesigned and oversaw Canada’s bilateral development assistance programming in the region. Notable amongst his international assignments, he has served at Canada’s Embassy to the United States, in Washington D.C., first as Deputy Head of the Economic and Trade Policy Section; and, then as Minister-Counsellor and Head of the Congressional and Legal Affairs Section. From 2006-2008, he took leave from government to join the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, D.C. where he was Chief of Staff to the President of the Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, and later led the creation of the Bank’s Department of Outreach and Partnerships – a department dedicated to establishing innovative social impact partnerships with the private sector, NGOs, and private foundations. Mr. Khokhar has studied at McGill University in Montreal, the University of Ottawa, and the American University in Washington DC. He was a Fellow of Harvard University’s Weatherhead Institute for International Affairs in 2002-03. In 2013 he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for leadership and excellence in strategy development and implementation of Canada’s engagement in the Americas.


Jeremy Martin, Vice President Energy & Sustainability Jeremy M. Martin is Vice President, Energy & Sustainability at the Institute of the Americas, an inter-American public policy think-tank located at the University of California San Diego. The Institute of the Americas Energy Program works to foster a deeper understanding of the most critical energy issues facing the Western Hemisphere. Jeremy spends his time delving into the geopolitics of energy and closely following energy industry trends and policy issues across the Americas, and is a frequent commentator and writer on Latin American and energy issues. Jeremy has testified before the US Congress on energy issues in Latin America, teaches a graduate seminar in Latin American Energy Politics at the University of San Diego (USD), and serves as Curator of the energy section of the US-Mexico Network, an online forum hosted by the University of Southern California (USC). Thanks to his upbringing, he is a diehard Red Sox fan, Civil War buff, and news junkie. Jeremy graduated with honors in History from The Citadel in Charleston, SC and a Masters in International Affairs/International Development from the American University in Washington, DC. He has yet to achieve his lifelong dream of being a Stand-Up Comic.

Jeremy Martin

Vice President Energy & Sustainability

Sherry White, Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives and Board Secretary Since 1991, Ms. White has been an integral member of the staff of the Institute of the Americas having served in a number of capacities; including Director of Development, Campaign Manager, Board Secretary, Project Manager, Innovation Program Director, and now as Senior Advisor to the President for Strategic Initiatives and continuing as Board Secretary to the Institute’s international Board of Directors. In her 25 years with the Institute, she has organized and implemented numerous events including small, private gatherings and board meetings throughout the hemisphere, seminars, workshops, and large-scale events such as Campaign events, Institute anniversary events, and over a dozen visits to the Institute by current and former Latin American heads of state. She organized a series of events bringing Latin American entrepreneurs, innovation intermediaries, and government officials to learn about San Diego’s innovation ecosystem; design thinking; tech transfer; and, other key elements for a successful innovation ecosystem. Currently, she is a member of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I &E) Program team working with the I &E Program Vice President to launch new activities and expand existing ones.  In addition, she works closely with the President and CEO to identify and develop partnerships for the Institute, as well as raising funding support for key initiatives.

Sherry White

Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives & Board Secretary

Richard Schaper, MBA, CMA, Chief Financial Officer. Coming Soon!

Richard Schaper, MBA, CMA

Chief Financial Officer

Rita Oliveira, Energy Program Associate & Office Manager. Rita Oliveira is a Program Associate for the Energy and Sustainability Program. She is also the Office and HR Manager as well as Assistant to the President. Rita holds a Bachelor Degree in Economics from Universidade Católica Portuguesa in Portugal and MBA from National University, in San Diego. Prior to joining the Institute, she worked as a collector at Chase Home Finance in San Diego and as an Assistant Manager for F. Abecassis in Portugal.

Rita Oliveira

Energy Program Associate & Office Manager

Cecilia Aguillon, Director, Energy Transition Initiative. Cecilia Aguillon is the Director of the Energy Transition Initiative at the Institute of the Americas, an impartial and independent non-profit organization promoting dialogue and collaboration across the Western Hemisphere to foster sound public policies and to advance sustainable inclusive economic growth and prosperity. She enables public-private dialogues to develop sustainable renewable energy markets. Cecilia worked at Kyocera Solar, Inc. in California on Business Development and Government Relations for 18 years. She worked with policy makers on designing solar energy programs and renewable portfolio standards for implementation across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. She developed these initiatives in cooperation with several trade associations throughout the United States. She served on the board of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CalSEIA) and participated in the design and implementation of the California Solar Initiative. She is currently on the board of the Climate Action Campaign working to implement sustainable energy programs for San Diego, California.

Cecilia Aguillon

Director, Energy Transition Initiative

Daniel Alano, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Senior Advisor. Daniel Alano is a Senior Advisor at the Institute of the Americas, currently engaged in expanding the Institute`s activities to Brazil. Prior to his engagement at the Institute, Daniel was an international policy specialist at the Brazilian National Confederation of Industry (CNI). In that capacity, he represented Brazilian private sector`s interests in bilateral and multilateral trade and climate change negotiations including the EU-Mercosur, the WTO and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations. Daniel has extensive background experience in public policy, advocacy and public affairs having lead initiatives ranging across a variety of competitiveness issues within Brazil`s industrial sector. This includes international trade, sustainability, climate change and innovation. Daniel has a BA in International Relations (University of Brasilia), an MBA in International Business and Trade (FGV, Fundação Getulio Vargas) and an MSc in International Political Economy (London School of Economics and Political Science). In 2015, he was awarded a Chevening Scholarship by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the British Government. Daniel is a Co-Founder and Board Member of the Brazil Forum UK, an annual conference which brings together high-level speakers to the UK to debate the economic, political, entrepreneurial, and social contexts in Brazil. A lover of all things Brazil, Daniel works to bridge the economic, social and technological gaps between his country and other advanced economies, whilst preserving all of the great things that make Brazil, Brazil.

Daniel Alano

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Senior Advisor

Maria Luisa Reyes, STEM Programs Administrator. Ms. Luisa Reyes is the Institute of the Americas’ STEM Programs Administrator, after four years of being an influential contributor in the Institute’s Science & Innovation Summer Camp and Co-founding the Professional Workshop for STEM Instructors. As a Gates Millennium Scholar, Ms. Reyes completed her bachelor’s degree specializing in neuroscience & physiology at the prestigious University of California, San Diego. During her time there, she co-authored the renowned book Mexican Migration and the U.S. Economic Crisis: A Transitional Perspective, focusing the study on parallel relationships between traditional and scientific medicine, in collaboration with the Mexican Migration Field Research Program. Subsequently, she became a licensed Emergency Medical Technician where she provided her services in the state’s highest unemployment community for three years. In the educational sector, she served as Civil Engineering Department Lead for over two years at the national Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement (MESA) program and is a fellow for the renowned Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. She has taken the IOA STEM Programs to an international audience utilizing her experience of 10 years in the U.S. – Mexico region, where she is designing to implement an innovative workshop for both students and instructors in Chile and in Mexico. Luisa continues her mission by serving as a spokesperson, panelist, and instructor in national and international academic and health & science forums.

Maria Luisa Reyes

STEM Programs Manager

Seth Goldman Bio Coming Soon!

Seth Goldman

Senior Advisor

Yvette Beltran, STEM Programs Assistant Yvette Beltran is the STEM Programs Assistant for the Institute of the Americas. She is originally from La Quinta, a small city in Southern California. Yvette studied Spanish Literature and minored in Latin American Studies at the University of San Diego. She has dedicated her professional career to working with organizations that are geared toward youth development and education for underserved communities. She has worked with organizations such as The New Children’s Museum, Women leaders youth program, and San Diego Regional Center. Since June of 2017, Yvette has been a part of the STEM & Innovation Programs team implementing STEM education and advocacy throughout various programs and conferences. Yvette is passionate about providing spaces for education and personal growth. Her experience with the Institute of Americas continues to grow with the success of the STEM & Innovation Programs within the San Diego region. Her bilingual background has provided many opportunities to work with scholars from all over the Western Hemisphere. Specifically, in providing access to STEM education for local and international high school students as well as STEM instructors. Some of the programs that she has successfully coordinated with the Insititute are IOA STEM Science & Innovation Camp, IOA Professional Workshop for STEM Instructors, and the STEAM Leadership Series “Cross-Border Opportunities in Engineering & Business.” Yvette currently resides in the San Diego area, where she continues to work with the Institute of the Americas in an effort to expand successful programs internationally.

Yvette Beltran

STEM Programs Assistant

Carlos Fernández, Webmaster, Graphic Designer, and Video-Audio Supervisor. Prior to his current position at the Institute, Carlos did freelance work as Web Developer, Graphic Designer and Multimedia consultant. He also worked for JVC Electronics and for the marketing department at The LandAmerica Financial Group the third largest title insurance group in the US, where he worked as Junior Web Developer and Graphic Artist. A native of Spain, Carlos moved to San Diego, California in 1999. In 2001 he graduated as Web Designer at the North Media Center. From 2001-2004 he attended San Diego City College at the Graphic and Multimedia Design Department.

Carlos Fernández

Web Administrator, Graphics Designer, and Audio and Video Supervisor

Diana Rodríguez, Energy Program Associate & Facilities Manager. Diana Rodríguez has been Energy & Sustainability Program Associate for over nine years. Diana also is the Institute’s Facilities Manager. Prior to joining the Institute, Diana worked assisting the DCM at the Embassy of Colombia in Washington, D.C., for seven years. She holds a BA on International Trade from Los Libertadores University in Colombia.

Diana Rodríguez

Energy Program Associate & Facilities Manager

Jacqueline Sanchez, Energy Policy Associate. Bio coming soon.

Jacqueline Sanchez

Energy Policy Associate


Nelson Narciso Filho holds graduate degrees in Industrial Administration and Economic Engineering from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and an undergraduate degree in Mechanic Engineering from Souza Marques University. He has held multiple senior executive positions at Exploration and Production (E&P) companies and service providers in the oil and gas industry, such as HRT Africa, Halliburton, ABB, Vetco Gray and Hughes WKM. He has accumulated over 35 years of solid experience and extensive knowledge of management and business development in E&P, as well as start-up operations in Brazil, Angola and Namibia. In addition, he was Director of the Brazilian regulatory agency for oil, natural gas, and biofuels (ANP) from 2006 to 2010, when developed a broad vision of the sector’s regulation, having participated in numerous international forums where he was responsible for introducing the Brazilian market dynamics and promoting investment in the country. During his term, he led the creation of the Local Content Coordinating Body, led the Gas Flaring Reduction program, Improvement of Production Fiscal Metering program, Bidding Rounds and Integrated System for products movement.

Nelson Narciso Filho

Non-Resident Fellow

Francisco Xavier Salazar Diez de Sollano is the inaugural Regional Energy Integration Non-Resident Fellow at the Institute of the Americas, an inter-American public policy think tank located at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The Institute of the Americas Energy Program works to foster a deeper understanding of the most critical energy issues facing the Western Hemisphere. Salazar’s term as a non-resident fellow will include analysis of key public policy issues for the energy sector in the Americas; he will conduct research and provide insights and analysis on energy and regulatory issues with an emphasis on Mexico, Central America and the countries of the Pacific Alliance. Since 2015, Salazar has served as Chair of the Mexican Chapter of the World Energy Council. From 2005 to 2015 he served as Chairman of the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) time during which he was an active promoter of the energy reform in Mexico. In 2006 he was elected as Vice-President of the Ibero-American Energy Regulators Association (ARIAE), and from 2011 to 2015 he was the Chair of the same association. Prior to being a regulator, he served as a Chairman of the Energy Committee at the Chamber of Deputies. He also was involved in the Chemical Sector for several years. 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 Universities in Mexico and the United Kingdom. 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.

Francisco Xavier Salazar Diez de Sollano

Regional Energy Integration Non-Resident Fellow
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