Michael Shifter

United States  |  President, Inter-American Dialogue

+1-202-204-5556 ˙ michael@thedialogue.org ˙

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Michael Shifter is president of the Inter-American Dialogue. He was previously vice president for policy and director of the Dialogue’s democratic governance program. Since 1994, Shifter has played a key role in shaping the Dialogue’s agenda, commissioning policy-relevant articles and reports.

Shifter writes and talks widely on US-Latin American relations and hemispheric affairs. His recent articles have appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Financial Times, Current History, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Journal of Democracy, Harvard International Review and in newspapers and journals in Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Chile, Panama, Argentina and Brazil. He is often interviewed by US, Latin American, European and Chinese media, and appears frequently on CNN and BBC. Shifter has lectured about hemispheric policy at leading universities in Latin America and Europe and has testified regularly before the US Congress about US policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean.

Prior to joining the Dialogue, Shifter directed the Latin American and Caribbean program at the National Endowment for Democracy and, before that, the Ford Foundation’s governance and human rights program in the Andean region and Southern Cone, where he was based, first, in Lima, Peru and then in Santiago, Chile. In the 1980s, he was representative in Brazil with the Inter-American Foundation, and also worked at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin American Program. 

Since 1993, Shifter has been an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he teaches Latin American politics. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Latin American Studies Association and is a contributing editor to Current History. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Washington Office on Latin America and on the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch/Americas Division, and the Social Science Foundation of the Graduate School of International Relations at the University of Denver.

Shifter graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Oberlin College and holds a MA in sociology from Harvard University, where he taught Latin American development and politics for four years.


Analysis See all

Pedro Castillo and his cabinet of ministers

Shifter: “Many in Peru remain concerned by [Castillo’s] agenda and his party’s platform”

Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, examined the political conditions in Peru during an interview with Al Jazeera as the Andean nation swears in President Pedro Castillo on July 28. The interview highlighted the distrust and division among Peruvians during this contested election as well as the importance of pragmatism and cooperation for the Castillo administration as they push for their reformist agenda. 

Shifter en las oficinas del Diálogo Interamericano Video

Shifter: “Castillo es un fenómeno único (…) Es totalmente un outsider”

En una entrevista con Voz de América, Michael Shifter, presidente del Diálogo Interamericano, comentó sobre la presidencia del maestro rural Pedro Castillo, quien asumirá la presidencia de Perú el 28 de julio. Durante la entrevista se habló sobre la polarización de la sociedad peruana y la incertidumbre sobre lo que traerá el mandato de Castillo a este país andino.


Blog See all

Joe Biden

Biden’s First 100 Days and Latin America Policy

Given the huge demands on Washington  – domestic and international  – and today’s ravaged, fragmented, and leaderless region, this is probably not the right time for bold, ambitious initiatives. But the Biden administration should move quickly to renew partnerships with select countries, emphasizing recovery from Covid-19 and restoring economic and political stability.

˙Michael Shifter

Joe Biden y Donald Trump speaking to supporters

Reflections on US Elections: This is Who We Are

The country is perhaps more profoundly and bitterly polarized than ever, with a high level of mutual distrust. Trumpism proved not to be a fleeting phenomenon, but a movement that is likely to persist and be part of the US political landscape for some time.

˙Michael Shifter

Brent Scowcroft

Scowcroft and Colombia

Brent Scowcroft was truly one of the giants of the US foreign policy establishment. We admire his wisdom, prowess as a strategist, and humility as a person. Like few others, he understood the importance of building and sustaining US alliances and respectful relations. At the Dialogue, we are inspired by Scowcroft’s rich legacy.

˙Michael Shifter


Events See all


Press Mentions See all

The pandemic has exposed and accentuated the region’s Achilles’ heel — extremely high levels of income equality. Latin America’s youth crisis — it is not hyperbolic to refer to a possibly ‘lost generation’ — is a powder keg for the region.
That Bolsonaro is proposing to once again open the vault and resume larger [cash transfer program] payments suggests that he is betting the economy will be the crucial determinant of his electoral fortunes next year.