Opening Remarks: 10th Linowitz Forum Gala

On behalf of the Dialogue’s Board of Directors, thank you Secretary General Insulza for those warm words and your gracious hospitality. We are deeply grateful for that.

The Inter-American Dialogue is delighted to celebrate our 10th Sol M, Linowitz Forum here in the elegant halls of the Organization of American States. The OAS has long been a partner of the Dialogue’s, with the CAF – Development Bank of Latin America and many other institutions represented in this room today. We value our long-standing institutional collaboration on many shared efforts to champion the values we both hold dear—democracy, prosperity, and social progress—and we can think of no more appropriate setting to celebrate this wonderful occasion.

And to all of our friends with us this evening, we thank you for sharing in this celebration, and for your strong support. We regret that some of our most effective leaders and closest friends, who worked so hard to make this evening such a success, could not be here this evening. As many of you know, our Board co-chairs Carla Hills and Ernesto Zedillo both have suffered unexpected personal losses, and thus were not able to be here tonight. They know our thoughts are with them and their families.

The Dialogue has worked since its founding over 30 years ago – and more recently through the Sol Linowitz Forum that launched in 1996 – to provide an open, independent forum in which to probe the challenges and opportunities facing the Americas… and to offer sound, concrete, and practical policy choices for action.

Today, more than ever, we recognize the benefits of close, constructive partnership within our hemisphere… making the most of our mutual commitment to the rule of law, economic opportunity, and social equity.

We have a terrific program tonight, and are particularly pleased to honor two stellar citizens of the hemisphere. Salvador Paiz, a corporate leader deeply committed to fostering non-governmental efforts to advance quality education in the region. And the Honorable Tim Kaine, US Senator and former governor of Virginia, who has done so much to ensure that Latin America and the Caribbean remains on the US foreign policy agenda and who has been an intelligent voice on immigration reform in this country.

We are here tonight because of the efforts of so many. I cannot thank each and every one of you enough for answering the call when we came to you this spring looking to make tonight work – and now we are here, together, at this splendid gathering. Your presence tonight, your strong and unyielding support – these mean the world. The Dialogue does not take this support lightly. We would not be here without you. There are too many to thank within my remarks, but during dinner please look up at the screens and you will see a video with the names of our Gala Leadership Committee who worked so hard on our behalf and the logos and names of sponsors who came forward with great generosity. These are all also listed in the programs at your place.

Now I turn you back to our terrific emcee, Ray Suarez of Al Jazeera America.

Enjoy the evening.