For the past four years, the Hemispheric Security Conference (HSC) was a daylong event at FIU, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s conference evolved into an online event with eight security-focused virtual discussions that took place May 18-22. Attendees tuned in live through Zoom and Facebook and watched in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
The conference brought together former Latin American presidents Michelle Bachelet and Luis Guillermo Solis, U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) officials and other thought leaders from across the hemisphere to discuss the region’s security challenges.
HSC’s first panel was with Commander Admiral Craig S. Faller on Militaries in the Americas. Faller discussed the importance of collaborative partnerships.
“Our strategy focuses first and foremost on us… so we focus on building our team. We focus on being ready, being trusted, being collaborative. And then we focus on the output of that strategy, what we want to achieve, is the secure, free and prosperous hemisphere,” Faller said.
Jean E. Manes, U.S. SOUTHCOM civilian deputy to the commander and foreign policy advisor who formerly served as ambassador to El Salvador, also shared her views on the role of women in peace and security.
“When we talk about women, peace and security I’m always a little puzzled because there is no
no lasting peace without women. There is no lasting security without women,” Manes said.
Other panels discussed strategies for ending the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, security trends in Central America and the Caribbean and the impact of global pandemics on security. With COVID-19 being a current global issue, various panels agreed the pandemic is a matter of high importance when examining threats to security, including UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Bachelet.
“I hope the pandemic serves as an opportunity for us to realize that major global challenges don’t respect borders…that we reevaluate what is fundamental and how we can ensure that humanity can live in better conditions in the future,” Bachelet said.
The conference was hosted by FIU’s Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy and the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center, both part of FIU’s Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs. Click here to view this year's panels.
For HSC updates, follow @gordoninstitute and @fiulacc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.