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Opportunities for US-Latin American Cooperation, 2016-2020

Beyond the Platform: What Should the Next
President’s Foreign Policy Priorities be for
US-Latin American Relations?

Monday, September 19, 2016
8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Annenberg Presidential Conference Center
1002 George Bush Drive West
College Station, Texas 77843

Conference Program
Presenter Biographies
Contact Information


A wide-ranging, non-partisan dialogue among highly experienced policy practitioners in US-Latin American relations. Speakers come from business, government, academia, and the media, and represent expertise on economic policy and trade, energy, security, Latin American political developments, and regional relations.



Please register for the conference by Wednesday, September 14.

Conference Program

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM: Opening Remarks
Mark Welsh, Dean, Bush School of Government and Public Service

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM: Session 1
Patrice Franko, Grossman Professor of Economics, Colby College
Michael Shifter, President, Inter-American Dialogue

Moderator: Emily Sellars, Assistant Professor, International Affairs, Bush School

10:30 AM - 10:50 AM: Break

10:50 AM - 12:30 PM: Session 2
Roger Noriega, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and Former US Ambassador to the Organization of American States
Pia Orrenius, Vice President and Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Rolando Santos, Senior VP and General Manager, CNN-Chile

Moderator: Lori Taylor, Associate Professor and Director of the Robert A. Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM: Lunch

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM: Session 3
Ana Maria Salazar, Director, Grupo Salazar Slack; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Drug Enforcement Policy; and Former Advisor to the Special Envoy to the Americas
Jose Fernandez, Partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business

Moderator: Mary Hilderbrand, Senior Lecturer, Public Service and Administration, Bush School

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM: Break

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM: Roundtable
All speakers

Moderator: Raymond Robertson, Helen and Roy Ryu Professor of Economics and Government, Bush School

5:30 PM - 6:00 PM: Closing Remarks


Jose Fernandez

Jose W. Fernandez is a partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and co-chair of Gibson Dunn’s Latin America Practice Group. His practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions and finance in emerging markets in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

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Nominated by Obama and confirmed in 2009, Mr. Fernandez served as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs for nearly four years. In that position, he focused on development as a business opportunity for US companies and a strategic imperative for the United States, mostly in the areas of infrastructure, trade and investment, entrepreneurship, and agriculture. He spearheaded the State Department’s “Economic Statecraft” initiative to promote foreign investment in the United States and support US companies overseas; co-led the interagency team that prepared the Model Bilateral Investment Treaty used by the United States today; worked with American businesses to promote responsible business conduct in Myanmar, Bangladesh, and the diamond industry through the Kimberly Process; and led the US government’s economic dialogues with Turkey, the UAE, Brazil, and several other nations. He was the State Department’s principal representative on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and was also a key figure in devising and implementing US sanctions policy around the world.

Prior to joining the State Department, Mr. Fernandez practiced law for over twenty-five years, concentrating in emerging markets. His practice focused on Latin America, Europe, and Africa. He advised clients on international mergers and acquisitions, financing, trade, and other matters as the economies of these regions evolved. He had substantial experience in the telecommunications, energy, water, banking, and beverage industries.

Mr. Fernandez was named one of the “World’s Leading Lawyers” by Chambers Global for his M&A and corporate work, an “Expert” in International Financial Law Review’s “Guide to the World’s Leading Project Finance Lawyers,” and one of the “World’s Leading Privatization Lawyers” by Euromoney Publications. He was recognized as a leading corporate finance attorney in the Latin America market in the Chambers Global 2008 legal guide and a leading Latin America attorney in the Chambers U.S. 2008 legal guide. He was featured by Hispanic Business Magazine in its “100 Influentials List” for 2006 and 2007.

Prior to his appointment at the State Department, Mr. Fernandez served on the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College, the Board of Directors of Acción International, and the Council of the Americas. He has been chair both of the American Bar Association’s Inter-American Law Committee and the Committee on Inter-American Affairs of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York as well as co-chair of the Cross Border M&A and Joint Venture Committee of the New York State Bar Association. He also headed the Latin American and Caribbean division of the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Mr. Fernandez’s articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald, The Huffington Post, Americas Quarterly, and many other legal and policy publications. He has been featured in various TV, radio, and print media in the US and abroad.

Mr. Fernandez graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College, earning a bachelor’s degree in history, and also received an honorary degree from the college. He earned a juris doctor from Columbia University School of Law, where he received the Charles Evans Hughes Prize and a Parker School Certificate of International Law with Honors.


Patrice Franko

Patrice Franko is Grossman Professor of Economics at Colby College. A specialist in development economics in Latin America, she teaches classes in the economics of globalization, contemporary economic development in Latin America, and microeconomics principles.

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Dr. Franko was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to Brazil (2012/2013) and was an AAAS fellow in 1990 and a Pew Faculty fellow in 1992. She has been active as a consultant to Georgia Tech's Executive Masters in International Logistics, the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, and the National Academy of Sciences. The fourth edition of Dr. Franko’s textbook, The Puzzle of Latin American Economic Development, was released in 2015. She is currently working on a project on defense industrialization in Brazil and a new book for Rowman & Littlefield, The Economics of Globalization (with Stephen Stamos).


Roger F. Noriega

Ambassador Roger F. Noriega has more than two decades of public policy experience focusing on US interests in the Western Hemisphere. Twice appointed to government posts by President George W. Bush (and confirmed by the US Senate) and with ten-year career on Capitol Hill, Ambassador Noriega’s breadth of experience and contacts offer strategic vision and practical insight on the Americas. He is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) and managing director of the consultant firm Vision Americas LLC.

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As Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs (July 2003 to October 2005), Mr. Noriega managed a 3,000-person team in Washington and at fifty diplomatic posts to design and implement political and economic strategies in Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. He also helped design and execute an annual plan for the effective use of $1.7 billion in US economic assistance in two dozen countries.

As US Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) (August 2001 to July 2003), Mr. Noriega coordinated complex and sensitive multilateral diplomacy in a thirty-four-member international organization to bolster trade, fight illicit drugs, and defend democracy.

On Capitol Hill, Mr. Noriega counseled congressional leaders on all aspects of US interests in the Americas; drafted historic legislation; and oversaw US aid programs, the Peace Corps, and international narcotics affairs. From 1997 to 2001, he was a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff of Chairman Jesse A. Helms (R-NC); and from 1994 to 1997, he served on the House International Relations Committee staff of Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman (R-NY).

He has a bachelor of arts degree from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. Ambassador Noriega has been decorated by the governments of Nicaragua and Peru and has received numerous awards for public service from organizations committed to the promotion of democracy in the Americas. Mr. Noriega is a frequent commentator in US and international publications and broadcasts. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Canadian American Border Trade Partnership and United Against Nuclear Iran.


Pia Orrenius

Pia M. Orrenius is Vice President and Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and Adjunct Professor at the Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University. Dr. Orrenius is also a research fellow at the Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University and at the IZA Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn as well as an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

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Pia M. Orrenius is Vice President and Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and Adjunct Professor at the Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University. Dr. Orrenius is also a research fellow at the Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University and at the IZA Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn as well as an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

At the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, Dr. Orrenius manages the regional economy group, focusing on economic growth and demographic change. Her academic research examines the labor market impacts of immigration, unauthorized immigration, and US immigration policy; and her work has been published in several academic journals, including Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Development Economics, and Labour Economics, among others. She is coauthor of the book Beside the Golden Door: U.S. Immigration Reform in a New Era of Globalization (2010, AEI Press).

Dr. Orrenius was Senior Economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2004 to 2005, where she advised the Bush administration on labor, health, and immigration issues. She holds a PhD in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and bachelor's degrees in economics and Spanish from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Ana Maria Salazar Slack

Ana Maria Salazar Slack is a recognized international law and national security expert and popular speaker at business conventions, universities, military academies, and government forums. Ms. Salazar received her JD from Harvard Law School in 1989 and BA from the University of California at Berkeley in 1986.

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For more than ten years, she has anchored two nationwide radio news programs in Mexico (in English) as well as news programs and political talk shows on television (in Spanish). She is the author of five books on security and leadership, and she writes a weekly column on politics and security that is published nationwide. In addition to her work in the media, Ms. Salazar heads Grupo Salazar, an international consulting firm that specializes in negotiation and mediation training, security consulting, and assisting foreign companies seeking to invest in Mexico.

Between June 1998 and January 2001, Ms. Salazar served at the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Drug Enforcement Policy and Support. In 2000, as a result of her efforts at the Pentagon, she was recognized by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the 100 most influential Hispanic Americans in the United States. Prior to joining the Pentagon, Ms. Salazar served at the White House as Policy Advisor for President Clinton’s Special Envoy for the Americas in 1998. From March 1995 to June 1997, she served in the US State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

Ms. Salazar has worked extensively and also lived in Latin America. In Colombia, she served as the Judicial Attaché at the United States Embassy in Bogotá, coordinating evidence and information requests between the United States and the relevant Colombian agencies. She supervised a multi-million-dollar project designed to improve the administration of justice in Colombia and Guatemala.

She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Medal for Outstanding Public Service and the Joint Meritorious Award from the US Secretary of Defense, the Medalla Militar-Ministerio de Defensa from the Colombian President, and the Orden Naval Almirante Padilla from the Colombian Navy. Forbes Mexico recognized her as one of the fifty most powerful Mexican women in November 2012. In 2010, she received the Tercer Premio Latinoamericano por la Vida y la Seguridad de las Mujeres y de las Niñas en América Latina y el Caribe for her dedication to stopping the trafficking of women and children. In 2011, the City of Puebla awarded her the Distinguished Guest Award. Oklahoma State University awarded her the prestigious Henry G. Bennett Fellow in 2006.


Rolando Santos

Rolando Santos is Senior Vice President at Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) Latin America, Inc., and Senior Vice President and General Manager of CNN Chile, which is a joint venture between CNN Worldwide and VTR. CNN Chile, the first 24/7 news network in the country, has been specifically designed for the Chilean audience.

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Before joining CNN Chile, Mr. Santos played a fundamental role in the development and support of related business around the world for the CNN News Group. As Senior Vice President for Affiliate Relations for CNN International, he worked closely with the global development team of Turner Broadcasting. His role was to identify new platforms and editorial alliances and then follow through with new business launches or mergers of existing businesses. During this time, he created editorial ties with sister networks, including IBN in India and CNN in Turkey.

Relying on his eighteen years of experience at CNN and nearly forty years in broadcasting, Mr. Santos has had lead roles as an efficiency expert as well as a brand and change management expert at CNN and Turner Broadcasting in Europe, Latin America, and the United Sates.

Prior to his employment with CNN International, Mr. Santos was Executive Vice President and General Manager of HLN. He was the first Hispanic in charge of a twenty-four-hour news cable network. Additionally, Mr. Santos was the Founder and President of CNN en Español and of CNN en Español Radio. He also has played important roles in the development and launch of new international channels. These channels include CNN Plus and CNN Turkey. Under Mr. Santos’ direction, a complete team of bilingual personnel was developed in Atlanta, GA. This created a worldwide network of Spanish-speaking correspondents in offices in Miami, New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Jerusalem, London, Mexico City, and Buenos Aires.

Mr. Santos has been with CNN since 1993. His first duties were as Executive Producer. He later became the News Director for CNN en Español, a division that produced international news in Spanish. In 1996, he was appointed Vice President of CNN en Español and Special Projects. The following year, he was promoted to Executive Vice President and later to President.

Mr. Santos’ entire professional career has revolved around the development of news and content across platforms. He has served as Executive Producer of Telemundo and as News Director of KVEA channel 52 TV in Los Angeles, which belongs to and is operated by Telemundo. In these positions, he was directly responsible for the coverage of international news for Telemundo, United States. During his time with Telemundo, the station won an Emmy in 1992 for best news channel. This was the first time a news channel in the Spanish language, in competition with English language stations, had won an Emmy in Los Angeles.

Additional work credits for Mr. Santos include news director, news anchorman, reporter, news editor, and producer. These positions were held with companies such as KTTV FOX, Los Angeles; KPIX-TV, San Francisco; KSL TV, Salt Lake City; and KMOL-TV, San Antonio; among others.

Mr. Santos was born in Eagle Pass, Texas. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in journalism. He has been twice named one of the most influential Hispanics in the United States by Hispanic Magazine.

An internationally recognized motivational speaker, Mr. Santos has given speeches around the world on how to successfully do business across borders and cultures. While attending Texas A&M, Mr. Santos was a member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, serving as a Battalion staff officer for the White Band. He serves on the President’s International Advisory Board and is a member of the Texas A&M Journalism Hall of Fame.

Mr. Santos is the current President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. This is the oldest and largest magician's organization in the world. He is also a member of The Magic Circle in London, where he was recently awarded the title Member of the Inner Magic Circle in a ceremony in London.


Michael Shifter

Michael Shifter was named President of the Inter-American Dialogue in April 2010. He was previously Vice President for Policy. Since 1994, Mr. Shifter has played a major role in shaping the Dialogue’s agenda, commissioning policy-relevant articles and reports as well as implementing the organization’s program strategy in relation to the Andean countries. Since 1993, he has also been Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he teaches Latin American Politics.

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Mr. 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, Current History, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Journal of Democracy, Harvard International Review, and other publications. His writings on democratic governance, multilateralism, drug policy, security issues, and politics in the Andean countries have also been published in many Latin American newspapers and magazines in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, Panama, and Jamaica. He is co-editor, along with Jorge Domínguez, of Constructing Democratic Governance in Latin America, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. He has lectured about hemispheric policy at leading universities in Latin America and Europe.

Mr. Shifter has consulted for the Ford Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank, Agency for International Development, Oxfam America, and the Swedish International Development Agency. In 2000, he directed an independent task force on US policy towards Colombia, organized by the Dialogue and the Council on Foreign Relations and co-chaired by Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) and former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. Mr. Shifter is regularly interviewed by a variety of both US and Latin American media, and often appears on CNN and the BBC. Since 1996, he has testified regularly before Congress about US policy towards Latin America. Prior to joining the Dialogue, Mr. 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 mid-1980s, he was a representative in Brazil with the Inter-American Foundation, where he also worked in the Office of Research and Evaluation.

Mr. Shifter 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, 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. Mr. Shifter graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Oberlin College and holds an MA in sociology from Harvard University, where he taught Latin American development and politics for four years.


Contact Information

Raymond Robertson

Mary Hilderbrand


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