Two Days Full of Thought, Discussion and Debate at the First Annual Global Forum on Latin America and the Caribbean 2018

September 27, 2018

The Global Forum on Latin America and the Caribbean is an international conference in New York where, over the course of two days, international experts including Heads of State, Ministers of Foreign Relations and senior representatives from regional organizations and think-tanks hold conversations and analyze the role of Latin America and the Caribbean on the world stage.

The First Annual Global Forum on Latin America and the Caribbean
2018 came to a close on Thursday, September 27, following two days of presentations, panel discussions and keynote speeches from some of the region’s top experts and leaders.

The international event, held at the Union
League Club of Manhattan, was organized by the Fundación Global Democraciay Desarrollo (Funglode) and its sister institution in the United States, the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD); the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA); the Institute for Latin American Studies – Columbia University and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Among the
highlights of the conference were: multiple addresses from GFDD/Funglode President and former President of the Dominican Republic Dr. Leonel Fernández; a keynote address from the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Alicia Bárcena; a presentation from IDEA International’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Daniel Zovatto and a speech from Organization of American States (OAS) General Secretary Luis

The Forum was kicked off on the evening of Tuesday, September 25. During an opening celebration, Executive Director of GFDD Natasha Despotovic spoke about the Global Forum’s importance for promoting regional dialogue and thanked the supporting institutions that made the event possible.

Dr. Fernández and Yves Leterme, the Secretary General of International IDEA, then addressed dozens of special guests and experts who presented on
Wednesday and Thursday. Fernández also stressed the need to continue working to strengthen dialogue in the region, which was precisely the goal of the Global Forum on Latin America and the Caribbean 2018.

The program began on Wednesday, September 26, a day filled with panel discussions and speeches concerning topics such as the socio-economic perspectives for Latin America and the Caribbean; the international economic scenario; the super-cycle Latin American electoral
calendar for 2018 and the region’s position in the global arena.

On this day, Executive Secretary of ECLAC, Alicia Bárcena delivered her keynote on “Economic Perspectives of Latin America and the Caribbean,” which highlighted the financial situation in the region and pointed to a number of macro-economic concerns. Following the Secretary’s presentation were two panel discussions led by economists from the World Bank and the United
Nations as well as other leading think-tanks and organizations in the field of economics and finance.

Also on Wednesday were two panels and a keynote address concerning democratic processes in the region. First, Mr. Zovatto highlighted concerns over democracy and corruption in Latin America and the Caribbean in a speech entitled “Electoral Super Cycle 2018.” Afterwards, leaders from top think-tanks, institutions of higher learning and regional bodies
reflected on and debated past and future electoral outcomes, and the importance of regional political institutions.

To close the day, Dr. Fernández gave a speech on the political panorama of Latin America and the Caribbean and demonstrated how the region’s current political situation is tied to the 2008 financial crisis. He encouraged the creation of a consultation mechanism to coordinate policies related to the region at the international level.

On the final day of the conference, Thursday, the focus was the value of democratic and regional instruments to ensure the promotion of democracy.

In the morning a panel of experts, including Secretary General of the OAS Luis Almagro, Yves Leterme, Massimo Tommasoli, Thomas Garret, and Christopher Sabatini touched upon issues regarding the current regional integration institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean in a conversation entitled “the Value
of the International and Regional Democratic Instruments to Guarantee Sustainable Democracies.”

In the afternoon General Secretary Almagro gave special remarks in which he encouraged the strengthening of democracy in the region. The General Secretary then shared the stage with a high-level panel featuring former Presidents Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic; Vinicio Cerezo from Guatemala and Carlos Mesa from Bolivia. Also participating was Isabel de
Saint Malo de Alvarado, the Vice President of Panama and Jorge Castañeda, the former Mexican Foreign Minister. Dr. Fernández and the group of leaders discussed challenges to democracy and the region’s human rights crises.

The two-day-long conference was a grand success with the participation of dozens of interested audience members, representatives from the private and public sector, journalists and members of the media as well as academics from New York City
and around the world.

GFDD would like to express gratitude to the panelists and participants who made the Forum possible. A special thanks is also given to the volunteers and collaborators who dedicated their time and assistance to the event.

The organizing committee is sure that this conference contributes to the discussion and exchange of ideas concerning the social, economic and democratic growth of the region. We look forward to continuing these
efforts at the 2019 Global Forum on Latin America and the Caribbean.

For more information on the Global Forum on Latin America and the Caribbean 2018 please visit the Forum’s website at, Facebook page @GlobalForumLAC or Twitter account @GlobalForumLAC.