Inaugurated in 1997 by The Miami Herald, the Americas Conference® is the State of Florida’s premier business, political and economic forum on Latin America and the Caribbean. Last year, the Institute for Public Management and Community Service (IPMCS) of Florida International University joined The Miami Herald to organize the 2008 the Americas Conference® which was attended by over 550 international executives and government leaders. Participants heard presentations by the Presidents of Dominican Republic and Haiti, Vice Presidents of Argentina and Panama, several cabinet ministers as well as prominent leaders of business and commerce from throughout North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
In 2009, the conference will again take place at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida on September 29 and 30. The forum’s theme encompasses the challenges and opportunities in the region: “After the Crisis: Emerging Challenges and Political Stability.” Topics to be addressed include upcoming elections in the region, the impact of the current political and fiscal stress, and the promotion of economic innovation and social prosperity. There will be opportunity for ample discussion of how the region will face these issues, as these topics and more will be examined during this critical two-day conference.
The objective of the conference is to promote the exchange of debate and reflection on the importance of good government and strong economies as a way to build democracy within our Hemisphere. The conference seeks to create a regional dialogue with the participation of business leaders, national and regional officials, legislators (national, provincial/state), political parties and representation of civil society and international organizations in the same hotel where the first Summit of the Americas took place. Leaders will again come together to deliberate on the best policies and practices in order to strengthen democracy, economic wellbeing and governance in the Hemisphere.
The following topics will be discussed at the event:
Economic Impact of the Financial Crisis
What are the implications of the financial crisis for businesses, industry and governments throughout the region? What is the appropriate response from both the public and private sectors? Is some kind of economic stimulus needed, and if so, what type?
Is there a need for national job or employment programs? Is this the time for the promotion of community development programs such as enterprise zones, community contribution tax credits or urban and rural job tax credit programs to promote growth in the region? How will the economic crisis affect trade, financial flows, and commodity markets in the region?
Foreign Policy Questions
Is the Hemisphere’s democratic future in jeopardy? How real is the threat of coup de etats? What does the future look like for governments in the region—populist, conservative or social democratic? Which way are we going? Will the Obama administration make a difference? Will Venezuela join Mecrosur? What kinds of sub-regional cooperation will be created within the Hemisphere? And will the ALBA replace the ALCA? Will the Banco del Sur replace the Washington based development banks?
Business as Usual?
Are there new opportunities beyond the financial crisis? Is positive corporate governance, ethics, anti-corruption standards the new future?
Reforming Foreign Aid?
Are better project design and implementation methods needed? How to access donor and private sector funding? Is it time for subnational financing? How can civil society, participate in the development of cities and improve urban infrastructure?
Governance Sector Reforms
Institutional reform like the role of legislators, political parties, civil society, judicial status and possible constitutional improvements will be examined. Also administrative arrangements of local governments authority and the politics of decentralization will be discussed.