Democracy in the Americas - The Monroe Doctrine and the Past and Present of US Policy in Latin America

A conference co-hosted by the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, and the University of Virginia Center for Politics

The United States has asserted a type of primacy in Latin America since 1823 when President James Monroe explicitly delineated the Western Hemisphere as the United States’ sphere of interest in what became known as the Monroe Doctrine. While U.S. interest in Latin America has waxed and waned, one of the key aspects of U.S. engagement in the region has been, and continues to be, democracy. At the same time, economic interests have also been crucial and often were said to dominate U.S. policy.  

Join us for this year’s thought-provoking forum to explore the overarching issues involved in balancing political and economic interests with democracy promotion in this region, featuring a highly specialized group of educators and senior diplomats with deep experience in Latin America. Today, when democracy itself is increasingly under challenge, this program should not be missed.

About the Speakers

Dr. Timothy Walker

Dr. Timothy Walker is a Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. At UMD, he serves as Fulbright Program Advisor (faculty and students) and was previously Director of Tagus Press and Director of the UMass in Lisbon Study Abroad Program. Dr. Walker will lay out the historic foundation of America's commitment to democracy and the Monroe Doctrine, with a particular focus on Brazil.

Ambassador (ret) Lino Gutierrez

Ambassador (ret) Lino Gutierrez served six U.S. Presidents and 11 Secretaries of State in his 29-year Foreign Service career, most recently, as Ambassador to Argentina from 2003-2006. The Ambassador will reflect on the ebb and flow of democracy in the Latin America Region.

Ambassador Donna Hrinak

Ambassador Donna Hrinak served as a career officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, working in Eastern Europe and Latin America. She served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Mexico and the Caribbean, and as the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, and the Dominican Republic. Ambassador Hrinak will reflect on how economic policies, diplomacy, and democracy intertwine in Latin America.

Ambassador Luis E. Arreaga

Ambassador Luis E. Arreaga served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Guatemala from 2017 until 2020, and as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs from 2013 to 2017. From 2010 to 2013, Ambassador Arreaga served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Iceland. Additional assignments included Panama, Canada, Geneva, Spain, and in State Department Political Affairs. He served in the Agency for International Development in Peru, El Salvador, and Honduras. Ambassador Arreaga will look at how policy and diplomacy in the region can manage issues of political and economic instability, including transnational criminal organizations, the ballooning migration crisis and more.

Ambassador Thomas Shannon

Ambassador Thomas Shannon was the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil (2010-2013). He spent nearly 35 years in the Foreign Service and has served six U.S. presidents and 11 secretaries of state, serving in the U.S. Foreign Service at embassies in Guatemala, Brazil, South Africa, and Venezuela. Ambassador Shannon will focus on the present day in Latin America and examine what policies are in the interest of the U.S. and why.


Conference Co-sponsors

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The American Academy of Diplomacy

The American Academy of Diplomacy was founded in 1983 by Ambassadors Ellsworth Bunker, U. Alexis Johnson, and John J. McCloy to explore ways in which persons who had served in positions of major responsibility could cooperate to promote the highest standards in the practice of American diplomacy. Today, the Academy is dedicated to strengthening the resources and tools America brings to managing its diplomatic challenges, and accomplishes this through targeted outreach programs, distinguished awards, and robust, practical, research-based publications. Through these activities, the Academy promotes an understanding of the importance of diplomacy to serving our nation and enhancing America’s standing in the world.

UVA Center for Politics

University of Virginia Center for Politics

The mission of the University of Virginia Center for Politics directed by Professor Larry Sabato is to educate and inspire citizens about practical politics and civic engagement through programs that are unique, compelling, and open-minded. Everything the Center for Politics does must fulfil the goal of instilling citizens with an appreciation for the core values of freedom, justice, equality, civility, and service. The Center’s Global Perspectives on Democracy program (GPD) hosts exchanges, workshops and presentations for international delegates in the U.S. and abroad with thus far over 1,600 participants from high school students to government ministers. GPD organizes the Ambassador Series which hosts ambassadors from nations around the world who engage with UVA students, faculty, staff, and members of the public. 

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The Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello

From its beginning in 1994, the dual purpose of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies has been research and education – to foster Jefferson scholarship and to disseminate its findings. The activities of the Center are diverse and multidisciplinary. It is a residential site for individual Jefferson scholars and teachers, as well as a venue for lectures, seminars, and conferences. The Center seeks a central role in the ongoing study of Thomas Jefferson internationally by supporting a wide range of inquiry; by building a network of scholars, teachers, and resources; by helping to define new areas of investigation; and by promoting the application of new technologies to Jefferson scholarship. An Advisory Board of acclaimed scholars and statesmen helps guide the Center’s activities.