Michael Shifter

United States  |  President

+1-202-463-2574 ˙ 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

Video

Protests Rage Across Latin America

Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, spoke with Ian Masters of Background Briefing to discuss recent unrest in South America. The two discussed inequality and social immobility as underlying causes of unrest in the region, the case of Venezuela, and the political class’ inability to react.


Blog See all

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

No existen indicios en este momento de que el ejército planee asumir el poder [en Bolivia]. Sin embargo, no creo que podamos quedar contentos con lo que parece ser una participación del ejército en la salida de Morales.