By Rachel Costa
FIU recently launched The Americas Roundtable: The Pathway Towards Sustainable Development and Investment in 2023. Based out of the university’s Washington, D.C., office, the new series will provide a platform for experts to convene around the subject while taking advantage of related FIU research and engagements.
“For me, participating was worthwhile because that's how we get the word out and that's how we expand the sphere of people that are interested and invested in solving these problems,” said FIU alumnus Eliot Pedrosa ’95, a partner at Jones Day law firm, who served as a panelist at the event. Pedrosa previously served as the U.S. executive director at the Inter-American Development Bank.
The inaugural conversation started remarks from moderator Anthony Pereira, director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center. Pereira emphasized the center’s commitment to discussion around topics such as business, climate change and democracy, all of which factor into questions of development.
In addition to Pedrosa, the panel included Peter Natiello, the deputy assistant administrator of Latin America and Caribbean Affairs at the United States Agency for International Development, and Maria Bozmoski, the deputy director at Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.
The conversation touched on important topics such as the pathway of sustainable collaborations, energy transition, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the role of Inter-American Development Bank on poverty reduction, climate change, inequality, microfinance and financial de-risking in the Caribbean.
To Pedrosa, the panel is critical to bring awareness and address the needs and challenges in Latin America. “If I can evangelize a little bit about it to the people that were in the audience today, then some of them, even one of them, can go and evangelize about it to someone that is less educated or less interested about the challenges we face and the reasons why those challenges are important to us as Americans,” he said.
“The essence of this series [Americas Roudtable] is collaboration.” said Nicole Regalado, FIU in D.C.’s community and programing manager. “It is to connect the private sector, international and governmental institutions, as well as key actors in research and advocacy.”
Vierelina Fernandez, a doctoral student at FIU who was also participating in the Green School’s Perspectives on Latin America and the Caribbean career seminar fly-in, introduced microfinance loans for low-income people into the discussion.
Other special guests included embassy representatives, Interim Dean of the Green School of International and Public Affairs Shlomi Dinar and Kimberly Green, philanthropist and namesake of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center. Sponsors included two other proud FIU alumni: Guillermo Areas ’92 from the BMW Group and Juan “J.C.” Flores YR from AT&T.
“I will call this the first annual meeting on Latin America,” Areas said, “because we would love to keep sponsoring and bringing together leaders and young people because that is what we need. We need to create spaces for dialogue.”
FIU in Washington, D.C. showcases the impact of FIU research; provides students with engaged academic experiences and internships; and convenes national partners for meaningful conversations across a broad range of issues as it brings the magic of Miami to the nation’s capital.
To see photos of the program, click here.