Latin American mayors to discuss financial crisis at hemispheric conference

The 15th 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 Miami Downtown hotel located at 1601 Biscayne Blvd. This year’s conference theme is “Municipal Leadership and Intergovernmental Relations: Building New Bridges.”

Ambassador Thomas Shannon, Jr., assistant secretary of state for Western Hemispheric Affairs, will deliver the keynote address. Additional confirmed speakers include Norman Quijano, mayor of San Salvador; Don Slesnick, mayor of Coral Gables; Fernando Vargas, mayor of Bucaramanga, Colombia; Marcelo Giugale, World Bank director of economic policy and poverty reduction; Luis Manuel Martinez, Standard & Poors’ director of public finance; and Ambassador Larry Palmer, president of the Inter-American Foundation.

“It is our hope that the conference will provide an opportunity for mayors of the hemisphere to learn and share ideas about how to confront the financial crisis in order to improve the delivery of public services and the quality of life for their citizens,” said Allan Rosenbaum, director of the IPMCS.

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 the communication within municipalities. Representatives from several municipal associations will be present to provide their views on the financial crisis.

The first Inter-American Conference of Mayors held in Washington, D.C. in 1994 was attended by approximately 100 people, and co-sponsored by the USAID, the Inter-American Development Bank, 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.

“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,” Souto said.

Located in the Department of Public Administration at FIU, the IPMCS coordinates training programs and technical assistance for various countries around the world. Established in 1994, the Institute has trained thousands of public servants to be more effective, transparent and responsive. For a full agenda or to learn more about the IPMCS involvement with local institution building, visit

For more information, please call Allan Rosenbaum at 305-348-1271.

Media contact:
Sara Friden at 305-348-2232.


About FIU:
Florida International University was founded in 1965 and is Miami’s only public research university. With a student body of more than 38,000, FIU graduates more Hispanics than any other university in the country. Its 17 colleges and schools offer more than 200 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations and law. FIU has been classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a “High Research Activity University.” In 2006 FIU was authorized to establish a medical school, which will welcome its first class in 2009. FIU’s College of Law recently received accreditation in the fastest time allowed by the American Bar Association.

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