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.


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Shifter en NTN24 Video

Shifter: Chile está en un territorio totalmente desconocido

Michael Shifter, presidente del Diálogo Interamericano, y Sergio Bitar, miembro del consejo asesor de Idea Internacional e investigador del Dialogo Interamericano, participaron en una entrevista con Gustau Alegret de NTN24 para analizar las elecciones en Chile. Según Shifter, el país está pasando por una “prueba de fuego” debido a la gran incertidumbre respecto lo que va pasar y la inevitable elección del mal menor. Sin embargo, a pesar de que muchos partidos tradicionales han colapsado, Shifter señaló que los jóvenes están jugando un papel más fuerte y están cada día más involucrados en el liderazgo del país.  

Lula speaking

Uncertainty in Latin America: A Political Outlook

Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, sits down with Latinvex to answer important questions as three major economies in Latin America – Brazil, Chile, and Colombia – approach presidential elections and other countries face crises and protests. 

Michael Shifter

Shifter: “Chile va a salir bien de esta prueba de fuego”

Michael Shifter, presidente del Diálogo Interamericano, compartió su evaluación sobre Chile en una columna de opinión escrita para La Tercera. Según Shifter, la población desesperadamente busca nuevas opciones políticas, alguien que pueda solucionar el déficit fiscal, el aumento en la criminalidad y mayor equidad social. En su columna Shifter reconoció los obstáculos de Chile, pero se mostró esperanzado en que los superarán con éxito.  


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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


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Press Mentions See all

“In Chile, I think you see what is now the established trend in Latin America — the complete crumbling of political parties with any kind of moderate centrist option. It’s being replaced by high levels of political uncertainty and enormous fragmentation.”
La situación de Nicaragua será el tema que domine la Asamblea de la OEA. Dada la extrema gravedad de la situación y el hecho de que la Asamblea General de la OEA viene justo después de la farsa de elecciones, se espera que el foco de atención y debate será sobre Nicaragua.