What priorities for the Concordia Americas Initiative came out of the 2023 Americas Summit?
A key priority that came out of the 2023 Americas Summit was the need for enhanced participation from individuals and organizations in the U.S. and Canada. As we look ahead to next year, we’ll be taking steps to ensure the optimal environment is in place to facilitate public-private partnerships not just within Latin America & the Caribbean, but across countries and regions. We’ll create the optimal platform to connect business executives with government leaders across Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United States—both those currently working in the region and those considering involvement.
The location of Concordia’s initiatives is central to the core messaging and reach of a summit. Can you speak to why Concordia decided to continue hosting the Concordia Americas Initiative in Miami, Florida?
One of the key factors that led us to choose Miami is its strategic geographical position. Being situated at the crossroads of the Americas, Miami provides convenient accessibility to Latin America and the Caribbean. This accessibility fosters greater inclusivity, allowing us to convene diverse voices and perspectives from throughout the region. In addition, our decision to continue hosting the Concordia Americas Initiative in Miami is reinforced by our partnership with the University of Miami and, more recently, with eMerge Americas. Through partnering with eMerge Americas, we amplify the opportunities for cross-pollination of ideas and expertise, ultimately driving greater impact, and invite our participants to extend their stay in Miami and attend the eMerge Americas Summit on April 18-19 at the Miami Beach Convention Center to further investigate the foremost issues facing the Americas.
Concordia’s approach centers around building connections between public and private sector actors. Latin America provides a wealth of opportunity for American businesses, but government regulation needs to promote and support this. Talk to the role of Concordia in bridging these gaps and what we hope to see come out of next year’s Americas Summit, in relation to U.S.-Latin American collaboration.
This was a common topic throughout this year’s Americas Summit programming. Key points spanned from our conversation with Hon. Daniella Levine Cava, Mayor of Miami-Dade County, on what the hemisphere can learn from Miami being the gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, to our focused discussion on the dangers of misinformation with Concordia’s Leadership Council Members, among others. Crucially, we must highlight cities like Miami as open for business. The U.S. and Canada should aim to promote their willingness for more substantial trading relationships with Latin America, and in this respect they should look to Miami as a model worthy of emulation. As such, a sustained engagement of North America in future Americas programming will remain a crucial next step.
How can we ensure that programming, whilst remaining engaging, also maintains a practical nature throughout, with actionable next steps a priority?
Ultimately this comes down to a couple of points. First of all, the way we conduct our programming is crucial. Finding the balance between sessions that are simply informative and educational, versus those which focus on simply drilling down actionable policy and action points, is the true test. First, we’re taking steps to ensure that our programming incorporates business case studies from the region, so we can more clearly articulate realistic involvement in the region at the ground level. Second, we’re aiming for diversity in representation, not only on the basis of ethnicity or gender, but in terms of organization type. To give an example, better representation of multilateral organizations will provide invaluable input from those who often actually implement policy on the ground.
What steps will Concordia take next year to solidify the Americas Summit’s position as the go-to socioeconomic, geopolitical, and public-private partnership convening forum for the region?
What makes Concordia uniquely positioned is our commitment to nonpartisanship and public-private sector cooperation. By distinguishing ourselves from policy institutes and think tanks, we provide a welcoming environment where we see ourselves as conveners, above all else. Our model and philosophy will naturally benefit any effort to cement our position as the principal convener for the region. Building from there, the priority becomes building the right connection points around the world and ensuring that our attendees see these summits not just as an opportunity to convene within a given region, but also as an opportunity to share their ideas with the broader hemisphere and aid any efforts to build connections around the world.
Strengthening democracy and trust in our institutions remains a key focus area within the Americas Initiative. Within this broad scope, which areas and themes will be focused on next year?
It has become increasingly clear that mis- and disinformation and declining institutional trust is a central concern throughout the hemisphere and around the world. The changing media landscape has become a core explanatory factor; the changing way in which we all consume information is a challenge that I believe we will be grappling with for a long time. In this light, Concordia has chosen to incorporate mis- and disinformation as an overarching theme for this year and beyond.
It has been truly encouraging to see the many innovations in the private sector to address this problem from a variety of angles. For example, some in the private sector tech space, such as Seekr Technologies, have proposed addressing this problem through the avenue of AI, where we can allow consumers to make their own decisions on what content to consume. Alternatively, Meta has made some great strides in addressing the concerns over the concentrated power in tech CEOs regarding censorship. For example, at this year’s Americas Summit, they noted efforts to construct independent oversight boards utilizing outside experts in order to localize decision making.
Ultimately, we remain reliant on those in power to act responsibly in terms of the narratives they espouse and their treatment of crucial democratic norms and processes. I do believe, however, that if we can contribute to a slightly healthier information ecosystem, this can go a long way to tempering some of the worrying trends of partnership that we continue to see in the Western Hemisphere and around the world. We have a long way to go, but I feel encouraged by some of the great work that we have done so far.
As Concordia’s longest-standing regional initiative, how has the success of this initiative informed Concordia’s strategy around the world?
The Americas Initiative has taught us the true value of having a regional focus in our efforts. The world is a big and complicated place, and building partnerships requires a focused dialogue in which the stakeholders and metrics for success can be easily identified and understood. Fostering collaboration within an individual region offers the best opportunity to network in the right way and engage with those who understand many of these challenges through invaluable first-hand experience on the ground.
The 2024 Concordia Americas Summit takes place April 22-23 at the University of Miami. Registration will open in late 2023. For organizational engagement opportunities, contact email@example.com.