Thought Leaders Gather for Forum on Central American Security & Economic Prosperity

The forum will examine Central America's Northern Triangle security, governance and socio-economic challenges, as well as recent commitments by the Biden Administration and multilateral development banks for expanded aid to the region.

Institute of the Americas

The Institute of the Americas will convene a two half-day, virtual forum June 2-3, 2021 to examine Central America's Northern Triangle region's (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) challenges and opportunities. Admission is free but registration is required.

Central America's Northern Triangle countries are experiencing a historic diaspora to the southern border of the United States and to neighboring countries. The exodus is precipitated by an unprecedented economic contraction. Back-to-back Category 4 hurricanes, a historic pandemic, heightened crime, violence, official corruption and weakening democratic institutions, have produced desperation feeding unprecedented migration.

The United States is a primary destination for Central American migrants. The Northern Triangle diaspora is also regional, affecting neighboring nations. The search for solutions and/or relief is multi-national and increasingly urgent. The Biden Administration's recent four-year, $4 billion commitment of direct foreign assistance and a renewed focus from the IDB, IMF and World Bank hope to provide pandemic relief as well as support to strengthen democratic institutions and the economies of the region. If effective, they could help stem regional diaspora and, importantly for U.S. foreign policy, diminish the increasing attractiveness of investments from China. These commitments face equally historic challenges due to the region's steadily weakening rule of law, rise of autocratic rulers, collapsing economies, insecurity and rapidly rising public needs at a time of steeply declining government revenues.

A consensus has developed that only a regional multi-pronged strategy to strengthen both democracy and the economies of Central American countries provides plausible hope for relief. Meaningful progress could take years, comes with risks and will most likely require a sustained commitment by multilateral partners providing foreign aid, funding from multilateral development banks, private foreign investment as well as support from the philanthropic sector. 

The objective of the Institute's forum is to discuss ideas on how to get from here to there with sessions focused on addressing security, justice & governance issues in Central America; COVID impact & regional economic outlook; the Northern Triangle's regional business climate and the role of direct foreign assistance, philanthropy and impact investing towards catalyzing community development, economic opportunity and social enterprise. 

Keynote speakers include Congresswoman Norma Torres, Co-Chair of the House Central American Caucus representing California's Inland Empire and Congressman Juan Vargas, Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee representing the border region of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Other speakers include: Alan Bersin, former Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; former Vice President of INTERPOL for the Americas Region;  Adriana Beltrán, Director of Citizen Security, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA); Eric L. Olson, Director of Policy & Strategic Initiatives, Seattle International Foundation; Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov , Regional Resident Representative, Office of Central America,  International Monetary Fund (IMF); Fernando Quevedo, Manager, Central America, Panama, Haiti, Mexico & DR, Inter-American Development Bank (IADB); Pedro Luis Rodriguez, Lead Economist-Central America, The World Bank Group(WB); Juan Carlos Zapata, Executive Director, FUNDESA; Juan Pablo Carrasco, President, American Chamber of Commerce, GuatemalaClaudia Kattán de Jordán, President, American Chamber of Commerce, Honduras;  Claudia Romero de Ibañez, President, American Chamber of Commerce, El Salvador; Caroline Boyd Kronley, President, The Tinker Foundation;  Eliza Brennan, Senior Program Officer, Migration & Education, International Community Foundation; and Richard Ambrose, Managing Partner, Pomona Impact, Antiqua Guatemala.

For complete forum agenda and to register:

About the Institute of the Americas:

Established in 1981, the Institute of the Americas (IOA) is an independent, nonpartisan Inter-American institution devoted to encouraging social and economic reform in the Americas, broadening communication and strengthening political and economic relations between Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States and Canada. For more information: 


Richard Kiy, President & CEO,  Institute of the Americas:

Ernesto Grijalva, Practitioner in Residence, Institute of the Americas:


Source: Institute of the Americas