Latin American Mayors Discuss the Financial Crisis at Hemispheric Conference

Miami, Fla. — The XV Inter-American Conference of Mayors and Local Authorities, sponsored by Miami-Dade County and organized by Florida International University’s Institute for Public Management and Community Service (IPMCS), will take place June 8-11, 2009 at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Miami, Florida. This year's conference theme is “Municipal Leadership and Intergovernmental Relations: Building New Bridges.”

Amb. Thomas Shannon, Jr. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs will deliver the keynote address. Additional confirmed speakers include the Mayor of San Salvador, Norman Quijano; Mayor of Coral Gables, Don Slesnick; Mayor of Bucaramanga, Fernando Vargas; World Bank’s Director of Economic Policy and Poverty Reduction, Marcelo Giugale; Standard & Poors’ Director of Public Finance, Luis Manuel Martinez and the President of the Inter-American Foundation, Amb. Larry Palmer, among other mayors and government officials.

This year’s program will focus heavily on how municipal leaders can better face the financial crisis, their intergovernmental relations and new methods to promote growth and economic development. Additional presentations will be made on the state of decentralization in the hemisphere, local governance, access to justice, promotion of transparency and communication within municipalities. Representatives from several municipal associations will be present to provide their views on the crisis.

The first Inter-American Conference of Mayors held in Washington, D.C. was attended by approximately 100 people, and co-sponsored by the USAID, IDB, the Organization of American States and the World Bank. The second conference, co-sponsored by the same organizations, was held in Miami with almost double the number of participants. Since that time, Miami Dade County, through the office of Commissioner Javier D. Souto, has taken a leadership role in hosting the conference locally.

Senator Souto noted that “the conference not only provides an important boost to the Miami Dade County economy by bringing more than 600 people from throughout Latin America, but it also solidifies our role as the crossroads of the hemisphere.”

The Director of the IPMCS, Dr. Allan Rosenbaum, commented on this year’s agenda, “it is our hope that the conference provides an opportunity for mayors of the hemisphere to learn, and also share ideas, about how to confront the financial crisis in order to increase local public services delivery and improve the quality of life for their citizens.”