IOA Annual Report 2022


Joint Letter from the Chairman and CEO


his past year the Institute of the Americas (IOA) celebrated its 40th anniversary, honoring the vision and generosity of Ambassador Theodore E. Gildred, our founder. Ambassador Gildred’s inspiration for the Institute came amidst the economic challenges and human suffering brought about by the Latin America debt crisis of the 1980s, a period categorized as the lost decade. Here, Ambassador Gildred believed that expanded private sector engagement along with strengthened diplomatic relations between the United States and countries of Latin America and the Caribbean could improve the economic and social well-being of their people over time.

Over the past forty years, some progress had been made as the region, in general, became more outward-looking with many countries forging regional trade agreements while also working to maintain a stable economic environment. Yet, with the exception of Mexico -that diversified its economy due, in large part, to NAFTA- most countries across the region remain highly dependent on commodities. Also, for a variety of reasons, Latin America has not kept pace with the economic growth and educational attainment levels of East Asia. Today, Latin America faces its worst economic contraction in modern history, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions and changing geo-politics. Also, the state of democracy remains fragile in many countries across the region with the erosion of basic freedoms and attacks against foreign investment, open markets and freedom of the press. Such challenges are exasperated by concerns over public safety and security, corruption, political polarization and growing income inequalities. At a time when there is a critical need to promote greater regional cooperation to confront emerging challenges of climate change and regional economic competitiveness, divisions are growing. As we collectively look toward the future across the Western Hemisphere, the question of what has worked and what has not, is critical with a view from learning from the past to more effectively respond to the emerging needs of the region. We must also come to terms with the eroding U.S. influence in Latin America as well as the growing economic and security influences of both China and Russia in our hemisphere . Amidst this backdrop, over the past year the Institute of the Americas has been proactive in respond ing to changing geo-politics and regional economic challenges by convening leaders from business, government, civil society and academia to critically examine emerging issues and needs across the hemisphere focused on energy transition and security, the environment and climate change, economic competitiveness and regional security concerns.


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