Four former Latin American Presidents and leading international specialists will participate in the Third Global Forum Latin America and the Caribbean in New York

September 21, 2021

Funglode, GFDD, together with IDEA International, have organized the meeting where they will dialogue and debate on the most important issues currently impacting the region, including the devastating impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the hemisphere´s international agenda. It will be a hybrid encounter, where individuals may participate in person or through virtual platforms.

The Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (Funglode) and its sister institution in the United States, the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD), along with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA International), with the collaboration of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) ) and the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University (ILAS) are pleased to announce the “Third Global Forum Latin America and the Caribbean”, which will be held September 23 and 24, in New York City.

Former Presidents Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic; Ricardo Lagos, from Chile; Ernesto Samper, from Colombia, and Laura Chinchilla, from Costa Rica, will participate in the discussion panels and debates along with renowned specialists and academics. The directors of IDEA International, Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary General, and Daniel Zovatto, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, will accompany during the event along with Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) and Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), among other leading specialists.

For two days the Forum will bring together leading Latin American experts in the political, social, economic areas, as well as other disciplines. The objective of the meeting is to continue the annual dialogue that began in 2018 and was interrupted in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic, the health event that impacted the international community.

There will be six panels where top experts will address the most significant issues that currently impact the region, and its participation in the international agenda.

The President of Funglode and GFDD, and former President of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Leonel Fernández, will officially open the meeting. In statements during the opening event, former President Fernández stated that the Forum will be developed to promote a pluralistic space, where thinkers, researchers, academics, statesmen and women, and important actors from the region and the world, will discuss the issues of greatest concern and impact.

“This Forum is more important today than ever because for the first time the situation of the region in the times of COVID-19 will be analyzed, as well as how this pandemic has impacted the nations of the Western Hemisphere, the challenges they face to continue with their agenda of socio-economic and democratic development, while strengthening their position on the international agenda despite the crisis caused by the pandemic,” said the three-time Dominican President.

The academic directors of the Forum are Natasha Despotovic, Executive Director of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Daniel Zovatto, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of IDEA International.


The first Forum was held in 2018 in New York City, proving to be a resounding success. The experience was repeated in 2019 with even greater impact and relevance at the regional and international levels. However, the circumstances provoked by the pandemic in 2020 forced the organizers to pause. This year the Forum returns with even greater strength and relevance given the challenges encountered by the world and the region.


During the two-day event, six panels will be held with the participation of former Latin American presidents as panelists: the former President of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Leonel Fernández; the former President of Chile, Ricardo Lagos; the former President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla; Kevin Casas-Zamora, former second vice president of Costa Rica and Secretary General of IDEA International, an intergovernmental organization that works to support and strengthen democratic institutions and processes around the world; Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS); Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); Daniel Titelman, Director of the Economic Development Division of ECLAC; Daniel Zovatto, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of IDEA International, and Massimo Tommasoli, Permanent Observer of IDEA International to the United Nations.

Also, María Victoria Murillo, Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) of Columbia University and professor of Political Science and International Relations of that academic institution; Mariangela Parra-Lancourt, Chief of the  Financing for Sustainable Development Office, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA); José Antonio Ocampo, co-chair of Columbia University’s Policy Dialogue Initiative; Gerver Torres, Research Consultant at Gallup Pollster, and Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); Ambassador Wang Hua, Assistant Secretary-General of the China Peace and Development Foundation; Nora Lustig, professor of the Samuel Z. Stone Chair on Latin American Economics, Tulane University in New Orleans, among others.

The topics that will be discussed in the panels are the following: “Global perspective: challenges and opportunities in an uncertain scenario;” “The pandemic and its economic and social repercussions in Latin America;” “Electoral rally: political cycle and democracy in Latin America;” “Solidarity and regional cooperation;” “The current fiscal challenge in Latin America;” and “Looking at the future of the region in a global context.”

The exhibitions and exchanges on the panels will be broadcast simultaneously, live, on various platforms. These include GFDD’s Facebook accounts (@gfdddemocracy); Twitter (@GFDDorg) and YouTube (Global Foundation for Democracy and Development).

Also, Funglode’s Twitter and Facebook accounts (Funglode) and YouTube (Funglode Multimedia) and those of @leonelfernandez on all its platforms.

Panels and Panelists

Thursday 22

Panel 1: Global Perspective: Challenges and Opportunities in an Uncertain Scenario

Mark Feierstein, Raul Feliz, Sergio Bitar and Ambassador Wang Hua

Presentation: Mariangela Parra-Lancourt | Moderator: Marcela Berland

Panel 2: The Pandemic and its Economic and Social Repercussions in Latin America

Gerver Torres, Jessica Byron, José Antonio Ocampo, Manuel Orozco and María-Noel Vaeza

Presentation: Alicia Bárcena | Moderator: Mario Báez

Panel 3: Electoral Rally, Political Cycle and Democracy in Latin America

Denise Dresser, María Herminia Brandao Tavares de Almeida, María Victoria Murillo and Patricio Navia

Presentation: Daniel Zovatto | Moderator: Gustau Alegret

Friday 23

Panel 4: Solidarity and Regional Cooperation

Ernesto Samper, Laura Chinchilla, Luis Almagro, Marcos Pinta Gama and Sergio Abreu

Presentation: Ricardo Lagos | Moderator: Margarita Seminario

Panel 5: The Current Fiscal Challenge in Latin America

Daniel Titelman, Eric Parrado, Gustavo García and Jorge Roldós

Presentation: Leonel Fernández | Moderator: Luis Manuel Piantini

Panel 6: Looking at the Future of the Region in a Global Context

Diane Quarless, Ernesto Samper, Kevin Casas-Zamora, Laura Chinchilla, Leonel Fernández and Ricardo Lagos

Moderator: Daniel Zovatto