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Former presidents of Chile and Costa Rica, top U.S. Southern Command officials headline FIU’s online Hemispheric Security Conference

Former presidents of Chile and Costa Rica, top U.S. Southern Command officials headline FIU’s online Hemispheric Security Conference

May 15, 2020 at 11:00am

Former Latin American presidents Michelle Bachelet and Luis Guillermo Solis will join U.S. Southern Command officials and other thought leaders from across the hemisphere to discuss the region’s security challenges at Florida International University’s fifth annual Hemispheric Security Conference.

Hosted by FIU’s Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy and the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center, the Hemispheric Security Conference (HSC) will include eight security-focused virtual discussions from May 18-22. The sessions will stream live and be available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

“Hosting this year’s HSC virtually and in multiple languages allows us to be more inclusive in examining pressing security issues facing the Americas,” said Brian Fonseca, director of the Gordon Institute.

For the past four years, the HSC has been a daylong conference at FIU that brought together government representatives, academics, and industry leaders. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it evolved into an online conference, focused on security.

“Security challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean ceased to be exclusively military or police matters decades ago,” said Solis, former President of Costa Rica and incoming director of the Kimberly Green Latin America and Caribbean Center. “Today, security includes very complex issues ranging from criminal activity and widespread corruption to lack of social inclusion, human rights violations and climate change."

The HSC will include discussions on the impact of global pandemics on security, the evolving role of military institutions, the role of women in peace and security, strategies for ending the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and security trends in Central America and the Caribbean. In addition to Solis, featured speakers include Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former Chilean president; U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Commander Admiral Craig S. Faller; and Jean E. Manes, SOUTHCOM civilian deputy to the commander and foreign policy advisor who formerly served as ambassador to El Salvador.

Faller emphasized the importance of partnerships in protecting the hemisphere against current and emerging threats.

“Our partnerships are the best way for SOUTHCOM to counter the vicious circle of threats in the region and enhance our collective readiness to meet shared security challenges,” he said. “We break the vicious circle of threats and outcompete our adversaries by playing to our strengths of shared democratic values and professionalism.”

The conference is free and open to the public. For more information, the conference agenda and to register for the 5th Annual Hemispheric Security Conference, please visit For HSC updates, follow @gordoninstitute and @fiulacc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.