Michael Shifter

United States  |  President , Inter-American Dialogue

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

This post is also available in: Spanish Portuguese (Brazil)

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

Michael Shifter and Pedro Vargas Núñez Video

¿Convertirá Biden a EEUU en una Venezuela como lo afirma Trump?

Michael Shifter participó en una conversación con Pedro Vargas Núñez, editor de Portafolio. Entre los temas centrales estuvieron el análisis del primer debate presidencial y los efectos de la crisis sobre los resultados de recientes encuestas electorales. También se discutió acerca de cómo la campaña de Trump trata de instaurar la imagen de Biden como socialista y sobre las acciones que cada candidato podría tomar en el último tramo de las elecciones para así ganar la mayor cantidad de votantes indecisos.

Michael Shifter in conversation with Carlos Figueroa Video

“Biden for resident”: El polémico trino de Trump hacia Biden

Michael Shifter, presidente del Diálogo Interamericano, participó en el programa La Tarde de NTN24 con Carlos Figueroa en el que se habló sobre la elección en los EEUU. Se discutió acerca de la estrategia de las dos campañas y la influencia de la pandemia en la carrera presidencial de este año.


Blog See all

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

George HW Bush and Latin America: An Overlooked Legacy

What the Bush administration showed is how crucial “style” is in diplomacy. Genuine and regular consultations are key to building trust and a sense of community. This is true generally, but especially so in Latin America, where the asymmetry with the United States is so pronounced and has strongly shaped inter-American relations, often with unhappy results.

˙Michael Shifter


Events See all


Press Mentions See all

Con Arce como ministro, la economía creció durante más de una década, con un promedio anual del 4,6% y la pobreza cayó al 37% gracias a los subsidios, logros que podrían "revertirse" debido al "momento crítico" [causado por la crisis económica] que atraviesa Bolivia.