President Barack Obama took office in early 2009 with an ambitious foreign policy agenda for the Americas. In April of that year, his keynote remarks at the fifth Summit of the Americas emphasized the United States’ new course of seeking equal partnership and collaboration in the region.
On June 29, the Latin America Initiative at Brookings and the Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF) brought together experts from the region to discuss the significance of this renewed hemispheric partnership and featured a keynote address from Arturo Valenzuela, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. Panelists included: Craig Kelly, principal deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State; Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue; Luis Enrique Berrizbeitia, executive vice-president of the Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF); and Kevin Casas-Zamora, senior fellow at Brookings. They took a closer look at the idea of partnership in the region, reviewed the progress that has been made, explored opportunities that exist for the future and discussed the realities of developing collaborative policies in the region across a wide range of topics, including energy and climate change. The discussion also revisited the policy recommendations made by Brookings‘s Partnership for the Americas Commission.