On September 26 and 27, 2019, the 2nd Annual Global Forum on Latin America and the Caribbean took place at the Union League Club in New York City, concomitantly with the United Nations General Assembly. Over the span of two days, panelists discussed relevant issues regarding the region’s socioeconomic trends, current democratic challenges, and super election cycle, among other topics. Leonel Fernández and Laura Chinchilla participated in this year’s forum.
The event was organized by the Global Fund for Democracy & Development (GFDD), International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), the World Leadership Alliance: Club de Madrid, the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) at Columbia University, and el Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA). The forum brought together more than 40 international experts, including heads of state, former ministers, high representatives from regional and international organizations, and members of several think-tanks. The participants debated the future of the Americas and discussed the current role of the region on the world stage as well as its implications and challenges.
Dr. Leonel Fernández, former president of the Dominican Republic and president of GFDD, gave opening remarks. “Latin America and the Caribbean have been and will continue to be the scene of great social and political struggles; crises and economic opportunities; innovations and unfinished tasks of the past,” said Fernández. “The pace of the 21st century has accelerated these challenges,” he emphasized, “and global interconnection and interdependence have created more complexity while the rapidity of change has raised expectations.”
Laura Chinchilla, former president of Costa Rica and vice president of the Club de Madrid, participated in the final panel of the forum titled “Democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean: Current Challenges.” Chinchilla highlighted the three pillars to strengthen democracy: effective leadership, stronger institutions, and a more inclusive citizenry. She also expressed a “cautious optimism” about the future of the region, noting that “discontent towards democracy [in Latin America] has grown, and it requires us to reflect.”
Dr. Leonel Fernández is a member of the Inter-American Dialogue. President Laura Chinchilla is the current co-chair of the Inter-American Dialogue’s Board of Directors.