A Message from Our President

Photo of Michael Shifter

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Reaffirming our mission at a time of crisis in the United States

The unconscionable murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police over a week ago was yet another wake-up call about the systemic problems, such as deep-seated racial injustice, that persist in the United States. The tragic incident sparked nation-wide protests, an expression of civic participation and outrage, about legitimate, long-standing grievances.  

It is extremely distressing that, in some cases, mostly peaceful protests have been met with repression, the excessive use of force, and the militarization of public security. Such responses are antithetical to the rule of law and should alarm all citizens of democratic conviction, in the United States and worldwide.    

The unfolding situation recalls the concerns that have animated the Inter-American Dialogue since its founding nearly four decades ago. Against the backdrop of military regimes, political violence, and structural exclusion of segments of society on the basis of race, class, and gender, the Dialogue set out to promote a more just and peaceful hemisphere. We have worked tirelessly to address the erosion of fundamental democratic practices and the plight of marginalized peoples in many countries in the region.   

The Dialogue remains firmly committed to fostering democratic governance, social equity, and prosperity, not only in Latin America and the Caribbean but across the entire hemisphere, including here at home. This spirit guides the diverse efforts of the Dialogue’s staff and members. The disturbing events in the United States over the past few days are a stark reminder that there is so much work still to be done.