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(Pictured L-R) President Fernando de la Rúa, President Rodrigo Borja, President Gustavo Noboa, President Alejandro Toledo, President Carlos Mesa, President Nicolás Ardito Barletta, President Vinicio Cerezo, and President Hipólito Mejía at the Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado.










The Work of the Global Center for Development & Democracy PG.104


Less Poverty, Less Inequality, and Greater Social Inclusion

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innovative technologies


e n v i ro n m e n t a l s o l u t i o n s


contributions to communities


c a re e r s

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table of contents

July - September 2010

In this Issue 4 Letter From The Mayor 6 Letter From D onna Good 8 Inspirations 10 Letter From Ted White 12 Letter From Verónica Figoli 14 Letter From Jayne Buck 16 Building Bridges 132 Thank You

» The Biennial of the Americas here in Denver was the first event of its kind; the first civic-led effort to focus on the interaction and integration of an entire hemisphere. « Quote worthy pg.56

CGalleries ultural Partners and Museums of the Biennial


enver’s Biennial of the Americas brought civic leaders, heads of state, government officials and ambassadors from around the Western Hemisphere to celebrate cultural diversity along with the cohesion and collaboration of our partners within the Americas. However, it was evident that to stay in line with the theme of classical biennials, Denver would need to include not just strength in politics but its support for the creative arts and the communities across the Americas.

Notable citywide cultural and artistic centers were signed on to house exhibitions that would feature art, ideas and innovations of the diverse cultures of the Americas. With 39 participating venues, guests and locals had the pleasure of visiting a variety of exhibits in locations across Denver and its surrounding metropolitan area. Featured below is a sample of representative galleries and museums that participated in the Biennial. Continued on pg.26

" There is more

knowledge in a Sunday New York Times than a man in the 1700s had in

a lifetime. Imbalance of knowledge

Energy and Climate Change Policies in the Americas

Not a Quick Fix with One Solution pg. 96


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can cause the same type of

danger as an imbalance

of wealth." - Rodrigo Borja pg.112

The americas roundtables

The nature of things

20 A History of the McNichols Building

The Biennial of the Americas Main Stage

26 Cultural Partners

Galleries and Museums of the Biennial

32 An Interview with Paola Santoscoy

Denver Biennial of the Americas Curator Talks "The Nature of Things"

56 Transformation in the Americas 60 Closing the Education Gap 68 The Philanthropic Evolution

Collaborative Solutions for Pressing Needs In Our Most Vulnerable Communities

82 Transnational Health

Calls for Collaboration 86 No One Solution to Poverty in the Hemisphere 92 International Trade in the Western Hemisphere Creating Sustainable Economies

36 Hip-Hopping into the World of Dance

An Interview with Cleo Parker Robinson

40 Biennial Artists Question The

Nature of Things

76 The Americas Roundtable on Women Drivers of the New Economy

96 Energy and Climate Change Policies in the Americas Not a Quick Fix with One Solution

42 You Are Here

Heads of State

104 Alejandro Toledo Leadership Beyond Politics

106 Fernando de la Rúa

112 Rodrigo Borja

Distributing Opportunities to the People of Ecuador

114 Gustavo Noboa

A Quiet Passion

Peace, Progress, and Justice

108 Carlos Mesa

116 Vinicio Cerezo

Profound Transformations in Bolivia

110 Hipólito Mejía

Tourism, Agriculture, and a Really Good Barber

A Cord of Many Strands

118 Dr. Nicolás Ardito Barletta

The Logistics of Building a Collaborative Country

An E xhibition of Leading Contemporary C anadian Artists

44 Exploring Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation 46 The Nature of Things An Artist E xposé

54 Green Schooling Provides Lush Education

Speaker Series Addresses a Growing Movement

City Exhibitions and Special Events PG. 120 07.10 - 09.10


Looking Forward to 2012


enver immersed itself in international art, culture, cuisine and ideas in July with the inaugural Biennial of the Americas. It was a memorable celebration across 41 of Denver's finest cultural institutions. Vibrant dance performances, energetic concerts, provocative art exhibits and engaging speakers celebrated the richness of our hemisphere. More than 10,000 saw the Biennial's headline art exhibition, The Nature of Things, at our newly-restored landmark McNichols Building in the heart of the city. Renowned Mexican artist Jeronimo Hagerman's colorful installation decorated the exterior of the McNichols Building. Inside, Pedro Reyes’ exhibit Palas Por Pistolas, made 20 shovels from melted guns voluntarily turned in by the citizens of Culiancan, a Mexican city with the country's highest rate of handgun deaths. These shovels were subsequently used to plant a peace tree at the Denver Botanic Gardens and trees at Carson Elementary School. Beyond art, the Biennial's speaker’s series brought together local and international philosophers, scientists, public servants and others. At The Americas Roundtables and Summits at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, world leaders, dignitaries and industry experts identified common challenges, sought joint opportunities, and promoted a shared vision for a more cohesive hemisphere. There were plenty of opportunities for just plain fun, too. Children enjoyed a creative space where they got to explore art, music and new media. And, more than a dozen concerts featured hot bands from across the hemisphere. This summer was just the beginning. Denver looks forward to convening the Biennial again in 2012. This convocation of the Americas' leading and emerging minds in the arts, sciences, culture, politics and technology aims to help develop a unified vision for the future of the Western Hemisphere. We hope you'll join us. -Hick Mayor of Denver


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Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper


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Promoting Positive

Change in the Hemisphere


ver the years, my career has afforded me the opportunity to lead seven international events. From Pope John Paul II’s visit for the 1993 World Youth Day to The Summit of the Eight, I have been given the chance to change the fabric of national and international communities. In November of 2009, I was once again in a position to promote positive change – this time for the Western Hemisphere. As the President of Operations and Finance for the Biennial of the Americas, I led the effort to organize the month-long celebration of the Western Hemisphere. The scope, reach and potential for this event was unlike any other I have ever managed. For the first time ever, there was a citizen-driven effort to celebrate the culture of the Americas and to find ways to collaborate on some of the most pressing issues of our time. The excitement of being the leader of another historic event for Denver was unprecedented. So was the timeline I was given to pull it all together. With only seven months to plan and execute the Biennial, the pressure was on. Working with a dynamic team of amazing individuals, for most of

whom this was their first large-scale international event, we were able to pull off nothing short of a miracle. The resounding enthusiasm with which the Western Hemisphere, and particularly our fair city of Denver, embraced the event is proof that there is a need to build a stronger global community, one based on collaboration and connection. With over 300 events across the state of Colorado, the Biennial raised awareness of the diversity of cultures and innovative ways to address some of the issues shared by the 35 counties in this hemisphere. Taken together, this event was one of the largest international events to take place in the U.S. this year. I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to establish the foundation for this monumental occasion with far-reaching impacts that will continue to build each time it is produced. Two years from now, I suspect this event will be billed as the international event that no one will want to miss. Yours Truly, Donna Mullen Good President, Operations and Finance



EDITOR Jan Mazotti

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Josh Agenbroad Bernice J. Alvarez King Bridget Boyd Jeanne Brown Lucy Bryan Jayne Buck Martha Butwin Ian Carter Susannah Connell Bill Decker Kim DeCoste Kristin De La Oliva

Matt Edgar Barry Featherman Verónica Figoli Zach Frederick Leanne Goebel Heather Grady Tessa Harvey Phil Lawson Adam Lerner Jane McGillem Allison Mendes Brittany Noland Beth Parish Stan Pence Cori Plotkin James T. Polsfut Allison Salisbury Rebecca Saltman Helen Skiba Jeanine Spellman Jenny Spencer Jennifer Watson

Geoff Bergman Keenan Brugh Michael Connors Cary Good Emily Haggstrom Maria Luna Camron Moore Annette Perez Eli Regalado Andrew Thompson



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PHOTOGRAPHY & design Andrew Thompson Javier Manzano Kit Williams

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COPY EDITOR Maria Luna Laura Rothenfeld

ICOSA welcomes editorial submissions from its readers. Whenever possible, submissions should be sent in electronic format. All unsolicited materials should be submitted to the publisher at the address below. Items not sent electronically will not be returned. The publisher reserves the right to decline use of materials at their discretion and assumes no liability for unsolicited materials.

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Commitment to Success Moye White, a lead sponsor of the Biennial of the Americas, congratulates the City of Denver for extending a hearty welcome to visitors from across the Western Hemisphere! The Biennial’s exchange of ideas, art, and culture establishes Denver as a truly international city. Moye White’s sponsorship was more than financial. Our employees dedicated themselves to helping with legal issues, serving on boards and committees, and organizing events. We congratulate our name partner, Ted White, for his work as Chair of the Biennial’s board of directors. We also thank our colleagues, John Benitez, Kaylee Estes, Scott Greiner, Mimi Larsen, Theresa Lough, Nicole Lucius, Marilyn McWilliams, Ed Naylor, Matt Ochs, Suellen Riedel, Trish Rogers, Lindsey Rothrock, Lorri Salyards, Dominick Sekich, Lorni Sharrow, Arvonne Toney-Ladson, and Jacqui Vestal, for their commitment to this effort.

We look forward to the 2012 Biennial of the Americas!


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Adam Lerner


he Biennial of the Americas was conceived in 2004 when I was asked by the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs to come up with ideas for a city-wide art event that would cultivate civic pride and bring national attention to Denver. I presented a few alternatives but the possibility of an event that would gather artists and thinkers from all over the Americas stood far above the rest. It was ambitious, probably the most ambitious of all the ideas I presented. The name Biennial of the Americas implies a grand scale and wide reach. That explains why it took until 2006 for the idea to gain momentum, thanks to the leadership of the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs led by Erin Trapp, who set the vision forward. I imagined the Denver biennial as a return to the origin of the genre, which began in the late nineteenth century, as a cousin of world’s fairs and international expos. These events were founded as forums for nations to showcase their contributions to civilization. Toward this end, the arts would often stand alongside science,


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technology and industry. Now, when so many of the world’s problems are interconnected – when global economies and cultures are interconnected – it makes more sense than ever to develop international platforms for shared insights and creativity. When I presented the concept of a biennial, I tried to emphasize the civic nature of the event. There are art biennials all over the country: the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Site Santa Fe in New Mexico, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., to name just a few. These are all hosted by individual institutions or museums that put on grand displays every two years. There are also art fairs in cities across the country that provide a platform for galleries to showcase art for collectors and aficionados. These are dynamic events, but they are not civic-led. I knew Denver was capable of generating civic support above and beyond the specific interests of institutions and commercial endeavors. On the summer evening in 2010 when Denver’s Biennial of the Americas kicked off, I was proud to see thousands of people crowded

around the Museum of Contemporary Art. We had a day-long opening for our exhibition Energy Effects, a partner exhibition of the Biennial, and there was a steady flow of visitors throughout the day. But something magical happened that evening as the massive crowd assembled outdoors. A rock-n-roll marching band beat their drums and danced. A group of artists that make fire-breathing robots showed up to stage a spectacle. And fifteen hundred people appeared on cruiser bicycles, many of them in costume. It felt like right there was the organic, creative force of the city. In the middle of the crowd was a 1969 champagne-colored Chevy Malibu, a classic muscle car turned on its nose,

» When so many of the world’s problems are interconnected – when global economies and cultures are interconnected – it makes more sense than ever to develop international platforms for shared insights and creativity. «

poised just above a large puddle of water. It was artwork by Guadalajara artist Gonzalo Lebrija, a project realized by a partnership between MCA Denver, Amy Harmon’s Urban Market Partners and the Biennial of the Americas. It looked absolutely still but it had enormous presence. The night of the opening, it was like a lightening rod conducting all the excitement around it. It reminded me what we wanted to achieve with a citywide event. It reminded me that art and ideas generate energy. Adam Lerner is the Director and Chief Animator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver.

A view of Civic Center Park.

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Denver is an

International City


reetings: Denver has shown its potential to be the epicenter of the Americas thanks to the Biennial of the Americas. Eight former presidents, a handful of Brazil’s most successful CEOs, inspiring artists from across the Americas, and over fifty of the Western Hemisphere’s brightest minds flocked to Denver this past July. The Biennial hit Denver with a whirlwind of activity and color, and it did so on time and on budget, thanks to the invaluable efforts of the Biennial staff and board of directors. Mayor John Hickenlooper brought together a team of individuals to convert a vision into reality. He chose wisely. His vision of Denver hosting the Biennial of the Americas became reality thanks to the excellent work that went on behind the scenes. We owe a debt of gratitude to the tireless efforts of the staff and dozens of volunteers who were led by CEO Erin Trapp, President of Operations and Finance, Donna Good, and President of The Americas Roundtable, Jim Polsfut. The board of directors worked efficiently and cohesively to ensure the Biennial’s success. We met regularly to resolve major issues, ensure budgets were met, and help secure sponsorships. My fellow board members got the job done and did so without compensation. Please join me in thanking the Biennial board of directors. Without their dedication, the Biennial would still be just a vision. The inaugural Biennial of the Americas was an ambitious undertaking that was by all measures a tremendous success. This "world's fair of ideas" successfully established Denver as the epicenter of the Americas. Greater collaboration among the 35 countries of the Americas is already taking place. Colorado benefited financially from the influx of activity, and the impact will be even greater as the Biennial grows in magnitude. Congratulations to everyone involved in this monumental and successful event! Sincerely,

Edward D. White Chair, Denver Biennial of the Americas Corporation

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Ted White

Denver Biennial Of The Americas Board Of Directors Edward (Ted) White Chair, Board of Directors, Biennial of the Americas Chair, Transaction Section - Moye White, LLP Thomas Williams Treasurer, Board of Directors, Biennial of the Americas CEO - Williams Group LLC James R. Mulvihill Founder & Principal Black Creek Capital, LLC Don V. Bailey Chairman & CEO Triton Investment Company Mario Carrera Vice President and General Manager Entravision Communications Corporation Michael T. Fries President & CEO Liberty Global, Inc Erin Trapp Ph.D. Secretary, Board of Directors, Biennial of the Americas Director - Denver Office of Cultural Affairs City & County of Denver Roxanne White Chief of Staff, Mayor John Hickenlooper City & County of Denver Amy Harmon Managing Partner Urban Market Development, LLC Patricia Barela Rivera Principal PBR Consulting Zee Ferrufino CEO Latino Communications





KBNO RADIO 600 Grant St. Denver, CO 80203 303-733-5266

The Human Side of the Americas Roundtable

Verónica Figoli


s I to write these words, it has now been a few weeks since the presentation of the tenth and final event of The Americas Roundtable. Mercifully, I finally have had a little more time on my hands to rest, which I greatly appreciate, and yet I also feel melancólica (melancholy). I look at pictures, and memories flood my mind. It is bittersweet to say goodbye to the most incredible project I have experienced so far in my professional life -- The Americas Roundtable of the Biennial of the Americas. I moved to Denver five years ago. Although I loved the city from the moment I arrived, I’ve always wanted it to be a bit more international. I feel so privileged to have been involved with this project and to see my dream come true – to have meaningful and elevated conversations about the Americas in the city I now call mi casa. But it is not about the content or the work that we did on The Americas Roundtable that I want to tell you about today… I want to tell you about the people. We brought to Denver the largest aggregation ever of government leaders, non-profit leaders, journalists, health professionals, and other dignitaries, celebrities, and citizens from across the Americas. We had former presidents of nations; cabinet officers from the U.S., Mexico and Colombia; a Noble Peace Prize laureate; multiple directors of NGOs, a very talented singer and song writer from Colombia who’s actively involved in philanthropy, and a wide assortment of members of the U.S. and international diplomatic corps… y pare usted de contar

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(and you stop counting.) Although grateful for the gathering of such esteemed experts, the greatest part for me was getting to know these individuals as human beings. Many times, we forget that behind the big titles and big responsibilities, there is a real person who has virtues and flaws. Backstage at The Americas Roundtable, we had unforgettable moments. We told stories of our countries, we listened to former presidents as they shared their challenges and their triumphs. We were stressed, we laughed, and then we laughed again. What an incredible opportunity I was given by the organizers of The Americas Roundtable, but most importantly by nuestro jefe (our boss), Jim Polsfut, a determined leader who guided us through this journey with steadiness and vision. As a professional, I recognize the importance of hard work and tangible results. But as a person, I recognize the value of the human relationship. Alliances and life-long friendships were built out of these experiences. To all of you who were part of these unforgettable memories… ¡Gracias! Verónica Figoli Director of the Americas Roundtable


TV, Internet and Phone reinvented.




Denver Skyline


he Biennial of the Americas offered Denver a unique opportunity to begin branding the Mile High City as a cultural, business, tourism and convention destination for the 35 nations that make up the Americas. In addition to having so much in common with its neighbors, Denver also provides visitors with a convenient and easy-to-reach destination. With the tenth busiest airport in the world, occupying a central geographic location on the continent, a strong appreciation of the arts, and a high mountain climate that mimics many cities in South America, Denver is ideally positioned to become the tourism and business epicenter for the Western Hemisphere. VISIT DENVER had previously marketed the city in parts of Canada and Mexico, but has never attempted something of this scale. So, the scheduling of the Biennial was perfect timing to launch a massive public relations media campaign — nationally and internationally. On the public relations side, over 5,000 national and international media outlets, including a PR Newswire release were sent, and the news of the Biennial was picked up by CNBC and appeared on the outdoor news screen in Times Square. A media mailer with detailed information on the Biennial was sent to VISIT DENVER’s 100 top media contacts, and Biennial stories were pitched during desk-side media visits in New York, Chicago and Washington D.C. To encourage local press coverage of this first-time event, VISIT DENVER co-sponsored a media reception at the Denver Botanic Gardens that was attended by more than 75 local travel writers and media. Furthermore, there were international press tours from Mexico, Canada and the UK during the month-long festivities. ( 14 )

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VISIT DENVER offered tours of the Biennial, and stories were included in e-newsletters, 250,000 copies of the Official Visitors Guide to Denver, and on the Bureau’s website, www. Besides U.S. promotions, VISIT DENVER worked with the Colorado Tourism Office and its in-market representatives in Mexico City to distribute a press release to Mexican media that promoted Denver’s Biennial with a Denver vacation package on Travelocity. Similar Biennial city packages were promoted throughout South America. And, as partners of the Biennial, VISIT DENVER featured the international extravaganza in the select regional drive markets of Phoenix, Dallas and Kansas City. The campaign, including multicultural outreach to Hispanic households in those cities, also included print advertising, newspaper inserts, direct mail, radio, online promotions, billboards and Google keyword buys. More than 100 Metro Denver hotels, attractions, restaurants and retailers partnered in this campaign to offer deals and discounts. As a result of the short, but targeted campaign, website traffic to increased 60 percent, reaching 1.3 million visits by the start of the event. By promoting the Biennial through these public relations and marketing campaigns, VISIT DENVER was able to incorporate a strong international, multi-cultural element into the city’s brand, while showcasing Denver as a cultural, business and tourism destination to a huge, new, 35-nation market of the Americas. Jayne Buck Vice President of Tourism




Strategic Relationships in the

Western Hemisphere

By Barry Featherman

From left to right - Gustavo Noboa, Vinicio Cerezo, Dr. Nicolas Ardito Barletta and Alejandro Toledo.


aving recently returned to the United States from the Inauguration of President Juan Manuel Santos in Bogotá, Colombia, I was inspired by the way the country has progressed over the last decade from a nation wracked by drug violence and terrorism to one that is secure, prosperous, experiencing substantial investment, and is poised for amazing growth. This visit to Bogotá gave me the opportunity to also reflect on my involvement this summer with the Biennial of the Americas and how the relationships we forged while there, created cultural and political “bridges” for years to come. I believe that the United States must recognize that one of our most important ( 16 )

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strategic relationships is Latin America. Over the last two decades we have witnessed the emergence of the region as an important player on the world stage, both economically and politically.  There have been new opportunities for trade and investment across the region, especially in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru, while many countries are establishing and implementing more stable democratic governments.  And, with the progression of the region, the U.S. should be reaching out to consummate relationships in new and exciting ways. Furthermore, technological innovations are allowing other cities and regions to develop as economic and political nuclei.  We are seeing it in the smallest hamlet to the largest metropolitan cities across the hemisphere. 

No longer are the national capitals the center of development and wealth. There are new leaders - like Denver - that are “moving the needle forward” toward change and who are embracing the best ideas, no matter where they are from.  It will not just be decisions made in Washington D.C., London, New York, Paris, Moscow, Tokyo, Beijing Mexico City, Lima, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Brasilia or Santiago that will drive future policies.  But it will be  Morelia, Cali, Arequipa, Cordova, Cuenca, Porto Alegre and yes, Denver, that will spearhead creative, collaborative ways to lessen poverty, better education, and create social structures that are needs-centric and become models for others.  This will have a profound impact on the way we all live our lives.  

Two years ago in Denver, the idea to convene a forum of artists, intellectuals, government leaders, and businesspeople from various countries across this hemisphere took shape. The concept was to provide an atmosphere where major issues like poverty, education, energy, the environment, social exclusion and women's rights could be discussed in a series of roundtables and exhibitions. These forums would challenge stereotypes, seek solutions, and promote mutual respect and understanding. It was the genesis of the Biennial of the Americas. At first, everyone asked, “Why Denver?”  My response was, “Why not Denver?”   Led by Denver’s inspirational Mayor John Hickenlooper, Biennial planners took the analogy from the 1989 film “Field of Dreams” and decided that, “If you will build it they will come.”  The vision of creating better cohesion and collaboration throughout the hemisphere was daunting, but I committed to helping since I had spent nearly two decades working in Latin America and the Caribbean with the private sector, multilateral institutions and

various governments. The timeframe was aggressive…could we accomplish everything in less than two years?  And, even if we could, would such an ambitious undertaking crash or soar?  I soon learned that through visionary leadership and sheer determination that it could soar.  Hickenlooper’s tenacity, intellectual prowess and interest in developing relationships throughout the hemisphere was contagious for all who were committed to the success of the Biennial.  Multilateral institutions like the Organization of American States and the InterAmerican Development Bank welcomed the idea of participation and brought their best and

» Prosperous neighbors mean meaningful trading partners and the reduction of poverty and suffering that have afflicted many developing economies. «

brightest. Education advocates like Harriet Fulbright, civic leaders like Oscar Morales, the Latin American Diplomatic Corps, Nobel Prize winners, the U.S. State Department, leaders in the arts and humanities, and many others contributed their time, energy and intellectual thought to make this an amazing gathering. As the executive director of the Global Center for Development and Democracy working under the leadership of President Alejandro Toledo and in consort with over 20 former Latin American presidents who serve on our international advisory board, I became convinced that the Biennial could serve as a platform to promote A New Social Agenda for Latin America for the Next 20 Years.  Eight former Latin presidents who contributed to the development of the Social Agenda made their way to Denver to present the document and participate in the activities of the Biennial.  The presence of the former presidents and their willingness to immediately participate was illustrative of the growing importance of America’s West and the impact that cities like Denver are having on commerce.  It also demonstrated the commitment

Former Presidents flying into Denver on Frontier Airlines after attending the Aspen Institute.

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Barry Featherman participating on the trade roundtable.

of the former presidents’ to take this agenda to the people — to empower people to get involved and become partners for growth and development. The awe-inspiring presentations of the former presidents highlighted the key aspects of the Social Agenda, a consensus document which outlines a roadmap out of poverty while ensuring basic healthcare and nutrition, access to education, capital through microfinance and low cost energy for the poor. I also proudly served as a panelist on the trade roundtable which highlighted the important opportunities that trade liberalization and economic integration has on economies.  The discussion was very timely, given that two Latin American countries,  the Republic of Colombia and the Republic of Panama, have Free Trade Agreements pending with the United States. Support for the Biennial from the private sector was also impressive.  In addition to my work as executive director of the center, I understand the importance of the private sector to growth in the region – they are a driving force for hemispheric prosperity. The international law firm of Duane Morris, where I am the director of Government Affairs, hosted a dinner and reception in honor of the former presidents recognizing the importance of these dialogues.  ( 18 )

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» Education advocates like Harriet Fulbright, civic leaders like Oscar Morales, the Latin American Diplomatic Corps, Nobel Prize winners, the U.S. State Department, leaders in the arts and humanities, and many others contributed their time, energy and intellectual thought to make this an amazing gathering. « Duane Morris is focused on Latin American opportunities and has great interest in programs such as the Biennial because of the opportunity to educate citizens about the importance of the region. Many other international companies did the same because they either already work in the Latin markets or hope to expand product or service offerings there. I wonder what the legacy of this gathering might be.  Hopefully, events like the Biennial will proliferate and prosper - this hemisphere needs it!  The Americas need new forms of communications and engagement - the arts

will be a critical component of this, as will the roundtable discussions which fostered open debate and dialogue about the state of the hemisphere. Over the course of my career I have fought against poverty, promoted economic growth and argued for a clean and safe environment as a legacy for future generations.  I have long held to the belief that inter-American relations should be designed to create an enabling environment with the participation of all.  This is critical for the U.S. because prosperous neighbors mean meaningful trading partners and the reduction of poverty and suffering.  As the world continues to shrink, we must highlight our common destiny.  Although I live in Washington, D.C., there is a special place in my heart for Denver.  Indeed, the warmth of its people and the fact that it opened its arms to the hemisphere is an example for other cities to follow.  I was inspired.  Barry Featherman is the Executive Director of the Global Center for Development and Democracy headquartered in Lima, Peru with offices in Washington, D.C. and Madrid, Spain. He is also a Director of Duane Morris Government Affairs in Washington, D.C.

MUSIC TRANSFORMED MASTERWORKS Celebrates the greatest orchestral compositions of all time. INSIDE THE SCORE Whether you are new to symphonic music or are a seasoned concertgoer, this innovative new series offers a common ground to meet, learn and be entertained. POPS It’s a brand new series – from tributes to Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley, to rising star Brandi Carlile and screenings of cinematic classics The Sound of Music and Psycho. FAMILY From Lemony Snicket to Beethoven Lives Upstairs, the storytelling Family Series is the best yet. HOLIDAY A magical time of family, fun and festivities that offers beloved favorites for every musical taste.



The nature of things

the McNichols Building

A History of the

McNichols Building The Biennial of the Americas Main Stage By Emily Haggstrom

The McNichols Building


ust after the Gold Rush, which brought early miners and settlers to the base of the Rocky Mountains, the small town of Denver became known as a fast growing urban epicenter of the west for many rural dwellers looking to get rich quick. The flood of immigrants made for higher birth rates and an increased number of people inhabiting the city. During this time, the City Beautiful movement of the 1890’s was gaining momentum in towns and cities across the nation. It wasn’t until then that Denver Mayor Robert Speer jumped at the opportunity to turn the city of Denver into an urban sprawl ( 20 )

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» Most of all, you

can see the creatively eco-friendly footprint they have left on the McNichols building alongside each layer from architects of the past. «

of parks, civic centers and streets that would eventually make up Denver’s most historic focal points. The City Beautiful movement brought Denver many great cultural icons including the Greek Revival designed Denver Carnegie Library that was to sit at the center of the developing Civic Center Park. The movement captured the hearts of politicians and citizens across the city. When the Beaux Arts library finally opened in 1910 it featured 3-story Corinthian style columns, grand floorto-ceiling windows and a beautiful skylight that allowed sun onto the third floor black and white mosaic tiled atrium which displayed open book stacks, an art gallery and a place for children to

A view of the McNichols Building from the Webb Building.

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The Nature of things

the McNichols Building

play. The elegant building was the first installation of many in Speer’s dreams for a grand Civic Center. Eventually, the park functioned as a center for social gatherings and as a parkway between government buildings, with the library serving as a principle place for learning in Denver’s growing downtown. In 1955, the library eventually outgrew its space and for the first time since it opened, the lavish building sat empty. That same year, the Denver Water Board relocated its offices to the old Carnegie Library. The space once wrought in decadence had to be toned down to accommodate office workers. What was supposed to serve as a remodel actually masked the original natural light, decorative beauty and architectural integrity of the building. The mosaic tile that had ushered guests in to learn was covered by drab carpet. Grand archways and vaulted ceilings were replaced with drop ceilings. Windows that were created under the Carnegie motto, “Let there be light,” were soon covered up with mold and plaster. Carved crown molding and support columns were hidden with drywall, and the grand skylight was filled in with concrete. Even the majestic staircases were boarded up and closed off. It was then renamed the McNichols Building after Colorado’s 35th governor, Stephen McNichols. Just as the library had expanded and vacated the space, so too did the Denver Water Board, once again leaving the building unoccupied. Decades passed and the building stood stoic, in time going unnoticed by residents who passed through the park or visited the City and County Building.

During the rennovation of the McNichols Building.

An inside view of the McNichols Building.

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Values Count

Whether it’s in the boardroom or the classroom.



“There’s a lot of grey in the world; it’s not very often black and white. Regis helps you focus on working through the grey, on working through the parts that are not easy to determine the right course of action.” ~ Elizabeth Hardin

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Learners Becoming Leaders

The Nature of things

the McNichols Building

Finally after years of being overlooked, The Biennial of the Americas organization chose McNichols as the site for its main stage. With funding gathered by the Biennial organization it became possible to renovate a once spectacular building that over the years has become a decrepit, unused and withering landmark. The McNichols building has since been stripped of its 1950s make-under by the architectural group, Tres Birds Workshop, which turned the mold and asbestos infested structure into a well-lit usable space. Let’s be clear though, this building is by no means back to its former glory, but as its sole purpose was to house an eclectic exhibition of art from around the Americas, Tres Birds constructed a raw, rough space that in itself is a piece of art.

Design principals Mike Moore and Shawn Mather of Tres Birds

Design principals Mike Moore and Shawn Mather of Tres Birds tore out years of terrible architectural cover-ups. After all the demo work was completed, the original character of the building was restored. The original crown molding and brick and mortar from 1910 replaced the modern day plaster and paint. The splintered-wooden frame under the now concrete filled skylight whispers of age old elegance and beauty. In the atrium, out from under the roughed concrete floor peeks mosaic tile. The newly raw columns and beams reveal the unwavering strength of the building that has sustained years of neglect.

» Controversy and civic

pride will hopefully play a part in the development of this cultural iconic structure so that it does not get lost among the fray of new buildings and restorations being done around the park and the gentrifying neighborhood. «

Moore and Mather are proud to see what the building has become and allude to the potential that its future holds. You can see their personal touches in the recycled Colorado beetle bark accents and the modern lime green media room dubbed the “Kids Patch”. Most of all, you can see the creative ecofriendly footprint they have left on the McNichols building alongside each layer from architects of the past. Whether Moore or Mather are involved in the next phase of the McNichols renovation is still to be decided, but one thing is for sure, they will leave their indelible stamp on the building and become a part of its incredible history.

McNichols housed the Nature of Things, an exhibition that featured 24 static pieces created by artists from across the Western Hemisphere. The diverse compilation of contemporary art depicted themes of the Biennial which included innovation, sustainability ( 24 )

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The McNichols Building.

and community. To promote cohesion and collaboration, Nature of Things curator, Paola Santoscoy, commissioned Mexican artist Jeronimo Hagerman to create a sitespecific installation on the façade of the building that would attract visitors with its dynamic aesthetic principles. Lime Green Corinthian over Saturn Dublin, 2010, drapes pink fabric to shade the entrance of the exhibit while the Corinthian columns were transformed to represent palm trees seen throughout the Americas.

After the Biennial concludes and the static exhibits are gone, rumors of preliminary plans include possible shops, a restaurant or a museum. However, long-term plans are currently in the hands of the city’s residents, Denver’s Cultural Affairs Office, and the Civic Center Conservancy. The building, which would have been considered a historic landmark and preserved under bond money through Denver’s Historical Society, has since been removed from the list of historical buildings when it was deemed part of the museum complex that sits across the park. Controversy and civic pride will hopefully play a part in the development of this cultural iconic structure so that it does not get lost among the fray of new buildings and restorations being done around the park and the gentrifying neighborhood. One thing is for sure, anything will be better than seeing the iconic structure sit empty for another 50 years.


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The nature of things

gallery Exposé


Partners Galleries and Museums of the Biennial By Brittany Noland and Emily Haggstrom with support from Tessa Harvey


enver’s Biennial of the Americas brought civic leaders, heads of state, government officials and ambassadors from around the Western Hemisphere to celebrate cultural diversity along with the cohesion and collaboration of our partners within the Americas. However, it was evident that to stay in line with the theme of classical biennials, Denver would need to include not just strength in politics but its support for the creative arts and the communities across the Americas.

Museo de las Americas – Liberadores The Museo de las Americas was one of the satellite locations for programming and was an intrinsic part of the Biennial experience. The opening on June 24 of the exhibition Liberadores, curated by executive director Maruca Salazar, was the first of the Biennial events in the city. Selected by a jury, the exhibit features artists from across the continent including Xavier Cortada, Miami/ Cuba; Ana Maria Hernando, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cliff Fragua, Jemez Pueblo, USA; Liliana Folta, Argentina; Oscar Muñoz, Popayán, Colombia; Daniel Salazar, Denver, USA; Fernando Sanchez, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Paula Winograd, Bogotá, Colombia; and Seth Wulsin, New York, USA/Argentina. The exhibit was comprised of a variety of media from sculpture to film, and covered everything from the liberation of the Pueblo in the Southwest to the Chicano movement in the 1960’s. July continued to be an exciting and busy time for Museo. Museo hosted a film night in collaboration with Su Teatro which featured films by internationally renowned performance artist Guillermo Gomez- Peña and director Daniel Salazar. Guillermo also held the world premiere of a performance piece created especially for the Biennial called Strange Democracy. In his honor,

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Notable citywide cultural and artistic centers housed exhibitions that would feature art, ideas and innovations of the diverse cultures of the Americas. With 39 participating venues, guests and locals had the pleasure of visiting a variety of exhibits in locations across Denver and its surrounding metropolitan area. Featured below is a sample of representative galleries and museums that participated in the Biennial.

Museo held a garden party that was attended by community members, Biennial staff and Mayor Hickenlooper. Other highlights from the month included a performance by the Colorado Chamber Players. The gallery transformed into a magical space as music composed by Silvestre Revueltas, Miguel Chaqui and Astor Piazzolla filled the air. That same week, Miguel Tarango presented a web discussion, called Digital Isolation. He arranged a conference with participants from around the continent that included a professor, a performing artist and a graphic designer. They enlightened guests with their thoughts on how digital media can isolate cultures from one another based on their access to the Internet., the non-profit organization founded by the Flobots, brought two local groups of youth, Bridges Without Borders and the Minor Disturbance together for a slam poetry presentation. The youth explored how borders and walls intersect lives. Their poetry reflected on relationships between countries like the United States and Mexico, and Palestine and Israel. During the month, Museo also hosted workshops and tours of the Liberadores exhibition and hosted the second annual Museo de las Americas Summer Camp. This year’s theme was heroes, to coincide with exhibit and Biennial ideals. It incorporated visual arts, dance and music to provide students with a more holistic experience and was sponsored free of charge for DPS students in grades K-6.

sections of this organic looking piece had additional sub-divided curves that hung from its ends, which then was subdivided again and hung off the next until it appeared to sag almost seven feet off the ceiling. It looked as if a blanket of crocheted cashmilon was covering an area of coral reef.

The Museum of Contemporary Arts, Denver (MCA) – Energy Effects

What was so interesting about pieces throughout this exhibit was the time, effort and desire to see experiments carried out. Each work was clearly time tested through logic and mathematical equations, and some were even outside the traditional view of contemporary art. The exhibit featured not only art, but it also illustrated events, scientific experiments, and phenomena.

MCA curators, Adam Lerner and Paul Andersen approached the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs to construct an exhibit that would correspond succinctly with the themes of sustainability, innovation and art for Denver’s inaugural Biennial. After careful consideration and thorough planning, Andersen and Lerner retooled an exhibit that had been in the works to include artists from across the Western Hemisphere, and finally Energy Effects: Art and Artifacts from the Landscape of Glorious Excess was produced.

The exhibit's relation to the Biennial drew towards the connection of energy and conservation and how to develop a more complex understanding of what conserving energy truly means. “Art doesn’t fit easily into discussions of conservation because, it’s by nature, an excessive practice; it’s not something we need in order to survive. If you use your energy to create art, scientific experiments, or a spectrum of things in between, it’s not bad,” said Andersen. So as people conserve their energy it also challenges them to use that excess energy to create amazing works of art that provide aesthetic effects for people, instead of creating something like war.

» "Art doesn’t

fit easily into discussions of conservation because, it’s by nature, an excessive practice; it’s not something we need in order to survive." «

With an established exhibit, MCA became one of the citywide cultural partners that would lend to the creativity and imagery of the newest international event to descend on Denver. MCA’s large scale exhibit, Energy Effects, explored the U.S. culture's definition of energy and - Paul Andersen its relationship to sustainability. The exhibit encouraged visitors to discuss energy in an enlightened way and to look at other perspectives on energy. Andersen explained that people have more than they need to sustain life and it is that leftover energy, that excess, and what people decide to do with it that really gives a culture its identity.

The exhibit also featured a 126-pair collection of used sandals created over 17 years by Viviane Le Courtois; a Titan IV Rocket Engine that was considered for a mission to Saturn; two B61 Thermo-Nuclear weapons that were never used; a full-scale particle accelerator created by an artist who built the machine solely from a set of blueprints; a small-scale view of the Statue of Liberty built within the eye of a needle in which the artist worked through his heartbeats to create; and a video of a man’s journey across America.

This large scale exhibit started in the parking lot across the street of the MCA with a life-size, site specific, recreation of Gonzalo Lebrija’s, Entre La Vida y La Muerte, originally done in video and lambda print. The installation, which featured a remodeled classic car, hovered over a large metal core in the center of a carved out pool in a nose dive into what appeared to be a head on collision of object and earth. The recreation paid homage to Lebrija’s original work done two years earlier. Inside the MCA, visitors were left captivated at not only the sheer size and scale of each piece but the amount of energy that had to have been spent to create these enormous works of art. Hanging directly overhead, completed by Orly Genger, were hundreds of mathematically rigorous metal catenary surfaces enveloped entirely in beige cashmilon. This arduous piece spanned the entire width of the third story above the museum hallway. Some

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The nature of things

gallery Exposé

Capsule – Objectophilia

Murphy, not only the show’s curator, but a known local art activist, who stated that it is, “Important to see that Denver has culture and doesn’t just import culture.” Seventy percent of the exhibit was comprised of works from the Denver area. Objectophilia was made up of art created from plates, trash, books, Christmas bulbs, rope, doll heads and many other, sometimes quirky, objects. One striking example was that of a dog named Sparky. The sculpture created by Claudia Roulier was structured using a taxidermy form as his base. His taxidermy eyes gave him "life;" he was like Frankenstein, made up of mismatched parts. He had sprigs of synthetic hair sprouting from his head, nuts, bolts, screws, even an old bike chain protruding from his painted body, all standing stoic on ceramic feet.

During the summer months, it is typical of many people to clean out their closets and garages to hold yard sales. They do this to get rid of things they don’t need, reorganize their houses, or downsize. With every object they find in their house there is one question that arises, “Do I need this, or should I get rid of it?” Many people consider it for a second and move on to the next object without ever worrying about it again. There are, however, a large number of people who are caused great anxiety over getting rid of their belongings. Some of these people are considered hoarders; their houses end up so full of unnecessary items, that the space can get to the point of being unlivable. Sometimes, people’s appreciation for and inability to detach from objects turns into objectophilia, a condition described by artist, Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, as a love of objects so intense that individuals form emotional relationships to inanimate things. It was this idea that inspired Murphy to resurrect her former gallery, Capsule, for the month of July, to put on a show that spanned 20,000 square feet of space over two locations. Objectophilia was a vintageinspired show of impressive scale. The second largest exhibit of the inaugural Biennial of the Americas showcased the works of 48 artists and was also the only exhibit that featured works from the Denver art scene. This was important to ( 28 )

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Being near a large mass transit station and close to businesses, the location off 16th and Delgany in downtown Denver got a lot of unforeseen foot traffic. Passersby would wander into the space to take a look around, probably never having had the intention of viewing art when they set about their day. A group of construction workers from across the street even walked in one day. They were overheard muttering about how they didn’t understand art; nothing they saw made sense to them, until they saw Sparky.

» Objectophilia

was made up of art created from plates, trash, books, Christmas bulbs, rope, doll heads and many other, sometimes quirky, objects. «

Objectophilia was a show of layered messages. It exemplified the love of objects and simultaneously a frustration with the restrictions of keeping objects, and for one artist, a hatred of her mother’s hoarding. It also channeled the destruction that creating objects can have on Earth. The viewer experienced an almost voyeuristic feeling when viewing all the items that belonged to someone. It was a feeling as if one was looking into the past and experiencing certain emotions, depending on how the items were arranged. Whether they loved the objects, wanted nothing to do with them, thought there were too many of them, or had a blatant yearning for nature, the show certainly tied into the ideas of innovation, art, sustainability and community of the biennial. Objectophilia was comprised of nontraditional art and most assuredly left a stamp that Murphy hoped it would that Denver's art scene is strong and thriving.

Denver Art Museum – Shaped by Culture: New World Landscapes

presentation of 30 black and white photographs from historic preColombian sites in the Americas. The depictions allowed visitors to understand the culture of these ancient people and their magnificent creations. “Ranney has shown a singular devotion to the Americas,” said photography curator Eric Paddock, who worked closely with the artist and chief curator Margaret Young-Sanchez to select the works. “His work has developed, and his knowledge of these places and the relationships between their environments is both beautiful and wise.”

While there are great civilizations that existed throughout pre-Colombian Central and South America, most have disappeared or been conquered. However, there are many that still exist and continue to thrive in the very regions they’ve been rooted in for centuries. And while there are many of these civilizations and sites to explore, it is Edward Ranney’s depiction of Peru that stands at the forefront of the Denver Art Museum's collaboration with the Biennial of the Americas. Encapsulated within the existing New World department, which displays work from before the Spanish Colonial era, photographer Edward Ranney captures the existence of Mesoamerican creations through the lens of his camera, showcasing the enigmatic architecture of the ancient Incan and Moche civilizations. Shaped by Culture: New World Landscapes, is a

His photographs reflect the passion Ranney has for the region, the rich culture and unbelievable knowledge of the indigenous people. Displayed within the photographs are sacred temples, sacrificial sites and huacas, alongside barren coastal plateaus and valleys of a lost empire that spanned countries. Further stills reveal carved out agricultural ridges that make up the countryside of Peru and stone work so precise that architects and stone masons still remain confounded at the spectacle.

» Shaped

by Culture: New World Landscapes, is a presentation of 30 black and white photographs from historic preColombian sites in the Americas. «

These images are part and parcel to the current landscape in Peru and have been adopted from the old culture into the new generation of Peruvians, Ecuadorians, Chileans and Bolivians. And while sites continue to be discovered and explored, people like Ranney will continue to illuminate the surviving beauty of these places and what they represent. It is Ranney’s perspective that gave visitors an unblemished understanding of the past and present of these cultures and how each one has been absorbed into the current landscape to create a natural environment that will continue to be alive and revered for decades to come.

Shaped by Culture: New World Landscapes by Edward Ranney will run through September 26, 2010, in the Denver Art Museum’s New World Galleries.

The Counterterrorism Education and Learning Lab – Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere When this inaugural event was being produced, it was important for both the C.E.L.L. and the Biennial to address the most salient issue of modern time in conjunction with Western Hemisphere allies. While most galleries sought to show their dynamic cultures through art and dance, the C.E.L.L. broached the poignant issue that faces each country throughout the Americas, some more personally then others — terrorism. “We recognize that terrorism is a global issue and that our Western Hemisphere allies and partners in this particular front are very important for that type of transnational security operation to happen. The Biennial recognized that and we ultimately hosted a forum in which 800 people attended. And while there are so many wonderful things to celebrate with our allies, there are also things in which we need to be very serious about,” said Executive Director Melanie Pearlman.

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The nature of things

gallery Exposé

attract while simultaneously questioning the intent of these domestic and international terrorists.

Located within Denver’s museum complex sits the C.E.L.L., a non-profit institute that is dedicated to educating citizens about the threat of terrorism and empowers them in ways to mitigate the threat. Through relationships with several think tank organizations, this organization continues to create programing that is relevant and timely through research of evolving and emerging threats. It is the only exhibition of its kind, due to the difficult subject matter, that in itself is inherently violent, continuously evolving and extremely politically charged. Creator Larry Mizel, through other museum ventures, realized how powerful exhibits could be to convey very difficult subject matter. He felt it was important to address terrorism since the issue is not going away. This 6,000 square foot state-of-the-art multimedia exhibit was created in such a way that content, related to new terror attacks could be updated within the exhibits system almost immediately. Foremost thought leaders from think tanks across the United States helped to develop content while Emmy® and Academy® award winning designers and videographers helped to align content the way viewers see it. To ease and orient visitors through the exhibit, questions about terrorism are illuminated on the floors and ceilings, while patrons journey through the exhibition. Just within the entrance, the exhibit climaxes virtually instantaneously with Faces of Terror, which flashes images of bloodied victims, crying faces and streets filled with mournful citizens. Just above the images, names of victims in these terrorist attacks from around the world scroll across a red-lit LED ticker screen that snakes through the wall and into the next room. It is here that visitors are equipped with a card that represents a victim of terror whom they will follow throughout the exhibit to find out just what became of their stolen and shattered life. Within the automated doorway, visitors are led to Terrorism Within Our Time, which features a series of interviews and riveting videos regarding the history and evolution of terrorist attacks over the last 25 years. It explains terrorists' mind-sets, ideologies and tactics. It reviews the types of organizations and the attention they ( 30 )

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» “We recognize that

terrorism is a global issue and that our Western Hemisphere allies and partners in this particular front are very important for that type of transnational security operation to happen. « - Melanie Pearlman

Because terrorism is a global threat, the next doorway leads to Terror Strikes Worldwide. Inside visitors scan monitors playing 30 different Associated Press videos with commentary following attacks such as the bombings in London, Madrid, Colombia and Japan. Each video seeks to convey the ideologies these different terrorist groups and individuals professed in an attempt to justify their attacks. Across from these screens, is text from The Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism’s assessment on The Evolution of Terrorism and the Threats that Exist, which is embedded into a map of the world. Underneath is another exhibit titled The World Speaks – Condemning Terrorism and Condoning Terrorism. This displays quotes from demagogues inciting violence and on the reverse of the double-sided placard reads a quote from world leaders condemning terrorism. The rest of the room displays exact replicas of bombs used in specific attacks, while the opposite wall features different everyday items used to create and/or disguise bombs. After a timed countdown, visitors are then led to a room with floor to ceiling monitors that show the outcome of a terrorist attack. These screens simultaneously flash intense scenes from the prior room’s display and shows women, children and men in a scene that only evil could perpetuate. The last room guides visitors through facts and myths of terrorism and what is being done not only from the side of victims and policymakers, but from the terrorists themselves. Juxtaposed videos demonstrate how these groups continue to incite violence and what is being done to mitigate such violence. With its sterile simplistic environment, access timed entryways, gripping sounds and vivid imagery; the C.E.L.L. elicits deep substantial emotions from its visitors. This exhibit may seem that it is not for the faint of heart, but each citizen should and must understand the roles of terrorism and just how to detect and defend against them.

OPENS SEPTEMBER 24, 2010 Free with Museum admission


Amazon Voyage: Vicious Fishes and Other Riches was produced by the Miami Science Museum. The exhibit was made possible with support from the National Science Foundation. Artwork by Ray Troll.

Major support provided by

The nature of things

Paola Santoscoy


hen Paola Santoscoy met Adam Lerner in autumn, 2008, she had no idea that the encounter would lead her to Denver as curator of the Biennial of the Americas. At the time, she was a student in the Curatorial Practice MA program at the California College of the Arts. Lerner was still the director of the LAB at Belmar. They talked about the artist Melanie Smith with whom both had worked. Lerner then invited Santoscoy to participate in “B+ (Very Good) Explanations: An Old Fashioned Smackdown” at MCA/Denver in October, 2009. This was an event that pitted Lerner against other curators in a discussion about some of the world's most "difficult" contemporary art. A month later, Lerner sent “Punchin’ Paola’s” vitae to the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs and Santoscoy had one weekend to decide whether or not to take on the enormous task of curating an international art biennial in less than six months. Santoscoy accepted, and her exhibit, “The Nature of Things” opened on July 1st at the 28,000 square foot McNichols Building in Civic Center Park. The building itself compelled her to oversee the exhibition. “It’s not a white cube, but a historic building in the process and stages of renovation. I thought it was a very generous space with the potential to do specific things and was a good platform to create something in terms of an exhibition project,” said Santoscoy as we sipped coffee in the Highlands neighborhood, where she is living temporarily while in Denver. Santoscoy’s talent is seen when she engages available space and artwork. She envisions an exhibit that is about curiosity and subverting the viewer’s reality.

Paola Santoscoy

an Interview with

Paola Santoscoy

Denver Biennial of the Americas Curator Talks "The Nature of Things" By Leanne Goebel ( 32 )

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Santoscoy is utilizing her previous experience to bring together the exhibit on such short notice. The 35-year-old has been working with artists since college and her experience includes directing two museums, a non-profit art space, and an independent art organization. But she’s found herself drawing more on the independent project experiences to help her with the Biennial. "The independent projects are put together very quickly and intuitively. And it is what it is." She invited artists, designers and architects with whom she was already familiar, and the show, she says, “self-generated.” Many of the artworks needed a counterpart or complement, a point of departure that would lead her to another artist. Some of the more ambitious projects and concepts could not be completed in the limited time frame, so another artist’s project was selected instead. In total, 24 artists participated in the exhibit; most are producing new work, something Santoscoy preferred over re-exhibiting existing projects. “The artist’s are amazing,” she added. “They really wanted to do something and they know the situation and the time frame.” “The moment it started coming together is when the artists’ voices started entering the scene. It’s their voices, criticisms, and ideas that really made the project stronger,” she said. “Those voices and conversations are the creative core of the project. That’s what brought it to life.” Santoscoy knows there are a lot of expectations, but she’s realistic. “I’m doing what’s possible with the time I have and the resources. There are some truly amazing projects being developed for this exhibit.” Jeronimo Hagerman is producing his largest installation ever in the U.S. for “The Nature of Things.” That includes an exterior exhibit using plants. Teddy Cruz’s project involves documenting an architectural phenomenon happening in San Diego, where old houses are being moved to Tijuana instead of being torn down. Gregory Euclide, a

Minnesota artist represented by Denver’s David B. Smith Gallery, is creating a large installation that explores the relationship between man and nature. Karlo Andrei Ibarra, an artist from Puerto Rico, is exhibiting a neon sign that reads, “Yo vivo en Estados Unidos.” It will be powered by a solar panel attached to the building. Gabriel Acevedo Velarde from Peru is creating a new video installation

» She envisions an exhibit

that is about curiosity and subverting the viewer’s reality. «

about vandalism in Lima. Rael San Fratello Architects from Oakland, California, who are most well known for their “Prada, Marfa” project, are presenting an algorithm that localizes underdeveloped urban spaces. “We are planting seeds to spark conversation. I believe in the works I selected, but there are parts where the connections are stronger and others are not as strong,” said Santoscoy. In the end, “The Nature of Things,” which is taken from an epic by the Roman poet Lucretius, is about perception and how we see the world. Lucretius believed that periodically a few enlightened individuals could escape from human hungers and passions. They found compassion for humanity rather than viewing man as ignorant, unhappy and unsatisfied. Just as Lucretius’ poem was overly ambitious in attempting to explain different phenomenon in the universe, the exhibit is also ambitious in bringing to light issues that are current and relevant in all of the Americas--not just the U.S. The art will be incongruous with the hermetic exterior of the building. The exhibit promises to be challenging and to raise questions about the nature of art today. This article originally appeared online for Adobe Airstream is an online magazine that covers every facet of arts and culture. Adobe Airstream’s senior editor and writer, Leanne Goebel began blogging in 2005 at leannegoebel. com. In 2010, the blog took first place in Top of the Rockies best arts blog in Colorado. In 2007, she was a Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant recipient.

Paola Santoscoy in front of the McNichols Building.

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BERNARD AMADEI, engineers without borders / ashoka global fellow engineering change in developing communities

The nature of things

Cleo Parker Robinson

Hip-Hopping into the

World of Dance An Interview with Cleo Parker Robinson By Emily Haggstrom


here’s something very harmonious about Cleo Parker Robinson that resonates in everything she does. She is a product of her time, engineered to sway and dance while listening to beats and melodies of music. There is a sincere warmth and exultation of love when she speaks. She radiates a happiness that is deep-rooted in her soul. She grew up to biracial parents in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver, which at the time was considered the “Harlem of the West� and a predominantly AfricanAmerican community. During her youth, Five Points was a mecca where people from all around came to experience the best of what was coming out of its culture at the time. The neighborhood, historically known for visitors such as Miles Davis and Duke Ellington, brought powerful energy through music and movement that reverberated throughout the community. The nation and her neighborhood were just emerging from behind the Jim Crowe laws. Races and cultures were coming together. Robinson learned how to live with less and celebrate more, a lesson she was taught by her parents. She began teaching dance at the age of 15, and by 22 had started Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, which has become an institution for dancers around the world. She has traveled the globe bringing dance to the masses, received awards for excellence and taken her ensembles to prestigious festivals and performing arts complexes across the country. She resides in Denver, not by accident but by choice, and has become a cultural icon known throughout the performing arts community. She is a pioneer for her time; a great collaborator known for bringing cultures together and creating a philosophy that dance really is a way of life. ( 36 )

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Cleo Parker Robinson

ICOSA: What did it mean to you and your company to be chosen as a participant for the Biennial of the Americas? Robinson: It was really quite an honor. We knew how important this was to our community and to the country and to have such a celebration here in Denver is incredible. To be in that connection and that network was really very special. I think some of the things that we’ve been doing over the last 40 years just tied right in to everything they (the Biennial organization) were doing. Especially with our international summer dance program and celebrating Latin America throughout our history and our youth program is similar. We’ve been working on these for a number of years now bringing in the whole Latino and Hispanic culture and how it relates to the African diaspora and we’ve been doing this for a long time.

Americas. I believe that will continue. I think that heightened awareness and celebration will last a long time and we can all keep building on it. ICOSA: What does it mean to the performing arts community? Robinson: For us, often times, we don’t see the diversity celebrated enough and I think this gives us permission to celebrate all the time rather than during a particular season, period of time or special affair. For us at Cleo Parker Robinson it will be integrated into our curriculum as we go into the schools and travel the country and around the world. It’s a great bridge to breaking down barriers and it helps encourage people to be bilingual. It also helps us see how our roots are so absolutely intertwined; that we really are one spirit with many voices.

ICOSA: In your opinion, why do you believe it is so important to ICOSA: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance performed with five keep these old cultural dances alive? companies during the Biennial. How did your performance play Robinson: First of all, it’s like opening your eyes every day and seeing the extraordinary diversity all around you. Like the food you eat, we into the organizations themes? Robinson: We’ve been working with Jeanette Trujillo-Lucero, also need to give ourselves a spiritual feeding. When we know our Founder and Artistic Director from Fiesta Colorado and Artistic roots and we feel our roots and we are connected to the fantastic array of music and dance, we can see ourselves Director Lorenzo Ramirez of Grupo Folklorico and we can see ourselves in each other. I think it Sabor Latino and it was an opportunity for our makes for a more peaceful and a more powerful community and our neighbors right in Five society. I think it is a truth. Points, which is growing and "becoming" all the time, to see their local dance companies ICOSA: Do you and your instructors try to and their ensembles in their colorful costumes help your multi-cultural students understand performing the history of the Spanish and the each other through folkloric dance? Aztec cultures and seeing how they integrate Robinson: Yes, I think it’s just providing the right and come together throughout that history. opportunity for our students to choose and find Our goal was to combine that with our company themselves because people are so diverse. Many which has been together for 40 years now with - Cleo Parker Robinson people don’t even know their own backgrounds an ensemble that’s quite diverse and focuses and I think what it does is encourages them to on the style of Katherine Dunham who worked look broader and deeper and to continue to for years all over Latin America bringing in the cultural richness of these countries and celebrating them. And that’s discover themselves and experience true joy. I’ve had students who what I’ve been doing all these years is following in her legacy. She was say they didn’t even know about their cultural history or even how such a cultural icon and ambassador and I think she would be pleased they felt about it because they are always growing. I think for students of all ages and backgrounds we provide the opportunity to come to to see our cultures come together through the Biennial. the studio, which is a universal place for everyone with or without ICOSA: How does your company exude innovation, sustainability, money, to explore their own culture or somebody else’s culture, and to find the human voice within it until it empowers them. It helps community and collaboration in your everyday business? Robinson: We’ve found that being unique in Denver means we have them feel better about themselves and the way their own world is. to keep meeting the needs of the community, and we have a very diverse community so we’ve always been celebrative and sensitive ICOSA: In your lecture series at the University of Colorado, how do to their needs. Having a year round school is really one of the ways you discuss the role cultural arts plays in social transformation? that we deal with that. We teach everything to keep the body, mind Robinson: I think we are all raised reflections of society, in society, and spirit together and we focus on that unity. We teach all ages, and art itself is a reflection of society. So we’re forever working within providing programs to seniors and children in the immediate area. those social structures and in movement itself. As we learn the dances A lot of times these programs are free…I think they are some of and create the dances, we realize that they are not isolated from the most unique programs to allow the students their own creative what’s going on socially. I think we as artists choose how much we voices. They are learning all about their cultures by creating murals want to focus on social transformation. I’ve always been one because and poetry around them with music, rapping, recording, filming and, I came out of the 70’s; it was a time when we saw change take place of course, dance to find that creative voice to sustain a community. because of the social consciousness of the society but also because of We are also always partnering with cultural institutions and are in the the direct role artists played in helping to create that transformation. schools collaborating, offering support to many of the principals and So, I come from that and, I know how important it is and, I know how educators who don’t have the expertise within their schools because powerful that is. My works, I hope, have always been socially relevant and I talk about racism, sexism and all the “isms.” I start with racism funding has been cut so much. because I think it is such an engrained product of all of the colonialism ICOSA: Now that the Biennial has concluded, how do you feel that’s gone on throughout the world. So, as we talk about the Biennial we are also talking about an aspect of that, and how it has shaped our about the city of Denver bringing the event here? Robinson: I think it has uplifted everyone. There is such a higher attitudes about religion and the roles men and women play. They’re energy and there is a greater awareness of the contribution of the all based on those historic social factors.

» "It also helps us see

how our roots are so absolutely intertwined; that we really are one spirit with many voices. «

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The Nature of things

Cleo Parker Robinson

ICOSA: In 1999 you were appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate to serve the on National Council on the Arts that advises the Chairman of the NEA on agency policy, programs and grant applications. Through your service how did you increase potential for programs like yours? Robinson: Through the council, I have a great opportunity to see everything that’s going on in the country; it’s a powerful experience. Talk about diversity. We see people in Appalachia being as creative as people in New York City, in the middle of these Broadway shows

» We should never have anyone

who cannot have the opportunity to experience the arts and the best of them, the excellence, and so community and excellence should be synonymous. « ( 38 )

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where there is extraordinary creative magic. But we see it in some of the least expected areas, in some of the smallest communities because it is really about people and creativity. I’ve learned a lot about access and about making art and experiences accessible to everyone and about the kind of effort and sacrifices people are making to see that happen. It was inspiring for me. I think just my knowledge of it at every point, I used that information, and every decision I made was around that insight and awareness. ICOSA: With all of your experience and expertise why did you choose to stay in Denver instead of moving to performance centered cities such as New York, Chicago or Los Angeles? Robinson: I think it was very simple. I loved growing up in Denver. I was born in Denver and raised in a community that has been rich in my spirit and yet I saw things in other communities that I wanted to happen here. I knew if I left I couldn’t see it take place or make sure it happened here. I thought, we should never have anyone who cannot have the opportunity to experience the arts and the best of them, the excellence, and so community and excellence should be synonymous. We should be able to have them at the same time. It could be a pioneer community by doing things that people had never seen done here before. If I didn’t do it, who was going to do it?

The nature of things

Biennial Artists Question the Nature of Things

» While their media, video, dimensional

art, and photography, may differ from the paintbrushes of their predecessors, their works continue to question the nature of things. « A Question of Heritage A blatant act of vandalism at the pre-Columbian ruins of Chan Chan set off a cultural storm within Peru and was the catalyst that galvanized Peruvian artist Gabriel Acevedo Velarde to confront what aspects of heritage are revered.



Question The Nature of Things By Jeanine Spellman


ike Hermes and Mercury of ancient times, artists are messengers. These talented beings possess a special ability to sense the world around them and express their observations in ways that ignite imagination, peak curiosity, evoke emotion, and stimulate social discourse. Using images, words, and sounds, artists touch the spirit of humanity. Following the footsteps of artists whose works captured and depicted social statements of their times, France's JacquesLouis David, Spain's Francisco Goya and the Mexican social muralists - Diego Rivera, Jose Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, the contemporary artists exhibiting at the 2010 Biennial of the Americas gave voice to topical issues ranging from heritage and consumerism to sustainability and connectedness. While their media, video, dimensional art, and photography, may differ from the paintbrushes of their predecessors, their works continue to question the nature of things.

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Located near the northwest coast of Peru, the Chan Chan Archeological site was added to UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger in 1986, in response to natural threats such as earthquakes, flooding, and impacts of climate change. However, it was an act of humans rather than nature, which damaged this cultural icon. On a graduation trip during November, 2009, four “indígeno” students armed with an idea and a video camera set out to secure, “15 minutes of fame.” The students kicked and stoned a section of millennia old sand and mud reliefs at the ancient ruins, as they recorded their actions and talked of posting their "achievement” on YouTube. When the video was uploaded in January, 2010, it created a national uproar. The desecration was deemed an attack on Peru’s image and its cultural heritage. Swift responses came from the highest levels of government, including Peru’s President Alan Garcia, who publicly deplored the behavior, asking, “Is this what we are teaching our children?” While Peruvians were enraged at the act of desecrating a cultural treasure, Velarde graphically pointed out that the same national outcry over vandalized ruins does not exist regarding the ongoing and widely accepted discrimination of Peru’s indigenous population, the descendaents of those who built Chan Chan. “Racism is prevalent in Peru,” said Nathan Cline, a Biennial docent, who lived in Peru for six years working with at-risk families and orphans. “The country has a class-oriented society, where the unspoken practice is the lighter the skin, the better. As a general rule, this fuels the discrimination of the darker-skinned indigenous descendents by the lighter-complexioned colonial Spanish descendents,” Cline explained. Set against this cultural backdrop Velarde’s video and rap commentary depicts two “indígeno” viewing their ancestral images housed in a museum juxtaposed against images of the new Peru with its high-rise buildings replacing older structures, Inca Cola, and storefront displays of uniforms, indicative of positions people hold within society. All the images are interspersed between the moving sands of time, which along with the carnage of the scraped buildings, ultimately engulf the indigenous viewers. And the kids of Chan, Chan, how are they? Even through its pixilated I recognize their color From the highlands we had to be Indians we had to be

You’ve confused me Which Indians do you mean? the punks in the video…? …Or the ones who made Chan Chan? Excerpt from, Hijos de la Nada by Gabriel Acevedo Velarde and Rafael Polar Pin.

A Lost Community? In a photo series entitled Clausurado, Columbian artist Victor Munoz, of Medellin, Colombia presented an eerie series of large panoramic images depicting his former hometown. Empty streets are lined with abandoned homes and storefronts, all standing with walls and doorways brick-filled in response to ongoing strife related to drug cartels and guerrilla combat. Although residents have fled the city, the structures depict an odd tenacity and resilience. Munoz leaves viewers questioning, how many lives were disrupted and forever changed due to pervasive conflicts and acts of violence? Has the community really lost its city, or is it a hostage of the times, waiting to be revived?

Sustainable Communities? The multi-screen videos of Guatemalan architect Teddy Cruz called out problems of urbanization and socio-economic issues related to cities that share the same geographical area, but are divided by borders. Highlighting a stretch of border between San Diego, CA., and Tijuana, Mexico, Cruz showed areas of poverty, where discards from wealthy communities north of the border, such as used tires, wood platforms, and garage doors, are repurposed and become housing by those living south of the border. At other points along the border, tract home communities mimic California suburbs in layout and architecture. Each of these models of architecture evolved based on either scarcity and conflict or abundance. To build sustainable communities, new models for urban planning are needed, models that involve much more than the recycling of materials and LEED certified buildings. Urban planning that integrates economic, social, and environmental elements will lead to the development of truly sustainable communities.

» “The country has

a class-oriented society, where the unspoken practice is the lighter the skin, the better. As a general rule, this fuels the discrimination of the darkerskinned indigenous descendents by the lightercomplexioned colonial Spanish descendents.” « - Nathan Cline

Is Perception Reality? Chilean Martin Alonso’s Slow Walking Machines featured simple, small mechanical vehicles that appear to be standing still. However, they are moving, albeit at a minuscule pace of 12 inches a day. This calls into question, what does the viewer see? What does the viewer miss? Current research indicates that the time it takes to make first impressions has decreased from 7 to 10 seconds, to the blink of an

eye in the past decade. Alonso’s work poses, what are the consequences of instantaneous judgment in a social context? Would perceptions and experiences be altered if people were to slow down and see the bigger picture?

Folkloric Ties the Bind In a world where cell phones and Internet access are available in even the most remote communities, what impact are these technologies having on folklore, the music and traditions that bind communities together by place, beauty, identity and values? Argentinean Luis Maurett is exploring this phenomenon. Maurett’s lifelong passion for music inspired his interest in studying how cultures interpret the natural world and ecosystems through sound. This interest led to his Transfolklorico (Across Folklores) project, which records the distinctive music and traditions of communities and studies the impact Western culture is making via its infusion through technologies. Maurett has captured colorful costumes and music tied to traditions of indigenous peoples living in Argentina, Colombia and Peru. Although their folkloric music and dances are linked by generations, they are not static. According to Maurett, Western culture has a romantic idea of what folklore is, attempting to freeze it in a past place and time; however, that purity doesn’t exist anymore. Instead, he said folklore is constantly adapting, as illustrated by the integration of the guitar into indigenous music, which the Spanish introduced to the continent. Like the introduction of the guitar, Maurett emphasized that cultural folklore is constantly evolving, as new sounds, and costumes are incorporated into existing music, celebrations and practices. He views exposure to new ideas through technology as part of the natural adaptive process, which will enrich versus dilute cultural identities and traditions. However, he expressed that sustaining folklore and its ties to the meanings behind heritage traditions falls on community elders who must engage today’s youth. For when the songs, dances and rituals become mere entertainment or no longer serve a social function, they are forever lost.

These Biennial artists have planted seeds for thought and put forth essential questions, the answers impacting the legacy created for future generations. Will new solutions and behaviors be adopted to address the extraordinary challenges now facing modern citizens? Or will fractured systems and ideologies prevail, ensuring a lesser quality of life for all? The answers will be found in the mystical realm where human nature intersects with the nature of things. Jeanine Spellman is the Director of Communications at üli Creative. She has also served as a past board member for the Colorado Non-Profit Association.

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The nature of things

Plus Gallery

You Are


An Exhibition of Leading Contemporary Canadian Artists By Emily Haggstrom


or local artists, this year’s Biennial was a chance for the modest art community of Denver to showcase its talents and continue momentum that has been steadily growing over the past decade. It was a way to change how American dealers, collectors and artists viewed the city.

Denver is not usually considered one of the more notable art communities in the United States. Not because it lacks the talent but because it lacks the exposure. Avid collectors seek art markets like Santa Fe or New York when choosing to purchase high-end mediums from dealers and individual emerging artists.

Ivar Zeile, owner of Plus Gallery in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Five Points in Denver, is normally considered one of the leading community-oriented commercial galleries in Denver with its high concentration of work from local contemporary artists. However, during this Biennial, Zeile sought to exhibit some of the leading emergent artist in contemporary Canadian art. In conjunction with Suncor Energy, the Canadian Consulate General and the Biennial of the America’s, Ziele featured innovative work from five profound artists around Canada. And while most of the city and its visitors focused on the countries of Latin America and their rich and

» Denver is not usually considered one of the more notable art communities in the United States. Not because it lacks the talent but because it lacks the exposure. «

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diverse cultures, Zeile felt it was important to focus attention on a country, which despite its trading and allied status seemed to appear somewhat insignificant throughout the course of scheduled events. “While the Canadian cultural system provides tremendous support to artists and the creative sector, the geographic proximity and political standing of the country tends to reduce a great deal of effort to the margins,” reads Ziele’s exhibition release. Like most artists, breaking out onto the international art scene is hard enough, but when a country is less known for its creative culture and more known for outrageous stereotypes, it is hard to garner legitimate attention. This common misconception has caused many avid art collectors and reviewers to overlook a country that is not only extremely worldly but rich in creative artistic expression and more importantly, close enough to be involved in the artistic community. “You Are Here” displays work over a variety of mediums that Ziele hopes will stimulate and push the envelope of what people consider contemporary art. By featuring this selective group, he is capturing all that is happening within the contemporary art scene in Canada. Each piece was handpicked because of its ability for the viewer to lose himself in time and place. One of the show's most illustrious artists, ceramic sculptor Brendan Tang, was recently named as a finalist for Canada’s prestigious national Sobey Art Award. His unique combination of traditional porcelain from the Chinese Ming dynasty era and French gilded ormolu blend into and almost drape over Japanimation prosthetics and manage to create a concise window for pop-art fanatics to peer into age old elitism. The contrast of color, sheen and time-periods in his pieces are immense, and the attention they command is equally similar. CGI artist, Alex McLeod who is garnering acclaim in Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art lent graphic ecological environments that twist and turn the viewer’s eye. His use of digital 3D to create art is one-ofa-kind. Each large print depicts a hybrid space that is neither a static nor dynamic piece. Its marshmallow clouds, rock-candy icicles and trees, mixed with sugar glazed virtual

fantasy worlds keep the viewer lost in its unidentifiable scale of time or place. But it was Canadian painter, Andrew Rucklidge’s Landscape’s in Peril that a traditional view of contemporary aesthetics came alive. His use of mixed-media on canvas and dark paint portray an almost ominous scene. Each cryptic landscape has no beginning or end, is no place but yet is everywhere and is a confusion of a time of solitude after what appears to have been a declaration of war on nature. Multi-directional international solo-exhibitor Luke Painter displays lifelike ink drawings that seek to boggle and re-direct the mind. Displayed at the exhibit was a depiction of a person atop an indistinctive dwelling or figure, with marshy cattails sprouting out through an endless wooden-desert landscape absent of a horizon. The artist's drawings do not stray far from his stylized flash animations of eccentric urban environments. And while Zeile has an innate ability to choose art that bursts onto the "canvas" through forms such as sculpture, paintings, and graphic art, his final artist was and continues to be a familiar face of Plus Gallery, Douglas Walker, who unveiled a selection of work for an upcoming 2011 museum tour. Painting in only blue and white, Walker creates each piece on a diverse medium and uses atypical elements to apply each effect to that specific painting. No pattern is alike and each thin stroke invokes the artist to splash, trace and meander his brush across the piece. Visitors to his traveling museum will be surprised just how much an artist can do with what is typically considered "less." Zeile is confident in his artistic talents and he has been asked to move his gallery to Denver’s eclectic Santa Fe Art District. But, he finds a sense of peace in staying put. He finds a sense of solidarity in knowing that his pieces are displayed in an area that is nestled amongst luxury condos and vagrant housing alike. Collectors and enthusiasts can be thrilled by his visionary creations. You Are Here and its artists solidifies Ziele’s ability to capture and bring attention to some of Canada’s most cutting edge pieces right in the heart of Denver without the notoriety or placement within Denver’s art district.

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The nature of things

social entrepreneurship and innovation

Exploring Social Entrepreneurship

and Innovation By Rebecca Saltman

Panelists on the Catalysts for Social Good roundtable.


ed by an international group of established and emerging artists, leaders, innovators, and celebrated individuals, The Nature of Things - Speaker Series explored the Western Hemisphere’s most pressing challenges and exciting innovations. Designed as an open platform for conversation and idea exchange, the series provided a public forum for engaging with speakers, panels, and dialogue sessions, with topics ranging from ecology, art, technology and society, to culture, design, education and civic engagement. Appropriately enough, the setting was one of Denver’s oldest continually-occupied government buildings besides the golden-domed Capitol Building. Biennial speakers and attendees enjoyed the first public access granted to the building since 1955. True to the series’ lofty ideals (commitment to change and community development – be it personal, local, statewide, or international), the recently renovated McNichols Civic Center Building provided a perfect backdrop. The site’s history as Denver’s first public library, built in 1909, and its many subsequent uses and facelifts made the locale a visual reminder that change takes many forms. Denver’s evolution over the years and its impact on the Front Range, and on the country as a whole, spoke volumes to the panelists and their audiences. ( 44 )

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The Speakers Series, developed by Lauren Higgins, an artist, organizer, and social strategist, included two outstanding panels of social entrepreneurs. The panels were titled Catalysts for Social Good: Redefining Global Impact Through Social Entrepreneurship and Be a Changemaker: Local Transformation Through Homegrown Innovation. Both Roundtables presented the far-ranging hopes, ideas, and repartee of a host of social strategists, each with an engaging story to tell. Catalyst speakers addressed strategizing through experience and mentorship and how they stepped into impactful roles and accomplished their goals. These long-term innovators all had to learn their roles through baby steps and collaboration. Changemakers speakers spoke most often of using local resources, and keeping their goals close to home and heart to achieve success. Ultimately the panelists all agreed on one point: the goal of social entrepreneurship is to make it obsolete. Higgins has always found social innovation to be a powerful lens through which to see the current and future potential of the Americas and the world at large. “These innovators and entrepreneurs are painting the picture of a more socially just and economically viable future, and are a wonderful resource as we consider how to move

forward on some of our world’s most challenging social, economic, and environmental issues. These panels added something very special to the Speakers’ Series in that they offered Biennial audiences strategies, anecdotes, and inspirations to work towards change in their own careers and communities," Higgens said. On July 7, 2010, the Roundtable on Catalysts for Social Good: Redefining Global Impact Through Social Entrepreneurship was co-hosted by Ashoka:  Innovators for the Public ( This panel of prestigious social entrepreneurs and Ashoka Fellows explored how they have creatively powered their own careers while making the world a better place. This impressive panel of social innovators was moderated by Greg Berry of W1sd0m ( The panel discussed how social innovation is looking beyond traditional models of change, providing comprehensive solutions involving lasting social and economic value. These changemakers and innovators have used backgrounds in non-profit management, engineering, education, and more to start their own socially-minded endeavors. Panelists included Lynn Price of Camp to Belong which has created camps for siblings separated by the foster care system. She says, “Camp to Belong is for foster children who are injured but not broken, emotionally and mentally, but can heal themselves if given the right environment.” Price urges, “Spread your message sideways, to people tangentially, so that you can affect change indirectly.”

Be a Changemaker - Local Transformation Through Homegrown Innovation was held on July 21, and was again co-hosted by Ashoka: Innovators for the Public and the Change Your City Denver campaign. This panel of local “imagineers,” explored how everyday people are becoming inspired to make a difference in their communities. Leading by example, the panelists have successfully inspired change in their cities through greening local communities, creating inclusive and engaging communities for senior citizens, supporting young entrepreneurs, and supporting socially innovative students. This panel delved into the ingredients for neighborhood civic engagement and what each of us can do to be a “changemaker” in our own communities. Greg Berry of W1sd0m described this panel by saying, “What is so interesting about this group is the depth of passion and the breadth of experience.”

» “When empowered

and given the opportunity, young people have the passion and ability to create systematic change, both locally and globally." «

The thoughts ranged from the poetic to the sublime. Ashara Ekundayo discussed her involvement with The GrowHaus, north Denver’s premiere interactive indoor farming opportunity, committed to eco-equity. When encountering prejudice she says, “You have to be graceful. We do this work so our ancestors will be pleased.” Teju Ravilochan’s Unreasonable Institute is an “incubator” of mentor-focused, self-sustaining social ventures. “When we started, we had lots of ignorance, which was in fact a strength. It led us to outsource everything!” said Ravilochan.

- Ian Carter

Elizabeth Hausler of Build Change designs, builds and trains people to construct earthquake-resistant housing. She says, “Perfect is the enemy of good. It is better to build more homes for more people that will do the job than burn resources over-engineering fewer homes.” In her opinion, we all must reduce bureaucratic checks and focus on the essentials. America’s Family, a non-profit run by Steve Bigari helps low-income working families with assistance programs to eradicate poverty in the U.S. Bigari says, “Tom Sawyer everything. Do what you do well, and organize or outsource the rest. It is all about collaboration. We must get people to solve their problems and stop making them feel entitled.” Susan Kiely, founder of Women With A Cause promotes education and skills to get women out of poverty – it is about women helping women to help themselves. She urges that we all must partner for local and specialized knowledge because no one knows everything. She says, “Train people for needed jobs, not jobs for the poor. If the region needs nurses, train them to be nurses. Train up to what’s in demand so that they are more likely to be guaranteed a living.” Engineers Without Borders, the brainchild of Bernard Amadei, involves the implementation of sustainable engineering projects in developing communities, while involving and training internationally responsible engineers and engineering students. “You must help people without taking away their dignity. If all problems were technical, we’d have it all solved,” Amadei professes.

Similarly, Ian Carter launched the Sustainable Social Venture Incubator pilot this year and serves as the program manager at the University of Colorado’s AshokaU program, which supports five student run businesses and organizations. Carter believes that, “When empowered and given the opportunity, young people have the passion and ability to create systematic change, both locally and globally. What we have to start doing is realizing the potential in those around us, no matter their age, background or experience, and support them with the tools necessary to carry out their dreams.” With the support of Youth Venture, the University of Colorado’s "incubator" will help launch at least ten more social ventures this coming year. Kendra Sandoval often finds strength in the humility of her organization’s pursuits. Blue and Yellow Logic, a sustainability coalition whose motto is, “It takes more than one color to make green,” doesn’t depend on rigid structure or ego to accomplish her goals. "As social entrepreneurs, we connect people, business, government and academia to create change. You don't have to be a hero or have a title to be a changemaker. It's about connecting, caring, and taking responsibility,” she says. Wrapping up the discussion, Berry explained, “These folks are really focused – resulting from sometimes painful experiences – on how the community can support the social entrepreneur during the growth phase of their venture.” Rebecca Saltman is a social entrepreneur and the president and founder of an independent collaboration building firm designed to bridge business, government, non-profits and academia. To learn more, visit

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The nature of things

An Artist Exposé

The Nature

of Things An Artist Exposé By Susannah Connell


he Nature of Things was chosen as the primary exhibit for Denver’s 2010 Biennial of the Americas. Located in the newly renovated McNichols building, the exhibit was showcased over three floors as well as on the exterior of the Civic Center Park location. Serving as the main showcase for 24 artists from various countries within North, Central and South America, The Nature of Things gave a beautiful representation of the varying artistic styles throughout the Americas.

Lime Green Corinthian over Saturn Dublin, Jerόnimo Hagerman

Artists were hand picked based upon how their chosen aesthetic fit into the overall Biennial themes of sustainability, innovation, community and the arts. The Roman poem De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) served as the inspiration for the exhibit, laying the groundwork for a discussion of the Western Hemisphere and the voices within. Through differing countries, diverse backgrounds and innovative artistic mediums, Denver was bestowed a brilliant gift of cultural history with a fully encompassing perspective of the Americas.

rest their feet in the cascading pink shade, while contemplating their relationship to nature. Once inside, through the expansive windows, visitors can perch atop pink tinged palm trees and observe the art that is both inside and out. Hagerman creates a tropical fantasy to change visitors' current realities and to draw them into the complexities between, “the human dimension and the vegetative world.” Each of Hagerman’s projects were meant to lure the viewer into a different place and time. They provoke social awareness and present a situation for people to react around them.

United, Cypher13 Design Studio The Biennial of the Americas main stage was held at the McNichols Building in Civic Center Park. As the face of the Biennial it was only appropriate that the building’s facade be outfitted with its own unique site-specific “vegetation intervention.” The iconic three-story Greek revival temple’s Corinthian columns were draped with pink fabric representative of canopies over outdoor markets in Mexico, and then topped with planters that emblemized palm trees of the southern part of the Western Hemisphere. Created by outdoor artist Jerόnimo Hagerman, Lime Green Corinthian over Saturn Dublin, 2010, presents an aesthetic dynamic that connects outside visitors to a familiar place, while drawing the locals in to a scene they might only find in a city somewhere in Central or South America. These Corinthian palm trees hover over the handmade lime green Acapulco chairs that lie in wait for visitors to stop and

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Welcoming the public to have a seat and begin the exhibit with an open dialogue on the Americas is United, a 17-foot long interactive, three-dimensional foam map of the 35 nations commissioned for this event. The piece provided functionality as a comfortable gathering place while also prompting open discussions with its white color. The geographical shape was the creation of Cypher13

Design Studio out of Boulder, Colorado. The design team of Todd Berger, Alex Henry and Lucian Foehr created a platform for guests to cross borders physically and mentally all while opening a space for the most important detail — communication.

Arroz Riso Arborio and Moongate Escape, Lucia Koch

Continental, Karlo Andrei Ibarra

Powered by a single solar panel and glowing in neon light is Continental, a text piece created by Karlo Andrei Ibarra of Puerto Rico. Stating, “I live in America,” but written in the Spanish language is meant to help viewers think past the standard idea of America as the Western Hemisphere. The word America is typically used to describe the United States of America, which in turn allows the other countries completing the continent to be forgotten and the former to be over-emphasized. In one neon statement, Ibarra continues the conversation of borders and restrictions within the Americas and what it truly means to “live in America.”

In a double photograph installation entitled respectively, Arroz Riso Arborio and Moongate Escape, artist Lucia Koch of Sao Paulo, Brazil has created extensions of space within the McNichols Building. Typically working with light for architectural interventions within spaces of transition, Koch created two site-specific pieces using photographs portraying bottoms of cardboard boxes with windows to the outside world that she envisions.

Slow Walking Machines, Martín Alonso

E Pluribus Unum, Sandra Nakamura In a coin installation containing 347,208 pennies, E Pluribus Unum by Sandra Nakamura of Lima, Peru comments on the undocumented population of Hispanic workers living in the U.S. Each penny represents one million U.S. tax dollars paid by this population since the 1970’s. The pennies are not attached to the floor, seemingly free, yet all are tails side up showing the Latin phrase, E Pluribus Unum translating to “Plural Unit.” It is a translation of unity around the ideals upon which this country was founded. Nakamura quantifies a previously unknown population that clearly opposes that philosophy, by contributing to the system, yet surviving legally outside of it.

Upon first glance, Slow Walking Machines by Martin Alonso of Santiago, Chile appear to be static, yet wheeled objects. It takes a moment to realize that they are in fact moving, 12 inches a day at most, due to the auto vents on the machines reacting to the natural changes in air temperature. This unexpected observation is the very lesson Alonso is teaching his viewers as it applies to simple everyday happenings as well as larger social and cultural stereotypes. His lesson is: Slow down; don’t be so quick to judge or make assumptions; things may not always be, as they seem.

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The nature of things

An Artist Exposé

Rorschach America, Armando Miguelez

environment. Focused upon the dynamics of the borders of Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, California, Cruz uncovers how the same area, geographically speaking, can differ so greatly economically and architecturally. Both cities have reminders of each other within their confines, Mexican workers in San Diego and San Diego’s urban waste in Tijuana. Cruz’s ongoing research looks for answers to bring balance to such areas architecturally and socially.

The Epoch of Encroachment, Joseph Shaeffer

In a twenty-five piece series of ink silk-screens, Armando Miguelez of Mexico City, Mexico has created his own test in Rorschach America. Miguelez has doubled the image of many of the American countries to mimic the classic psychological inkblot test. Continuing to challenge one’s perceptions, this new test applies to geographic boundaries, expectations and presumptions about the nation state. What are the perceptions now?

Hijos de la Nada, An Audience-Specific Pop Experiment, Gabriel Acevedo Velarde

Nature takes the world back from mankind in the Epoch of Encroachment, a mixed media installation by Joseph Shaeffer. Based upon smaller scale pieces that Shaeffer has developed over the last three to four years, Epoch examines the idea of nature as a conscious being, one that is capable of eventually protecting itself from man’s overbearing powers. Part artistic exhibit, part scientific testing and filled with objects representing both the natural world and the man-made world, Shaeffer certainly produces an intriguing argument for the fight over this planet.

Earthscrapers or Unnatural Building, San Fratello Architects An awful act of national vandalism unexpectedly prompts racist attacks in the video installation, Hijos de la Nada by Gabriel Acevedo Velarde of Lima, Peru. Four Peruvian teenagers defaced architectural ruins in Chan Chan, Peru in January, 2010, and then uploaded it to YouTube. The reactions to the video should have been overwhelmingly horror over what was done to a national treasure, yet this took a back seat to the opposition over the vandal’s skin color. It is this very racially prejudiced reaction that Velarde blames the government for propagating and thus creating an even larger divide within the country he calls home.

Radicalizing the Local: Post Bubble Urban Strategies, Teddy Cruz In Radicalizing the Local: Post Bubble Urban Strategies, architect Teddy Cruz asks Americans to take responsibility for shaping their ( 48 )

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Harmoniously bringing together traditional manufacturing and natural architecture is the aim of Rael San Fratello Architects from Oakland, California in the ongoing research project, Earthscrapers or Unnatural Building. Through the process of three-dimensional printing and rapid prototyping the architects are able to ostensibly create any item out of any substance. Their current focus is on testing the most abundant material available (soil) for safety and strength so that it may be able to build structures

quickly and resourcefully. With the help of their research we may again one day live amongst structures that are made by the earth, but have the strength for the future.

Quasi Symmetry, Clark Richert

Clausurado, Victor Muñoz

Clausurado, a series of five photographs by artist Victor Muñoz of Medellin, Colombia are all missing one major component of a normal, thriving city – people. Shown are beautiful photographs of unsettling images of the streets of his hometown. All of the buildings are boarded up and inhabitants have since moved on to safer places, leaving behind a skeleton of a city. This forced mass exodus is due to the constant warfare over drug cartels and the guerilla combat that the residents had no choice but to try to live through. In an attempt to take a stand against the wrong doings, the homeowners barricade their doorways and windows, protecting what little remains inside. Does this simple act of defiance indicate a return of life at some point or has this city lost its heartbeat for good?

Local Code: Real Estates, Nicholas de Monchaux Taking urban planning to the next level is the idea within Local Code: Real Estates by architect Nicholas de Monchaux of Brooklyn, New York. Using San Francisco as a model and utilizing a digital mapping system over the city, Monchaux uncovers thousands of empty, unused city-owned pieces of land that are unable to be sold and are not maintained. Together these random areas of alleyways, ditches and neglected public spaces create one big opportunity for the city. These forgotten bits of land are often associated with spots of high crime and environmental issues. Through Monchaux’s projected renovations, these parcels would add positively to the community by significantly lowering costs on energy and environmental expenditures. These “spaces between places” may be small but collectively have the ability for change on a grand level.

Upon first glance, Quasi Symmetry, by Denver, Colorado artist Clark Richert appears to be a set of two beautifully patterned prints. However, like most of Richert’s works the general aesthetic is simple and pleasing to look at, but the pathway to the end result was far more technical than one would imagine. Quasi Symmetry represents the unstable controlled system that is capable of bringing balance to chaos known as the golden ratio, or pi, which can be measured by geometric forms. So it is not surprising to look closely at these patterns and realize that repetition is completely absent and the placement of all of the dots is a result of a very intricate template based in mathematics, science and nature. Since the 60’s and 70’s, Richert has been following the idea of “form follows function,” and so far it appears he has remained ahead of the game, as this suggestion is still relevant today.

Because There’s a There, Here’s Just Fine, Gregory Euclide

The landscape of the Rocky Mountains takes center stage in Because There’s a There, Here’s Just Fine by Gregory Euclide of Le Sueur, Minnesota. Euclide has created miniaturized environments for various areas within the city of Denver, complete with small versions of the snow-capped mountains surrounding the urban spaces. This topography is not just a replica of the real land, but is created out of items, natural and man-made that can be found there. The process begins by Euclide pouring paint or an adhesive over the natural location. After the liquid has dried it has now captured different pieces of the land and is representative of its surroundings. The artist helps the viewers take a closer look at where many people think they want to live and where they actually live.

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The Nature of things

An Artist Exposé

Welcome to New America, Rubén Gutiérrez In a video documentary entitled Welcome to New America by Rubén Gutiérrez of Monterrey, Mexico, an otherwise small and remote group of neighborhoods near Lima, Peru take on big personalities as they each choose to represent a different American country. These residents may not have much, but what they do have they are very proud of and keep protected behind gated entrances and flags representing their chosen country. In the video, the viewer watches a soccer match between local teams of Brazil, Mexico, Cuba and the United States on a field situated at the center of all the neighborhood entrances. Hardships may have brought all of these people together, but the desire for independence and creating a new American history sets the tone for the future.

having great strength, yet remaining lightweight. The structures can be taken apart, transported and reassembled easily, giving this idea even greater environmental benefit. Even if there is no obvious function for the piece yet, Rochas shows us the possibility for viable, sustainable building options in the future.

Dawn, Darío Escobar

Milwaukee Murals Refitted, Santiago Cucullu

In Dawn, a sculptural series of painted baseball bats, artist Darío Escobar touches on multiple facets past and present of his hometown Guatemala City, Guatemala. The initial reaction may be to the gold coloring of the bats, reminiscent of the gilded idols once worshipped in prehispanic Guatemala. Yet the more modern eye could draw out the recurrence of the bats as a symbol of the industrial assembly line that uses the inexpensive materials and labor force within Guatemala. Escobar manages to weigh down a simple object with the burden of an entire country’s history. In a floor-to-ceiling wall mural, Milwaukee Murals Refitted by Milwaukee artist Santiago Cucullu invites the viewers to make their own evaluations of the meanings within the work. The mural is a compilation of many separate images taken from various street murals found around the city of Milwaukee. The artist is allowing Vietnamese culture, Mexican labor leaders and local Milwaukee heroes to all share the same space equally. By not allowing any one subject to outshine the other, Cucullu opens the floor to new social discussions, giving these minorities back their voices that had previously been silenced.

Palas por Pistolas (Pistols for Shovels), Pedro Reyes

None of the Above, Alexis Rochas Suspended high into the ceiling is None of the Above, a lattice of lightweight metal rods created by artist Alexis Rochas of Los Angeles. The spider web of interlocking metal rods and units expands into every possible inch of existing space from where it is located. To maximize space, the units have eight possible crossbars, and the metal rods reduce waste by ( 50 )

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In the project Pistols for Shovels by Mexico City artist Pedro Reyes, viewers are given a beautiful example of finding possibility in a horrible situation. The project began in the city of Culiacan, Mexico, which at that time held the highest rate of handgun deaths in the country. With the help of the city government, 1,527

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The Nature of things

An Artist Exposé

handguns were gathered and then melted down to become shovels. Not only are these weapons now purposeful objects for everyday use, but they are also being used to plant trees in Mexico City as well as Vancouver, San Francisco, Lyon, and Denver.

Po’ e Paisagem and Cantos, Brígida Baltar

Silence Dogood, Miler Lagos

Photo By Eli Regaldo

Silence Dogood by Colombian artist Miler Lagos, is a sculptural roll of newspapers that creates an impact that could only be achieved with his chosen medium displayed in such a large quantity. Unusual to see in this technological age of electronic social media and news distribution, the newspaper represents a former moment in time. Should people be accepting of this new way of spreading news? It’s not just a question of convenience anymore; the printed word’s impact on nature cannot be overlooked, as nations are faced with depleting natural resources. Once used as Benjamin Franklin’s pseudonym, Silence Dogood is yet again grabbing attention for critical social issues.

Brazilian artist Brígida Baltar uses the most fragile of mediums (brick dust) to create objects that have always been seen as symbols of strength and endurance in Po' e Paisagem, a display of mountains similar to those surrounding her hometown of Rio de Janeiro and the U.S.'s own Rocky Mountains. Baltar began her exploration into brick dust after completing an excavation in her own home and the byproduct has since served as the vehicle for many works, including Cantos, a beautiful patterned floor installation. The artist has since added unusual materials such as dew and fog to her toolbox and enjoys employing such forms to showcase her surroundings and the natural architecture.

For Chilean artist Felipe Mujica, everything and everyone exists in relation to one another. For this reason it is clear why he chose to reinterpret the open space within the McNichols building with ceiling hung fabric panels. At the simplest level, the panels move the viewers through the space in a specific direction while giving them a glimpse of the possible final design of the building’s interior. Yet, as fluid fabric, light shows through and air adds motion to the panels allowing guests to experience a natural openness of the space. Similarly, the movement permits the mind to see the transitional and adaptable abilities of the panels, truly turning them into a work of art. ( 52 )

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Paisajes and Invisible Cities, Estefanía Peñafiel Photo By Eli Regaldo

Photo By Eli Regaldo

Untitled (fabric panels), Felipe Mujica

In Paisajes and Invisible Cities by Estefanía Peñafiel of Paris, France, one match is not enough. However, when multiples of this simple tool are employed, the results are dramatic and force the viewer to take notice. Typically thought of as destructive, fire is seen here as an opportunity for renewal in areas in need of community action. Penafiel shows that relentless actions from a cooperative effort bring about great change from even the most unlikely of instruments.

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The nature of things

Green Schooling

Green Schooling Provides

Lush Education Speaker Series Addresses a Growing Movement By Brittany Noland

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he 2010 Biennial of the Americas hosted a speaker series that integrated innovators, artists, and leaders from across the Americas to address the pressing issues and ongoing innovations affecting the Western Hemisphere. Lauren Higgins, curator of The Nature of Things Speaker Series, described it as an opportunity to “learn from and reflect on, diverse perspectives and inspiring multi-sector interdisciplinary approaches to the future of our local and hemispheric communities.” A presentation about green schooling fit perfectly with the Biennial themes. Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability, a talk given by Dr. Michael K. Stone with the Center for Ecoliteracy, was based on the book he wrote by the same title. It focused on teaching today’s children sustainability as they move through our school systems. This movement, which may sound like a new idea to some, is growing in popularity in the United States and across the globe. Green schooling goes beyond the idea of sustainability, and fosters innovation and community awareness.

part of the curriculum.” He gave an example of an elementary school that would have the teachers spend the last ten minutes of the lunch hour with the kids, overseeing and instructing them on recycling and compost habits. The teachers had it built into their union contracts that these ten minutes counted toward the academic day. This was a very real-world way for young kids to understand, not only the benefits of recycling and compost, but also how it can easily be executed at the end of a meal.

» Green schooling

goes beyond the idea of sustainability and fosters innovation and community awareness. «

Dr. Stone described sustainability as being more than eco-friendly. He said it is, “More than just keeping the Earth going, it’s how people can improve their lives and live abundantly on this finite planet. It promotes a better way of living for our children and grandchildren.” He entertained and educated the audience on the many ways sustainability creates and enhances communities by giving specific examples of when and how schooling for sustainability has been successful.

In order to explain the way schooling for sustainability works, Dr. Stone used a metaphor. He said to think of a school as an ecosystem. The way it works is similar to the way nature works - it is part of a larger system. A school is part of a physical space, a community, a city, a nation and the world. It takes in goods from these other systems, such as building materials, office supplies, food for the cafeteria, even students and staff, and changes it in some way and then sends it back out into the world. This too, comes in various forms, like graduating students who have a “deeper connection to the Earth, their community and a commitment to make the world a better place. The school may also send other goods and products, and even waste, back into the larger systems. Each step of this process," he said, "can be an opportunity for learning." The unspoken question of how this fits in with curriculum was adequately addressed. Stone said, “The answer is that it becomes

Dr. Stone included additional success stories from across the United States. For example, the city of Chicago mandated that all new city-built buildings be energy efficient. He described a school that created community and enhanced learning by priding itself on being the first “green” school in Illinois. Leaders used the building to teach the children about energy efficiency and what “green” means, while using it as model within the community for technology and energy efficient building models.

Another anecdote focused on a vegetable garden at a middle school that taught students how to grow and harvest fresh food, as well as the reward of eating it. Dr. Stone shared that even the pickiest of eaters gained. As one teacher said, “He’s picking everything in the garden and eating it!” In fact, school gardens are one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways of teaching sustainability. Stone said, “Seeds don’t cost a lot and many schools have a patch of land that isn’t being used. A lot of times this also adds to the aesthetics of the school, which in turn pleases the community.” The range of these sustainability projects can be as large as the building itself, as complex as wastewater filtering, as was done by an independent high school, or as simple as a garden. Schooling for sustainability has taken on many forms in many different school systems and climates. There are many ways schooling for sustainability can be accomplished Administrators, teachers, parents and students have successfully started green school projects with proven results. Indeed research about green schooling is abundant and there are many organizations similar to the Center for Ecoliteracy that are trying to educate the world on this new educational process. For those who are interested in this movement – you are not alone. For more information about the Center for Ecoliteracy, please visit

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The americas roundtables

Transformation in the Americas

Jim Polsfut

Transformation in

the Americas By James T. Polsfut


he last few decades have provided more than their share of headline-grabbing events. Some have been magnificent, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, others tragic, like the terrorist attacks of September 11th or the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year. These moments captured the attention of millions across the globe, and have in many ways shaped the world in which we live today. And yet in this new reality of the ten second sound byte, where dramatic incidents from around the globe briefly punctuate our airspace and then quickly disappear to make way for the next latest story, something is also lost. One’s ability to stand back and get perspective on developing trends, for example, is hampered by the barrage of information. And many of the most important, most vital and most enduring stories of our time remain ( 56 )

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untold because they don’t fit neatly into the sensationalist formula of mainstream media. The remarkable development of the Western Hemisphere and Latin America in particular, is one such case. Home to over 900 million people, the Western Hemisphere accounts for over 35% of the world’s GDP. By 2020, two dozen nations in the region will be independent from Spain and Portugal, principally, for more than 200 years. The Americas is synonymous with an abundance of natural resources, from oil to gold to copper, as well as the shared experience of European colonialism. Perhaps most importantly, almost all nations in the region, with a few notable exceptions, now have democratically-elected governments, making it one of the most prodemocracy regions in the world. In spite of all of these accomplishments, far too little attention is paid to the Americas. In

the words of Denver’s Mayor John Hickenlooper, the Americas are “like the beautiful girl next door who never gets noticed.” Or to echo the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Luis Alberto Moreno, while the public has continued to focus on problems such as drug-trafficking and emigration, the region has undergone a quiet but profound transformation. It was in the spirit of shining light on the region that Denver launched the Biennial of the Americas, the purpose of which was to promote more collaboration and cohesion among the 35 nations of the Western Hemisphere. The Americas Roundtable dialogue series, one of the key components of the Biennial, sought in a sense to fill the gap between public knowledge about the Americas and reality by providing a forum to exchange ideas and brainstorm solutions

to the region’s most pressing issues. It sought to profile through dialogue little known facts about our hemisphere. Canada, Mexico and Venezuela, for example, are the three largest oil suppliers to the United States (ahead of Saudi Arabia). Similarly, the first and third trading partners of the United States (Canada and Mexico) are also in this hemisphere. The whole notion of the Biennial was that with so much common cultural heritage, economic interdependence, and geographic proximity, it is Jim Polsfut and Martha Smith de Rangel. time for us to sit up and take The Americas are also enjoying an note of all that the girl next door has to offer. unprecedented period of sound democracy. When attention is appropriately placed on The days of military rule, strong-man the Americas, what becomes visible is a region regimes and leftist revolutions seem at last that is currently posting economic growth at to be coming to an end. And even in nations twice the U.S. rate, that has seen major gains such as Venezuela, where populist leader in the quality of and access to both education Hugo Chavez has blurred the line between and healthcare, and that is experiencing democracy and authoritarian rule, the regime the longest period of uninterrupted, stable is far less extreme than the days when Leftists democracy in its history. of the 1970s and 1980s left their mark on Perhaps nothing explains better the great nations such as Peru and Nicaragua. distances Latin America has traveled of late This broad consolidation of democracy than the astonishing rebound it has made in has ushered in a new era of collaboration the wake of the global international crisis. In and cooperation on a region-wide basis, as contrast to past experience, Latin America was seen in everything from renewable energy neither the cause of the crisis, nor did it become partnerships to a coordinated response in Haiti. a victim of the oft-seen contagion effect from As economic power and political stability have abroad. In fact, the region has weathered the grown, so too has influence in international global international crisis far better than its U.S. organizations such as the International and European counterparts. On May 1, 2010, Monetary Fund and the G-20 (a group of The Wall Street Journal observed, “For Latin twenty finance ministers and central bank America, whose economic volatility triggered governors). Brazil is currently battling for a countless international crises over the years, permanent seat on the UN Security Council. the financial mess heralds a role reversal. These Extreme poverty, one of the factors that days, it is the relatively robust economies of has typically held Latin America back, is Latin America which are fretting about … the also decreasing across the region. Thanks to sickly Old World.” Brazil, the largest economy macroeconomic stability and conditional in the region, is set to grow 7% this year, more cash transfer programs such as Bolsa Familia than three times the U.S. rate and five times in Brazil, where 30 million people have that of the Eurozone. And while Brazil is escaped extreme poverty since 2000, certainly leading the pack, most other countries and Oportunidades in Mexico, are following similar paths, with region-wide the gap between the poorest growth expected to top 4.5% in 2010. and the richest citizens is In the view of Goldman Sachs, Brazil continues to be one of the world’s four key emerging markets, Brazil, Russia, India, China (or BRIC countries). With the United States claiming only 5% of the world’s total consumers, American and international companies alike are awakening to the fact that in order to continue growing and expanding, they must look to emerging markets such as Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Brazil.

decreasing for the first time in generations. Between 2002 and 2006 countries such as Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Ecuador saw real poverty decline by more than 4%. And fewer than 2% of Chileans now live on less than $2 per day – a number comparable to Central European nations such as the Czech Republic and Hungary. This progress is encouraging, and it has also spawned new trends like an overall increase in the demand for secondary education. Equally important is the fact that with the notable exception of Haiti, every country is on track to meet the standards for access to safe drinking water outlined by the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. Expanded access to healthcare has dramatically improved life expectancy, as well as maternal and infant child mortality. Communicable diseases are certainly still devastating in some

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The americas roundtables

rural areas, but chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes are now the leading threats to health, as they are in most developed nations. With so many positive signs of progress, the region seems poised for rapid expansion and an increasing role on the world stage. And yet in order for this possibility to be transformed into reality, the nations of the Americas must also aggressively tackle some of the endemic problems that continue to threaten its bright future. Despite recent gains, poverty and income inequality continue to represent two of the greatest challenges for Latin America today. The average income of the wealthiest 20% of Latin Americans was between 10 (Uruguay) and 44 (Bolivia) times higher than the poorest

Transformation in the Americas

is to emerge as an economic and political powerhouse, it must pay heed to the words of Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) President Moreno, “Violence and organized crime have become so pervasive in some cities that they threaten hard-won political and economic progress. To address this, governments must reform law enforcement and judicial systems. More fundamentally, they need to confront the staggering inequality and lack of economic opportunity that drive so many into lives of crime.” Thankfully, there are concrete solutions to the problems confronting the region. Education is among the most critical. Latin America is

cleanest. More than 65% of electricity for the region comes from hydroelectric sources, and it is also the world’s leading producer of sugar cane ethanol. Over ninety percent of vehicles manufactured in Brazil today are flex-fuel models, many of which are made by American companies such as GM and Chrysler. The U.S. and other countries could learn valuable lessons from these examples, and every nation in the hemisphere could certainly benefit from greater energy integration. The impressive results of conditional cash transfer programs in Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Brazil and elsewhere could also serve as a model for poverty reduction in the United States.

» The Biennial of the Americas here in Denver was the first event of its kind; the first civicled effort to focus on the interaction and integration of an entire hemisphere. « 20%. And nearly 40% of Latin Americans still live below the poverty line. Trapped in an unforgiving cycle of poverty, with few resources and little education, millions of youth and adults end up turning to crime. Thus, lack of security and violence routinely top the lists of biggest concerns for those living in the region. These factors have transformed Latin America into the region with the greatest murder rate outside of Sub-Saharan Africa. Some cities in Mexico and Brazil now post murder rates higher than those of Iraq and Afghanistan. Sadly, violence is now one of the five leading causes of death in most countries and even more disturbingly, seven of the ten countries with the highest child murder rates in the world are found in Latin America. Violence, like poverty, does not select its victims equally. Those that are young, impoverished, and living in urban environments are the most likely to be killed. And those who do survive find themselves unable to enter the formal job market and earn a living wage. “Our youth are not dying of lack of food, but of lack of opportunity,” says Rodrigo Baggio, founder of the Committee for Democracy in Information Technology (CDI), a Brazilian-based NGO. If Latin America ( 58 )

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Harriet Fulbright, Amb. Larry Palmer, Lisa Quiroz, Sec. Shaun Donovan and Jim Polsfut.

approaching universal coverage and completion of primary schooling, but the quality of that schooling lags far behind the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, where average levels of education are as much as three times higher than in Latin America. Estimates show that workers in today’s knowledge economy require 12 years of formal education to ensure a decent standard of living and to keep pace with the demands of the market. If Latin America is to compete on an international level, particularly with Asia, where education is a top priority, teachers must be better trained, children must stay in school longer, and a particular focus must be placed on the education of girls, which has been shown dramatically to increase the standard of living for entire families. To secure the future of the Americas there must also be more intellectual exchange and collaboration among nations. And not just on a north to south basis, but south to north as well. Latin America has pioneered the use of fossil fuel alternatives for energy. In fact, energy in Latin America is some of the world’s

New York City has piloted a program based on these Latin American models, and other cities across the U.S. could do the same. In short, there is no shortage of innovations taking place across the hemisphere from which we could all stand to benefit if given the opportunity. The Biennial of the Americas here in Denver was the first event of its kind; the first civic-led effort to focus on the interaction and integration of an entire hemisphere. And yet the notion that collaboration leads to progress is age-old. During the Summit of the Former Heads of State at the Biennial, former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo noted that, “The Bill Gates of the world have not yet invented anything that replaces the chemistry of looking eye to eye, shaking hands and working together.” Organizers of The Biennial of the Americas couldn’t agree more. James T. Polsfut is President of The Americas Roundtable of the Biennial of the Americas and President of the Cordillera Foundation, headquartered in Denver, Colorado.

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The americas roundtables


Closing the

Education Gap By Kim DeCoste

Panelists engaging in conversation on the education roundtable.


e do not know where the next great mind of the times will be born. When this person is born, will the talent be nurtured and developed? As a hemisphere, we must recognize our collective obligation to continue to improve the public education we provide to our citizens. We must elevate program quality to ensure we are able to compete with countries outside of the Americas. We have a ways to go, but it seems we have a lot more in common than one might guess. It also seems that we have arrived at some excellent conclusions and we need the resources, talent and the will to implement. At the Roundtable on Education for the Biennial of the Americas, the distinguished

panel focused on several issues where there is an opportunity to improve services we deliver. We must stay focused. Clearly much progress has been made across the Americas, but more is needed. United States Congressman, Jared Polis, was among the first to speak and he said,

The achievement gap in the Americas affects every one of the 35 member countries. In general, it is narrower in the U.S. and Canada in some segments, but even there it is real. There are socio-economic gaps, gender gaps, race and culture gaps and language gaps, to name the obvious. There are more of these among the poor and working class. The countries that have made a strategic commitment to closing these gaps have made excellent progress. One example was Colombia where the Minister of Education, Cecilia Maria Vélez, spoke of her country’s five-step commitment to improving education. These five key steps included: 1) encouraging lifelong education for all citizens, 2) educating for innovation, 3) strengthening the education institutions themselves, 4)

» "...Human capital development is the critical competitive advantage of the future." «

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- Jared Polis

“Hemispheric human capital development is the critical competitive advantage of the future.” So what was the achievement gap identified to be? Who is most impacted?

modernizing to keep education current, and 5) participative management. With these new guidelines, Colombia has seen 1.8 million people enter its education system for the first time. These people were part of the previous gap but now account for substantial relative success. As moderator Michael Shifter pointed out, it also helps that Ms. Vélez held her post for eight years. He says that continuity of leadership and priorities is essential and has been lacking in many countries. We must fully commit to addressing the problems over the long term, he asserted, if we are to have an impact. U.S. Senator Michael Bennet agreed. He made it clear that we do have significant issues, “but not for lack of effort.” Bennet cited the increased reading gap in Colorado since 1998 as an example and said, “We have to stop treating public education as if it were somebody else’s problem.” Taking it further and to a point that echoed throughout the discussion, he said, “We must realize that the hand of God did not decree that K-12 education must begin with K.” Former Minister of Women’s Affairs for Chile, Laura Albornoz noted, though great progress has been made in her country to close the gender achievement gap, there is still a significant problem with teenage pregnancy. She and Ambassador Francisco Villagrán of Guatemala spoke about the socio-economic problems that keep the working class and poor children from finishing primary school because they are needed as family workers. They discussed the much improved literacy rates in both countries with Ambassador Villagrán citing that 95% of the children in Guatemala now attend primary school, but only 60% complete it and of the ones who do not attend, seven of ten are girls. This problem is particularly present in indigenous families. In Guatemala, they have gone so far through the “Mi Familia” program to subsidize the families to allow their children to stay in school. At the rate of approximately $37USD/week the kids have been allowed to stay in school and at least achieve basic skills through primary school. These issues are not limited to the developing countries of South America or the Caribbean. Indeed, Rose Marie McGuire, the program manager for Indian Education Programs at Denver Public Schools, said it is true in Colorado as well. While we may see an overall dropout rate around 7% in Denver for Native American students, the number is really 12%. "The programs we have are not quite offering the appropriate

U.S. Congressman Jared Polis.

language and cultural support required, so that these students can succeed. Where adjustments have been made and more native language and culture have been inserted into programming (even the obvious areas such as U.S. history), there is marked improvement for indigenous youth," she said. Then, Michael Shifter commented, "A lot can be done with the resources we have available." And we have to work to find how we can replicate successes. One such success is that of Miami Dade College in the United States. President, Dr. Eduardo Padrón, was proud to cite success statistics. While it appears on paper to be a case

study for potential failure, this school has had tremendous success with a “minority” majority. At Miami Dade, the largest portion of the students are Hispanic and AfricanAmerican. Two-thirds of the students are low income, and nearly 70% of the students are below the poverty level. Yet, with high standards and high levels of support, students begin to develop the confidence required to believe success is possible. Once they do that, they are able to succeed, even if doing so around a part-time job takes twice as long as it might for someone else. Marie Levens, director at the Department of Human Development, Education and Culture for the Organization of American States, Andrea Taylor, director of Community Affairs for Microsoft, Asha Williams, program manager for POETA Youth, and Father John Foley, executive director of the Cristo Rey Network, all offered excellent ideas around the importance of partnerships. The public school system must look to opportunities between countries, with private sector businesses and non-governmental organizations to bring forth real world, relevant programs that further educational success. As Ms. Levens pointed out, we do this partly to show support for one another and partly to learn. Certainly technology is part of the answer, Ms. Taylor asserted. Microsoft currently contributes to efforts in 110 countries to help deliver new skills to students and to create more work-ready societies. She suggested that rather than worrying about a "race to the top" that we concern ourselves with a “race to the finish line” where educated youth and adults step forward to contribute great ideas. Ms. Williams agreed and further said that it is critical to look at the gap with at-risk youth and others to find out what is needed to create programs that will have a high level of applicability in the workforce. Her work in 18 countries indicates that this information must come from private industry so public education can deliver what is needed. The private sector can also continue to drive for change at the policy level which nongovernmental agencies cannot do. Father John Foley of the Cristo Rey Network based in the U.S., talked about programs now running in 24 schools where students are given jobs and work on a rotating schedule five days per month to fund their education. Not only does it pay for their schooling, but it gives them the confidence of having worked. What was once thought to be a fine education solution became an

» "We must realize that the hand of God did not decree that K-12 education must begin with K." « - Michael Bennet

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operating model in real world experience. In the cases where young people become engaged in the job market early, they have much more self-confidence and are more dedicated to learning. Speaking on behalf of the military, Lieutenant General Michael Gould, head of the U.S. Air Force Academy underscored the value of diversity. “Better solutions come from diverse populations,” he said. In the newest class at the Academy, 28% of the 1,293 cadets are from different minority backgrounds. All participants agreed that it is this spirit of collaboration, diversity, inquisitiveness and sharing best practices

Asha Williams

Opportunities for Employment Through Technology Comes from Public-Private Partnerships


By Ian Carter

sha Williams is the program manager of Partnership in Opportunities for Employment through Technology in the Americas (POETA), a program designed to provide information and communication technology skills to marginalized and vulnerable populations. From its inception as a pilot program in Guatemala in 2004, POETA has formed over 200 private-public sector partnerships, which enabled it to expand rapidly without sacrificing its mission or reducing its ability to effectively serve its populations. “A key part of the program is capacity building of local organizations, to ensure strong continued local support for the program’s beneficiaries,” says Williams. In doing so, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza,

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» Rather than worrying about a "race to the top" we should concern ourselves with a “race to the finish line” where educated youth and adults step forward to contribute great ideas." « - Andrea Taylor

recognized POETA as a “star project in terms of private-public partnerships.” At its core, POETA recognizes the importance of alternative education for marginalized populations with skills that translate directly into jobs. Williams says, “The program empowers local organizations, at-risk youth and other vulnerable populations. However, on a personal level, the greatest impact of the program is its ability to create inclusion for these young people, particularly young people who felt there was little they could achieve prior to entering the program. Oftentimes, when we speak of educational achievement, we focus on the formal school system. POETA recognizes there are too many young people out of the formal school system in the Americas who need viable chances to develop their skills. Drop-out rates are as high as 45% before 5th grade in Nicaragua and youth unemployment rates are triple that of adult unemployment in some countries.” To address these issues, POETA is organized around five core areas of focus: POETA Centers, job-readiness training, civic education, job placement and business development, and awareness. POETA Centers are designed to maximize the importance of technology literacy in the 21st century. By partnering with Microsoft, CISCO and others, POETA Centers educate populations in a wide range of computer skills including online research and business software programs. These centers also educate the greater communities after hours and provide internet access to unconnected populations, bridging the digital divide. Since 2005, over 176,000 community members have benefited from services provided at these centers. Since 2006,

that will help to narrow the education gap across the Americas. If we continue to try to understand the challenges people face and work to solve the underlying problems collectively, we can bring forward future generations with stronger educations. We can distill from the Americas the next great minds to lead us forward if we dedicate ourselves to educating as many of our citizens as possible. As Dr. Peter Senge wrote in The Learning School, “All human beings are born with unique gifts. The healthy functioning of our community depends on its capacity to develop each gift.” In this case, the community is the entire hemisphere.

POETA has trained over 4,600 at-risk youth in job skills and since 2005, POETA has trained over 27,694 people with disabilities. Job-readiness training is provided to educate individuals who are often entering the job market for the first time. These skills include practical and necessary skills including resumé building and interviewing techniques. POETA understands that to be successful, these populations need more than job skills. Life skills are just as important. POETA’s program includes education on conflict resolution, sexual health, and other social factors that impact at-risk youth. In doing so, POETA helps these individuals confront daily challenges and readies the youth for future opportunities. POETA has worked to create opportunities for youth in the program to apply what they’ve learned with jobs. POETA hosts job fairs and works directly with businesses to expand so that they can employ more of these individuals. POETA reaches out to local governments and employers to show the importance of hiring from the educated, yet marginalized and at-risk population. Creating awareness of this is key to the sustainability and growth of POETA. As the Program Manager, Williams hopes to expand the program to more countries in the hemisphere. “At-risk youth continues to be a main development challenge for many countries in the hemisphere,” she says. The POETA model is versatile and can be adapted to serve any population. Its continued success will be based on involving actors at all levels, with one common goal, the inclusion and empowerment of the most vulnerable.

Dr. Eduardo


Education is a Matter of National Security By Phil Lawson


iami Dade College is the largest institution of higher education in the United States and enrolls and graduates more minorities than any other college or university in the country. More than 170,000 students attend the state supported college that has eight campuses and numerous outreach centers. Sixty percent of the students come from low income families; 38 percent at poverty level, but staff at the institution help students shift from a “right to fail” mindset, to a “right to succeed.” During the Biennial discussion on July 6, Dr. Eduardo Padrón, president of the college, expressed belief that, “Education is an issue of national security,” and he reiterated his concerns during our interview. He said we need to adjust our priorities when comparing the costs of education to incarceration, just in the state of Florida. He said that the traditional K-12 education of a child costs taxpayers about $6,000 per year; average university costs for each student is about $12,000 per year; but the cost to incarcerate a person costs more than $30,000 a year. “We need to make sure that we set our priorities right,” Dr. Padrón said. “Education in the 21st century is the most important industry… We know that people who do not get educated today are destined to a life of poverty… flipping burgers at ‘you know where;’ making minimum wage and not being able to sustain a family.” Q: Is the challenge that we are facing—this "achievement gap"—an

academic challenge about how to teach better or does it involve other aspects? A: It is much more complex than that. The main problem is the deficit of understanding that permeates our society today, from the highest levels of policymakers to families. During much of the 20th Century in America, most people who lived the American dream—to get a job that would allow them to get into the middle class—had work that involved their hands. Today, with the knowledge economy, that has totally changed. Manufacturing and manual labor jobs are no longer the majority. The skills that are needed today are different and because of that, not only has schooling become more difficult and the learning process more demanding, but we need to make sure that we provide access to the masses if we are going to give them a fair chance to be able to participate and to join the middle class. We have a problem right now—I think this is a transitional problem—where for the first time this generation is going to be less educated and have less of a standard of living than the generation that preceded them. That’s a real challenge. In order to get the high-wage, high-skill jobs that are in our society today, kids need to go to college—they need to get the skills that will prepare them for those jobs. When you look at unemployment statistics today, what you realize immediately is that people without a high school diploma represent three and four times the number of unemployed than the people with baccalaureate degrees. If you look at jails today, 90 percent of the people incarcerated are people who are high school dropouts. Every measure indicates that a lack of education is the main problem. For us to be able to compete in the global economy, for us to be able to retain our position of leadership in the world, we have to wake up and make education a priority. And families need to understand that. Q: How do you engage families beyond the traditional means? A: We all have to collaboratively work together. As I finished up the interview with Dr. Padrón, Diana Campoamor, President of Hispanics in Philanthropy, walked up to embrace him. And then she proudly exclaimed, “By the way, I am a product of Miami Dade Community College and I am on the next panel! If it hadn’t been for Miami Dade, I wouldn't be here.”

Michael Bennet

A Leader in Education Reform By Eli Regalado


businessman, lawyer, politician, education superintendent, and currently the junior U.S. Senator from Colorado, Michael Bennet knows what he wants to accomplish. Triumph over tribulation, Bennet was held back in the second grade due to dyslexia. Determined not to let a disability slow him down, he went on to earn a Bachelors Degree at Wesleyan University and a Juris Doctorate from Yale. During his career, he served as Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton, Director for Anschutz Investment Company, Chief of Staff for Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Superintendent for Denver Public Schools, and most recently, U.S. Senator. With a vast array of public and private experience, Bennet is a valuable asset to the people in Colorado, as well as the U.S. He is viewed as an education expert by many, including President Barack Obama, because of his expertise in turning around low performing schools. “We are falling behind the rest of the world,” says Bennet about education while he stresses reform. During the Education Roundtable, Bennet told the audience, “There has been very little improvement in reading and math. Things are not getting better. The same problems in education are being felt not only in our nation, but around the hemisphere. We need to look beyond our community to our country and our hemisphere.”

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Luanne Zurlo Changing Education One Student at a Time

By Kristin De La Oliva


uanne Zurlo, a former Wall Street securities analyst, founded Worldfund, a non-profit organization that provides grants and assistance to Latin American countries to improve English literacy in schools, while raising the quality and relevance of education there, to transform lives and break

the cycle of poverty. Since 2002, Worldfund has served more than 86,000 students in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela. The goal is to minimize the education gap of Latin American students by investing in high quality, outcome driven programs for impoverished students. The organization and its founder are particularly focused on practical skills for employment and higher education, and targets key levers of change like principals, teachers, and gifted youth who can make a difference in their communities. Zurlo said, “Not only the elite should have a quality education.” She said one key factor in a quality education is to have good teachers, which requires better training programs and improved compensation packages. Just like the U.S., Latin America is having trouble attracting and retaining top teachers because of low salaries. “If we want to bring the best people to the profession, we need to pay them well,” she commented. Oftentimes when addressing educational needs in Latin America, administrators take a bottom-up management approach, addressing the children first for example, and working up to teachers and toward the district level. Zurlo believes that it should be handled just the opposite — by using a top-down style that starts at the state or district levels. Zurlo believes that educational improvements will only occur when quality compensation, planning and training have been provided.

» Education is an issue of national security...We need to adjust our priorities when comparing the cost of education to incarceration. « - Dr. Edward Padrón

Marie Levens Starting Early By Kim DeCoste


he Organization of American States (OAS) is working on programs to support teachers. There are cross-cultural exchanges, scholarships and a very exciting new Educational Portal

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of the Americas which is a distance education tool that can be used by teachers around the Americas. Fundamentally, the OAS deals with academic issues as well as capacity building in the member states. Elevating the level of programming and working on regional accreditation has also been part of Ms. Leven’s responsibility. She has served in all levels of education – from primary to university – which enables her to address these challenges with knowledge acquired through personal experience. Teaching democratic citizenship and good practices to the youth of the Americas is central to the OAS’s goals. Reaching as many children as early as possible is a hemispheric priority. Supporting the dedicated teachers in the region is imperative. Ensuring that they have access to current resources with common standards is also vitally important. All of this work begins as early as the onset of language acquisition. The more we can do to educate the young, the better we will all fare when they come into their own as the future citizens and leaders of our respective countries. These goals are shared by all of the 35 member countries. We will work together to continue to address challenges, share best practices and innovate for the future. Ms. Levens is confident that we are making progress and that it will continue if we remain focused, keep it simple and start early.

Michael Shifter

Enormous Potential and Enormous Obstacles in Latin American Education By Allison Salisbury


ou are holding in your hands, not just a magazine, but a collection of words. Presumably you will read these words, digest and disseminate the content and share with others. Over 700 million people around the globe cannot do that: they are illiterate. Not by choice, of course, but due to circumstance. Many live in developing countries where there is a lack of access to quality education. According to Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue (IAD), the main challenge in Latin American education is finding and keeping the best educators, and improving the overall quality of the education system. Those of us in the United States tend to believe that issues facing our education system are unique to our country. A lot of common challenges exist, says Shifter. These challenges - access to quality healthcare, pervasive poverty and lack of access to quality education - are prevalent not only throughout the Western Hemisphere, but throughout the world. The Inter-American Dialogue is the leading U.S. center for policy analysis in Western Hemispheric affairs. The center brings together public and private leaders from across the Americas to address hemispheric problems and opportunities.

To that end, IAD formed the Partnership for Educational Revitalization in the Americas (PREAL). It has become one of the strongest private voices on education and education reform in Latin America. The goal is to “improve quality and equity of education by helping public and private sector organizations in the hemisphere promote informed debate on education policy and monitor progress toward improvement.” This is, according to Shifter, “Very slow. Things have been tough.” Mr. Shifter was in Denver to moderate the fascinating discussion on countries succeeding, and countries still struggling to provide quality education to all their citizens. The overall sentiment was one of hope, but a realistic acknowledgment of the enormous amount of work ahead to prepare the vast population for success in the 21st century. Extensive education monitoring programs in Chile, Peru, Argentina and Brazil are now more common. “Progress is very slow, as you have heard. If Latin America is going to get better, educators must subject themselves to these high standards of evaluations. They must be willing to have their educational systems evaluated and graded.” Shifter explained, “We have something called the 'Report Card' at the Dialogue that looks at the quality of educational systems in various countries. Once you are graded, you tend to want to improve. If you are not graded, you are not as tough on yourself. We have to be demanding!” he said. “Although progress is slow, we are seeing change. There is more of a willingness to be evaluated that didn’t exist even five years ago. Latin America must move fast to be able to compete in a global society. They are way behind countries, like Asia, which have moved so far ahead,” Shifter said. Statistics provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Oxfam and the World Bank show how Asia has surpassed Latin America in providing high quality education systems. In fact, forty years ago, the levels of economic development were nearly the same in Asia and Latin America. Since then, the growth of Asia’s economy has far surpassed that of Latin America and their high quality education systems have given them the advanced skills necessary to work in technologically sophisticated industries. Governments can play an important role in trying to shape programs and direct where the resources are needed. However, private

companies will play a vital role in funding economic and educational growth. Shifter was asked about the connection between home and school, and how important that relationship is, particularly in a society where the parents themselves may not be educated. “It is a big issue, very big. Latin America has a long way to go. There hasn’t, historically, been that involvement from the home, from the community, that we see here in the U.S. Parents must understand how important it is to have that awareness. The schools must be held accountable, and parents must be the ones who hold them accountable.” He also said that a close relationship between home and school is imperative, making parents aware that they have to be involved. Until now there has been a real separation between home and school. There has to be a change in culture, a change in thinking, and in mindset that we do not see very often, yet. How do we get higher quality, better educated teachers, and keep them there? “That is the main challenge. We have statistics that are not very encouraging. Kids are in school, but in school with teachers who themselves have serious problems, learning problems. Give them the right incentives, higher salaries and train them more effectively. Education cannot be an afterthought. It’s not just training, but the quality of that training,” said Shifter. “Latin America has shown it can do a lot of things: it can grow; and they have great democracies, but they are still way behind in education. They have to bring together all these elements if they are going to be successful. It must have priority attention by all of the players, not only governmental, but non-governmental as well as the private sector,” Shifter continued. And if guidelines remain in place, with leaders looking into the future, Latin America certainly has enormous potential to become a global leader in education. Allison Salisbury is a free-lance writer, living in Centennial, CO. She works with children with Autism and behavioral disorders for the Cherry Creek School District. Allison and her daughter, Katherine, are currently working with the Somaly Mam Foundation ( to provide outreach and awareness of Human Trafficking in the United States.

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The Global Center for Development and Democracy (GCDD, was pleased to participate in Denver's Biennial of the Americas. GCDD is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization founded in 2006 by Dr. Alejandro Toledo, the former President of Peru. The Global Center, which is located in Lima, Madrid, and Washington, D.C., is devoted to the formulation of specific public and private policy recommendations that take into account the interrelationship between poverty, social inclusion, economic growth, and democracy. Members of GCDD's International Advisory Council include Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Managing Director of the Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus; Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and President of Israel, Shimon Peres; Former President of France Jacques Chirac; Former Prime Minister of Spain Felipe González; and Secretary-General of the Iberoamerican Summit and Former President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), Enrique Iglesias. The following former presidents, who also sit on the GCDD's International Advisory Council, presented the Social Agenda for Democracy in Latin America for the Next 20 Years at the Biennial, on behalf of the 21 heads of state who participated in its creation: Alejandro Toledo (Peru, 2001-1006) Fernando de la Rúa (Argentina, 1999-2001) Carlos D. Mesa (Bolivia, 2003-2005) Nicolás Ardito Barletta (Panama, 1984-1985) Rodrigo Borja (Ecuador, 1988-1992) Vinicio Cerezo (Guatemala, 1986-1991) Gustavo Noboa (Ecuador, 2000-2003) Hipólito Mejía (Dominican Republic, 2000-2004)

GCDD implements projects in Peru, such as the initiative for “Territorial Development and Generation of Employment in the Lurin River Basin.� This project, which creates green jobs and fosters public-private-sector partnerships, is supported by the InterAmerican Foundation, and by the IADB's Multilateral Investment Fund. The Global Center is currently undertaking a Digital Democracy initiative as part of the second phase of the Social Agenda. This Project is supported by the UN Democracy Fund and the IADB, and GCDD is currently exploring additional partnerships. For more information, please contact the Global Center's International Projects Advisor, Avi Tuschman, at

The americas roundtables

Philanthropy: public and private collaboration

Participants on the Philanthropy Roundtable applaud Rigoberta Menchú Tum.

The Philanthropic


Collaborative Solutions for Pressing Needs In Our Most Vulnerable Communities By Cori Plotkin and Jane McGillem


o understand philanthropy, you must remove the old notion from your mind that only the wealthiest of individuals have the capacity to make a difference. As we move farther into the 21st century, like so much of our society’s customs, the concept of philanthropy has followed an evolutionary course. With the trying economic times casting a dark shadow on the charitable sector, not just nationwide but around the world, the definition of “philanthropist” has shifted. Today, the smallest of gifts can make a difference and the contributions of valuable human time and talent have become the foundation and strengthening force for many of the world’s charitable organizations. In this changing world, it is safe to say that everyone has the capacity to be a philanthropist. As American philanthropy evolves, countries around the world are establishing customs that bring new meaning to the act of giving. Like so many past movements that have crossed cultural boundaries, success has only been achieved as a result of strong leadership. American society would be remiss not to recognize that the time has come for collaboration with other nations if we are to ( 68 )

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successfully support the charitable sector on a grander scale. The concept of collaboration among nations was ever present throughout a moving panel discussion on the power of worldwide philanthropy during the monthlong Biennial of the Americas this past July. This unique event presented the combined voices of international philanthropic leaders, each addressing the same question – How can philanthropists, government leaders, and international aid agencies work in a more integrated fashion, both within their own countries and abroad, on behalf of other nations? In line with the spirit of the Biennial, the discussion enforced the belief that nations of the Western Hemisphere must listen to each other’s needs and collaboratively identify methods for support. Also stressed was the importance of considering cross-cultural boundaries and paying respect, not offense, to cultural differences – without this important factor, sustainable change can never be made. On July 6, 2010, nearly 1,000 observers joined together in Denver’s historic Ellie Caulkins Opera House as one-by-one an eclectic group of world leaders walked onto the stage. Each impressive individual

represented an important faction of the Western Hemisphere’s philanthropic sector. Welcoming the audience, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Timothy Schultz, president & executive director of the Denverbased Boettcher Foundation, shared brief remarks on how partnerships and strategic collaboration between the public, private and governmental sectors have shaped the Denver community over the last few decades. Mayor Hickenlooper’s words in particular set a platform for the discussion by creating a sense of pride for the philanthropic and collaborative accomplishments that we, as a society, have achieved in the last decade. Introduced one by one, the moderator welcomed to the stage the first tier of panelists: U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan; Ambassador Larry Palmer, current President of the InterAmerican Foundation and recently nominated U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela; Harriet Fulbright, President of the J. William and Harriet Fulbright Center; Steve Vetter, CEO of Partners of America; Rigoberta Menchú Tum, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner from Guatemala; and Lisa Quiroz, Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility with Time Warner.

Secretary Donovan spoke first, recalling a time in the late 1970's when widespread riots led to the destruction of a Bronx neighborhood in New York. He remembered, “The rebuilding of this neighborhood was my first experience in seeing public and private entities partnering for community benefit and development.” As this approach evolved into a model for neighborhood revitalization, so did the understanding that collaboration plays a key role in achieving success through philanthropy. Mr. Donovan then segued to the topic at hand and the discussion quickly turned to understanding the current and cross-cultural definition of philanthropy based on decades of evolutionary changes in perception. It was Ambassador Larry Palmer who was the first to say that, “The concept of philanthropy is not new; it is evolving.” As the primary representative from the American business sector, Lisa Quiroz from Time Warner agreed that, “Philanthropy is not a new idea… it is an idea that has been built from quintessential American values.” It was Ms. Quiroz who also shared the belief that as a leader in philanthropic thinking and successful endeavors, the United States has an obligation to participate in and facilitate strategic partnerships between public, government, and private sectors that help meet community needs on a global scale. Bringing together leaders from culturally differing nations is a first step in this mutual understanding – and, as made clear from the sentiment that afternoon, the United States is well positioned to take the lead in establishing a global network of philanthropic endeavors. With the audience intrigued, a second set of panelists joined the group and brought with it a fresh perspective. Representing varying nations and cultures, this group of individuals added an additional cross-cultural element to the discussion. The individuals included Dr. Paul Latortue, Dean of the Graduate School of Business, Universidad de Puerto Rico; Martha Smith de Rangel, Interim CEO of the United States/Mexico Foundation; Diana Campoamor, President of the U.S.-based Hispanics in Philanthropy; Juan Fernando Fonseca, Columbian singer and songwriter; and Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. With the welcoming of the new panelists came a shifted focus to the shared belief that citizens of the world are all interconnected, and therefore must work together to find solutions for pressing needs in our collective nations’ most vulnerable communities. Along with the sharing of thoughtful information on the current state of the charitable sector, each panelist raised poignant questions about the future of philanthropy:

n 1962, President Kennedy called for collaboration among the citizens of the Western Hemisphere. Today, some 48 years later, this inspiration toward collaboration is at the core of Partners of the Americas (Partners) and its President, Steve Vetter. Partners has become the largest volunteerbased organization promoting social, economic, and cultural development in the Western Hemisphere.  Vetter said, “We cross borders. We collaborate. And we make a difference.” Vetter oversees the organization’s 60 citizen-led partnerships between 45 U.S. states and 31 Latin American and Caribbean countries.  These partnerships are in varying fields, such as agriculture and natural resources, civil society and governance, gender and equality, as well as many others.  By connecting people from different places, valuable knowledge can be shared and relationships built.  But to build stronger ties, Partners helps promote city-to-city and state-to-state relationships — like the San Francisco/Mexico City partnership or the Colorado/Minas Gerais, Brazil relationship.

In addition to speaking English, Spanish, and Portuguese, Vetter is uniquely qualified for this position because of his extensive background in domestic and international leadership roles with private enterprise, philanthropic groups, and governmental organizations. Much of this work has focused on reducing poverty and improving the economic and social development of disenfranchised peoples.  “We are now seeing a tremendous interest in corporate social responsibility in the Latin American countries,” said Vetter during the Biennial Roundtable, “However the need for resources to fund these programs is also very real.” Just a few years after Kennedy first called for collaboration, Vetter served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia - already showing dedication to improving lives in the hemisphere. He also worked for the Inter-American Foundation (IAD), a public corporation existing to support the self-directed advancement initiatives of communities in the Caribbean and Latin America. At different times, he worked as foundation representative to the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, and Brazil; director of outreach; program vice president; and interim president. Vetter and the IAD acted in the important role of helping local NGOs to develop sources of financial sustainability to strengthen self-directed community development efforts. As the president of Eureka Communities from 1996-2005, he worked to invest in leaders of grassroots organizations by providing them fellowships enabling peer-to-peer learning throughout the U.S.  Through this endeavor, over 500 fellowships have been awarded to leaders improving education for impoverished children within their communities. Vetter, along with the organizations that he has worked with over his career, is supporting collaboration through their many programs.  By emphasizing and helping grassroots initiatives, sustainable and effective solutions can address the specific issues for the local areas in which they serve.  

What does it look like and who are the drivers? How can we, as leaders in this game, encourage our communities not to dwell on the past, but instead remain hopeful for the future? Diana Campoamor of Hispanics in Philanthropy remarked quite simply, “Philanthropists are not just rich people – we are all philanthropists… The act of philanthropy is about all of us

delivering action through interconnectedness and knowing that we have the capacity to change the world… We need to gather citizens of the world together – when we shift our minds, we shift the world with our actions.” While there is no lack of goodwill in societies, what is missing worldwide is the ability to connect individuals. It is clear from

Steve Vetter

Building Collaborative Partnerships Throughout the Hemisphere By Keenan Brugh


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this experience in the presence of great philanthropic minds that we, each with our own stake in this world, must take it upon ourselves to listen to the needs of our communities, and instill the capacity to take action. Although the definition of philanthropy is organic, the need for support has not changed. As we move farther into the future, we must identify how we as societies and cultures can work together to share best practices for sustainable

Dr. Paul R. LNever atortue Losing Hope

By Geoff Bergman


r. Paul R. Latortue, Dean of the School of Business Administration at the University of Puerto Rico, recently returned from Haiti, where he was lending help and support to his fellow Haitians facing an uphill battle in the wake of the devastating earthquake in January, 2010. Although Dr. Latortue has spent many years working in Puerto Rico, he has never forgotten his roots and has always kept close ties with Haiti and its people. He attended the Biennial to discuss the importance of philanthropy and how everyone can take part and find benefit from participating in it. He brought a message that countries like Haiti need aid now more than ever and that help and support when such devastating events occur is critically important.

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Philanthropy: public and private collaboration

growth. “We need to acknowledge the accomplishments that have already been made,” said Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, “We make progress every year and this should give the people of the world hope.” Cori Plotkin and Jane McGillem both work for Galloway Group, a Denver-based community and public relations firm. Cori holds an M.S. in public relations from the University of Denver and, as VP of

Dr. Latortue, although born in Haiti, earned all of his degrees outside its borders. Initially he received his Bachelor’s in Economics in 1969 from Inter-American University, Puerto Rico. Staying at the University for another year he received his Masters in Finance and Marketing. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Latortue traveled to the United States to study for his doctorate. In 1980, he earned his PhD in Economics at the State University of New York. Along the way, Dr. Latortue was able to become fluent in English, Spanish, French and Creole. Also in 1980, Dr. Latortue returned to Puerto Rico, where he became the director of business research at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. He stayed there for five years and during that time he was an executive board member and the treasurer of the Conseil Interregional pour les Refugies Haitiens (CIRH). There he worked with exiles and provided legal help for Haitian refugees in Puerto Rico and Florida. In 1986, he started an NGO dedicated to the extensive training of Haitian science teachers and provided agricultural credit to Haitian families in need. These projects were made possible due to the generosity and dedication of several Puerto Rican universities and government agencies. From 1995-2001, Latortue served as the executive director of Unite Centrale de Gestion in Port au Prince, whose mission was to supervise investment programs to restore country infrastructures such as repairing hospitals, schools, ports and roadways. While in Haiti he also taught economics. In 2004, he returned to Puerto Rico and took his current position as the dean of the School of Business Administration at the University of Puerto Rico. At the roundtable discussion, Dr. Latortue stressed the need for continued help and support of those in need, not just one-

Communications for Galloway Group, enjoys working with both businesses and non-profit organizations identifying ways for increasing community support. As the newest member of the Galloway Group team, Jane holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of Denver and has a particular interest in using the written word for strategic communications. To contact Cori and Jane visit www.gallowaygroup. com or email

time donations. He had high praises for the initial outpouring of aid that was given to help Haiti after the earthquake. However, he said, “Haiti is still in the most dire of situations and the people are very much still in need of the aid of other nations.” He continued, “We must keep Haiti in the media. That way, people will not soon forget about Haiti and its long road to recovery.” He urged the audience to continue to send support to the island. When asked about whether or not he thought Haiti would be able to overcome the earthquake disaster and move forward, he was very optimistic. He believes strongly in the will of the Haitian people. He believes that they are ready to build a new and better Haiti. Unfortunately the powers that be, at times, stand in the way of making that a reality. Dr. Latortue believes that his fellow countrymen must keep the faith. “No matter what happens and how bad things get, you always have your faith,” he said. For the entirety of Dr. Latortue’s professional career he has made it a point to reach out to those in need, especially his fellow Haitians. It is his belief that philanthropy is alive and well in today’s world, and he hopes that it will continue to thrive even through our current economic slowdown. Dr. Latortue is truly an exceptional example of someone who does not put himself ahead of the group and who truly believes that helping one's fellow man can be beneficial to all of mankind. We can all take a page out of Dr. Latortue’s book and strive to make philanthropic deeds and ventures a big part of our life’s work. He is well aware that a life of helping others is a long, and at times, a seemingly fruitless battle. Yet in light of that, he left the group with these words of encouragement, “Never lose hope; we must have faith in what we are working toward.”


The Colombian Singer/Songwriter Engages in Social Responsibility


By Kristin De La Oliva

uan Fernando Fonseca, known as Fonseca, won both a Latin Grammy for his hit song Te Mando Flores, (I Send You Flowers) and an MTV Latin America Tongue award for his video Como me Mira, (How You Look at Me) in 2006. Fonseca has used his popularity as a recording artist to promote more social awareness and change around the world, especially in his native Colombia. This was evident in his participation at The Americas Roundtable on Philanthropy where he shared the stage with other dignitaries. After the Roundtable session, he shared his opinions regarding Colombia’s current situation as the country moves forward from a troubled past. He said, “Currently there are partnerships within the private sector and the government. However, if they want to move forward, they need to trust each other. If a private company is going to donate a sum of money, the government must ensure that the money is used correctly to avoid corruption.” As an artist and public figure, Fonseca believes that he has a social responsibility to his community. However, he believes that everyone has social responsibility to their communities, not just public figures. He said, “Colombia is in a reconciliation process. The public’s needs must be addressed. People who have just put their guns down, those who have decided to leave the guerrilla life, need to be re-incorporated back into society.”

Harriet Fulbright Awareness and Involvement Are Key to Philanthropic Collaborations By Lucy Bryan


e may not all be Fulbright scholars, but we all have something to learn from Harriet Fulbright. Mrs. Fulbright, known for the Fulbright Scholar Program and her role as president of J. William and Harriet Fulbright Center, is a woman with experience. From her bright blue business suit to her compassionate smile, it is clear that Harriet Fulbright knows what she is doing. Luckily for others, this also translates into a great deal of wisdom, empathy, and awareness. Throughout the roundtable discussion, Fulbright demonstrated all of these qualities through her

Commenting on the political divisions that are currently happening within South America, Fonseca predicts that South America will once again be united as it has been in the past. Because the cultural union among all of the South

thoughtful engagement with the issues and her fellow dignitaries. Mrs. Fulbright, who has long been interested in Latin America, was immediately attracted to the Biennial. She said, “I thought it was really wonderful that a state in the middle of this country was enlightened enough to create this event.” Her interest in Latin America traces back to when, after her mother passed, Mrs. Fulbright’s father married an Argentine. Then, at age fifteen, Harriet spent an entire summer in Colombia. Mrs. Fulbright continued to build upon such travel and has lived abroad teaching English in Germany, Korea, and Russia. These experiences demonstrate her lifelong devotion to the field of education as well as her international interests. Her global perspective continues into the present. Right before participating in Denver’s celebration of the Western Hemisphere, she attended an event in Brussels where participants discussed leadership issues with a specific focus on women. Although Mrs. Fulbright humbly states, “I haven’t been at the forefront of the women’s movement,” she is certainly an admirable female figure. Recollecting the discrimination she and others faced in years past, she is conscious of her role as a woman and says, “I have certainly worked very hard to make sure that women do get their rightful place.” Her advice, particularly to young people, is to get involved and bond. Her global perspective reveals itself again as she advocates using the plentitude of information and communication technology at everyone's disposal. “Awareness is not enough,” Mrs. Fulbright advises. “We must not only be aware, but willing to involve ourselves in the issues that concern us.” This is, according to Fulbright, the solution. Born in New York City, Mrs. Fulbright graduated from Radcliffe College and earned her MFA from George Washington University, after which she continued to spend much of her life in the field of education.

American countries is strong, he believes that if the public and private sectors continue to work together in good faith, Colombia and other Latin countries can successfully achieve the reconciliation process and be united.

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Larry Palmer

Approaching Philanthropy with Open Ears


By Cori Plotkin and Jane McGillem

o be a successful philanthropist, one might assume that it only takes an open heart. Ambassador Larry Palmer would tell you differently. From his extensive experience as a diplomat and philanthropic inspiration, he knows that to truly make a difference, one must approach philanthropy with open ears. As President of the Inter-American Foundation, Ambassador Palmer leads the independently run U.S. government agency according to the mantra of “Tell us, and we’ll provide.” This open-ear approach to philanthropy has led to the agency’s successful funding of over 5,000 projects, to the tune of $750 million, each focused on establishing sustainable and participatory self-help programs that promote philanthropy and community stability in Latin American and Caribbean countries. Ambassador Palmer took a few minutes to share some advice from

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his years of experience identifying and facilitating opportunities for philanthropic support in the world’s most vulnerable communities. He shared insights into the world of cross-cultural philanthropy and adopting grass-roots thinking as key to making a sustainable impact. For over 40 years, Ambassador Palmer’s impressive career has been filled with positions where collaboration was a necessity. Starting his professional path as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1971, Ambassador Palmer entered the Foreign Service in 1982, serving in the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Ambassador Palmer went on to work in the U.S. State Department and eventually served as the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras – a post he proudly held until October 2005. Following his diplomatic service, Ambassador Palmer took on the role of President of the Inter-American Foundation where he led the philanthropic agency in providing funding for partnerships among grassroots and non-profit organizations, businesses and local governments. Representing an agency striving to improve quality of life and strengthen participation, accountability and democratic practices, this position was well suited for him and reflected the charitable spirit that has always driven his professional and personal endeavors. More recently, Ambassador Palmer’s cross-cultural understanding and ability to innovatively respond to international needs were once again recognized when President Barack Obama nominated him as the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela in June, 2010. Ambassador Palmer’s experience no doubt qualifies him as one of the Western Hemisphere’s most knowledgeable individuals when it comes to understanding the importance of collaboration in a world where cultural sustainability and quality of life are challenged on a daily basis. With decades of experience successfully addressing some of the developing world’s most challenging issues, Ambassador Palmer could not stress enough the importance of listening to the needs of communities before implementing plans for change. As stated by Ambassador Palmer, “We (the Inter-American Foundation) are a responsive organization. We listen to the communities we serve, hear their problems, and fund the most compelling proposals with the most realistic plans for sustainable improvements.” The philosophy of the Inter-American Foundation

is that people in need know what tools they require to achieve long-term success; thus the Foundation does not just fund vulnerable communities, but it collaborates with beneficiaries to ensure sustainability. Knowing that government agencies more often than not implement from the topdown, Ambassador Palmer believes strongly that the reverse approach is more effective. He states, “We fund from the bottom-up… the grass-roots approach has always been the most successful for us.”

» Ambassador Palmer could not stress enough the importance of listening to the needs of communities before implementing plans for change. « In a world where need is far greater than available resources, the old adage "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime” could not ring more true. Ambassador Palmer shared a poignant story that demonstrated the relevance of this saying. The Foundation once funded a project where Mexican goat farmers received educational training from international experts on effective milking and herding methods. One of the recipient farmers reported incremental increases in productivity from his small farm and shared with Ambassador Palmer that “(he) used to be a goat farmer – now (he) is a citizen of Mexico.” This transformation from individual farmer to contributor to the greater good was an intended result of the project, founded on collaboration between nations and bringing expertise to needy communities for the purpose of sustainable change. When asked how this open-ear approach to philanthropy could apply in the United States, Ambassador Palmer’s response was direct. “It is America’s job to listen. Listen to the people in our communities – they know best what they need to make lasting changes. Our people are capable, but we must instill in them a certain amount of trust if any sustainable progress is going to be made.”

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The americas roundtables

Rigoberta Menchú Tum Vision and Light By Michael Connors


hat many Latin American countries are going through right now is no less than a battle for the soul of the region, and greater partnerships are needed to help promote sustainable development. Many countries face unbearable poverty, a history of corruption, and a tragic legacy of bloody civil wars. Clearly, what is needed now is a renewed sense of collaboration and partnership to help bring down the barriers to success. And perhaps no one best personifies the soul of Latin America and exudes hope better than Rigoberta Menchú Tum. There is a gentle intensity that lies behind the eyes of Rigoberta Menchú Tum. She is a woman who has experienced all the devastation that war has to offer, and yet she is a force for what is best in humanity. Of Mayan ancestry, many know of her family’s suffering in the bloody civil war in Guatemala that lasted for more than thirty five years. Despite her fear and outrage, she was able to turn the tragic loss of so

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many so close to her — both her parents, two brothers, a sister-in-law, and three nieces and nephews were killed by Guatemalan security forces — into a passion for peace. Her endurance is truly amazing. In the tradition of the Dalai Lama and Reverend Desmond Tutu, she is a spiritual force that uplifts those around her. And her participation at the Biennial of the Americas was an inspiring example of her leadership. While the Biennial was an ideal forum in which to highlight the issues that most concern Tum, including indigenous people’s rights, poverty, war, and women’s rights, perhaps no other organization better reflects Tum’s values more than the Nobel Women’s Initiative (NWI). Looking at her work with the NWI is an ideal way to encapsulate her stance on moving Latin America and the global community forward. It is wellknown that war, disease and pestilence tend to predominantly impact women and children. In a recent report published by the Economic and Social Council, it is noted that, “Evidence shows that the loss of women’s income more adversely affected children and caused generations of families to remain in the poverty trap than the loss of men’s earnings.” “Healthy and educated women are empowered, both for the shorter term and in an inter-generational sense as their daughters grow and learn more. This leads to better decision-making on the welfare of the family and the community, a better-balanced demographic, and improved social and economic conditions in which to live within the cultural context that applies in each case,” said a study from World Population Day. Both governments and individuals around the globe are coming to understand the importance of empowering women. Tum clearly recognizes the importance of women on a global scale, but she also has a unique and powerful perspective that begins with her relationship with the six other members of the NWI. She understands that in order for meaningful relationships to develop between industries, nations and continents, people must first have meaningful relationships with those around them. During our interview, she noted that, “The Nobel Woman’s Project has various motives, but one of them is the solidarity among the six living female Nobel Prize winners. We have to have a deep connection, a profound solidarity, a

sisterhood between us. We must support all of the women who fight in conflicted areas; who are making a culture of peace, who are in mediation processes for peace, or who are educating for peace, creating peace leaders.” This statement reflects her profound understanding of the problems women face, and she has a true grasp of the solutions. Unless women are empowered as leaders and have full participation in the policy-making arena, mothers, wives, daughters and sisters all over the world will continue to suffer the disproportionate burden of poverty, violence, and subjugation.

» "We must support all of the women who fight in conflicted areas; who are making a culture of peace, who are in mediation processes for peace, or who are educating for peace, creating peace leaders." « - Rigoberta Menchú Tum

As the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) stresses, “There is a direct link between increased female labor participation and growth. It is estimated that if women’s paid employment rates were raised to the same level as men’s, America’s GDP would be nine percent higher; the euro-zone’s would be 13 percent higher, and Japan’s would be boosted by 16 percent. . . Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn ten percent of the income and own one percent of the property.” Only by close collaboration and a model of inclusion, can barriers start to crumble. Tum’s passionate commitment to women’s causes, as evidenced by her participation at the Biennial, brings hope and guidance to those in the world who truly wish to make a difference. She will stand at the pantheon of great religious leaders when her history is written, and all people will be the beneficiaries of her life’s work.


President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica 1987 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Meet this Nobel Peace Prize Winner, the man behind Costa Rica’s success story as a model of peace and prosperity, and enjoy a celebration of all things Costa Rican!

November 15, 2010

11:30am to 1:30pm

Denver Center for the Performing Arts


The americas roundtables


The Americas Roundtable

on Women Drivers of the New Economy By Rebecca Saltman


ormally I don’t choose favorites because, as a “connector” who draws the best from all parties to ensure a successful collaboration, showing favoritism gets me in trouble. However, having the incredibly good fortune to attend every one of the America’s Roundtables I get to relate the highlights from the best of all of them. And, the Roundtable on Women as the drivers of the new economy was the best, in my opinion. The setting was the inspirational Ellie Caulkins Opera House, where some of the most powerful women and men in the Western Hemisphere were introduced. There were staggered intros with each participant taking time to tell their story. The idea was to allow brief remarks to flow into open dialogue regarding the best approaches in accelerating women’s economic development. According to the World Bank, women own or operate up to one third of all private businesses in the world, and those enterprises tend to grow faster than those owned by men. Many NGOs have taken up the call to focus on women as drivers of the new economy and as agents for positive and effective change. How might women owned-and-operated businesses continue to grow and thrive? U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Ambassador Carmen Lomellin (U.S. Representative to the Organization of American States), Rigoberta Menchú Tum (1992 Nobel Peace Laureate), María Hinojosa (Senior Correspondent PBS), Rosa Rios (Treasurer, U.S. Department of Treasury), Ambassador Vilma Martinez (U.S Ambassador to Argentina), Mayu Brizuela (former Minister of Foreign Affairs in El Salvador), Beth Brooke (Global Vice Chair, Public Policy and Sustainability, Ernst & Young), Danielle Saint-Lot (Member, Vital Voices Global Leadership Network), Nell Merlino (President & CEO, Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence), Laura Albornoz (former Minister of Women’s Affairs in Chile), and Marco Antonio Orozco Arriola (Mayor, San Pedro Sacatepéquez) were ready to talk business with, by, and for the women of the world. ( 76 )

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Participants of the Roundtable on Women: Drivers of the New Economy

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper opened the event with a warm welcome to the audience and a Bob Dylan quote, "I think women rule the world and that no man has ever done anything that a woman either hasn't allowed him to do or encouraged him to do." Hickenlooper went on to say, “As women gain power and rights, solutions begin to happen to major problems.” This open mindset set the stage for the impassioned dialogues which followed. Secretary Solis was introduced and framed the conversation through her experience. While still in high school she was advised to forget college and become a secretary. I am fairly certain that guidance counselor would have been floored (Maria Hinojosa paused in her moderating at one point, exclaiming “There’s Secret Service backstage guarding a Latina – it’s too much for me!”) were he present. Ms. Solis talked about how wonderful it was to discuss women being the drivers of the new economy. She has seen female

entrepreneurs increase employment by 70,000 during this recession, while men have lost one million employees during the same period. “We see women working harder, but they are not making more,” she stated. “We need to fix that.” María Hinojosa, Senior Correspondent at PBS, introduced and moderated the panel and moved the various conversations masterfully. Between speakers at one point, she described how it was a tough process to earn her voice as the lead correspondent for PBS. “I am now a media entrepreneur, becoming the president of my own company because my show got cancelled,” she explained. “We as women look at a situation and say, ‘How am I going to change this?’ I knew that I would not be where I am if I was not inspired by other women!” Other panelists agreed that such inspired motivation was key, and that outside assistance also made the difference. But that assistance, even that motivation, was often disguised by hard work and forthright struggle. “Follow

what excites you,” exhorted Ambassador Carmen Lomellin. “I spent four years in a convent, thinking I wanted to be a nun. But that meant ending up a teacher in a steel mill. I had a family to support, but I wanted so much more. I learned from the nuns the responsibility of ‘community’ — of giving back.” Lomellin’s drive has led her to think personally and globally, in the same breath. She said, “The question should be... What kind of children are we going to leave our world?” Rosa Rios, middle child of nine and raised by a single mom, recalls her early years as fraught with challenge, as well. And yet, she made it work for her. “All of us were working by the age of 14, and the young girls were never told it was ok to excel in math or science,” she recalls. “Working taught me the tools and the skill set I needed to learn and grow.” Clearly, while the United States Treasury appreciates Ms. Rios’ qualifications and drive, there is still room for change. “Now, only 17% of the seats in the House are women,” she points out. “We can change that with the vote; there is a window here - as voters and as women. Today it’s about the 'why,' not about the 'when.' Today, it is about HOW and NOW!” Rigoberta Menchú Tum came by her Nobel status via a particularly hard road. A Quiche Mayan in Guatemala with a strong penchant for government reform, she witnessed both her activist parents being arrested and brutally murdered — her mother raped, her father burned alive — by army troops. She states, “It is important that women play protagonists, that they are never the victim. I never play victim. It's a big process to understand you need to assume leadership.” Ms. Menchú Tum does not mince words when presented analyses of the hurdles women face. She states, "A revolution has to start at a local level! I don't want to be with women who say they are apolitical. If you are apolitical you should be where there are no rights.” Beth Brooke, from the powerhouse accounting giant Ernst & Young, is recognized as a pioneer in encouraging resources for women globally. She shares Tum’s blunt appraisals. “We are angered over the difficulty in supporting women entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is about innovation. It is about the spirit within. Women get stuck with lack of access to capital and with responsibilities outside ‘the business’. When the culture of a country refuses to move, something needs to be done to support change, because talent is equally distributed but the opportunities are not.” Danielle Saint-Lot echoed Brooke’s sentiments, albeit from a “feet on the street” perspective. Her experiences in Haiti after the

Nell Merlino

One Million Women to $1 Million Dollars By Beth Parish


ell Merlino, founder and CEO of the U.S. based non-profit Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, challenged the audience to empower women because often times women-owned businesses get stuck, due to lack of resources, access to capital, limited networking skills, and familial caregiving responsibilities. Other participants on this dynamic and thought-provoking panel pointed out that women tend to be less aggressive than their male counterparts when it comes to networking ,and sometimes they don’t believe in their power as the majority in the business world. Merlino and Count Me In are out to challenge the physical, mental, actual, and perceived barriers faced by female business owners. Count Me In wants to help one million women-owned businesses, earn to $1 million. She says that these million businesses could easily translate into one trillion dollars in revenues and at least four million new jobs. When asked why she founded Count Me In, she said that diversity is the key to growth in the economy, and that women cannot be players in this economy without money and that business ownership is key to financial influence, social impact, and overall community development. Merlino pointed out that, “Many male-owned businesses have failed, and communities have faltered because they are only operating with one hand.” She argued that, “The community is stronger when it realizes that it needs both men and

women-owned businesses. Communities that empower women and help them grow small businesses to large businesses, are successful.” Merlino used an example from Norway to make her point. In the late 1990’s and the early part of this decade, most public corporate board members were male, and all lived within a ten block radius of one another. Once the homogeneous composition of these boards was brought to the public’s attention, the trade minister enacted legislation in 2003 that promoted gender and geographic diversity on boards. Boards of directors in Norway are now composed of successful men and women, and most agree that the gender diversity on corporate boards has improved performance by bringing a new perspective to issues and recommendations. In fact, today in the U.S. only 2.6% of women-owned businesses earn over one million dollars, compared to 6% of male-owned businesses. For many women, microloans have been tools that have helped them start their businesses. And while a great entry tool for some, these microloans have kept businesses small and have not allowed for a continuum of growth. She notes, “Growth is not for every woman, nor is it for every business. Women need to realize that there is a path for business growth.” And, Count Me In is committed to helping one million women understand and follow the growth path. Through events and online social media tools, Merlino’s organization helps empower the female entrepreneur to grow her business. “I believe that women are not aware of their own power,” said Merlino. “I am here to help them harness their power, solve their economic problems, and move from microbusiness entrepreneurs to large corporate owners, which leads to community leadership opportunities, public office, and corporate board participation.” As Merlino reinforces often, communities are stronger with diversity in their leadership, and she feels moving one million women towards businesses that earn over one million dollars will create jobs, bring revenues to the local economy, improve collaboration, and advance communities. Count Me In! Beth Parish is a Doctoral student teaching business classes at Regis University. She sits on the board of Rocky Mountain MicroFinance, a Colorado-based microlender committed to helping promote selfsufficiency through business ownership.

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devastating January earthquake, on behalf of Vital Voices Global Partnerships, have left her emboldened. The death and destruction were due largely to bad management and corruption, stigmas women currently in the camps strive against. “We lived without codes, without rules. Now is the moment because we have new players in the game. Women in the camps are not waiting for aid. They are in business!” Saint-Lot has been recognized internationally for her continued work in making “micro-entrepreneurship” flourish and helping Haiti recover. The U.S. Ambassador to Argentina knows well the challenges ranging throughout the Western Hemisphere, and has no qualms about applying her tart Texas wit to the issues. Vilma Martinez’s father raised her in an openly segregated San Antonio. He was both discouraged by, and discouraging about, any future prospects for her. She likes to channel Ann Landers, “The reason opportunities are often overlooked is because they are disguised as hard work. The

Hilda Solis

Your Daughter is Not College Material. Maybe She Should Become a Secretary By Annette Perez


ook around the room; each of you has a story!” Solis started enthusiastically, to a packed crowd of more than 1,000, while giving her

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only one way to prove my dad wrong was to make it... and that's what I did!” Former Chilean Minister of Women’s Affairs Laura Albornoz spoke eloquently about how women need to realize that change and advancement doesn’t “just happen.” “We need to foster women. This is not a matter of conviction - companies would be more profitable with women. We need to change our frame of mind about women and their value and invite the private sector to be part of the conversation.” “I know politics do not work,” said Marco Antonio Orozco Arriola, mayor of San Pedro Sacatepéquez. “We have to give an ear to the critical mass. If women are not taken into account on policies, there will be no change. The best ally of women is the local government. When women become participants they transform everything! We surpassed what the government gives because of women’s participation." Nell Merlino from Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence described

how Norway inculcated its male-dominated corporate structure with women to serve in positions of authority. In 2003, the parliament mandated that 40 percent of board positions on large companies be held by women, even though a majority of CEO’s in Norway said they would not find qualified female personnel. The program’s impact was immediate and nationwide. The Roundtable closed with the profound words of Rigoberta Menchú Tum, 1992 Nobel Peace Laureate. “Many times women are lonely and struggle because they don't have a network. However, I don't believe women who say they cannot. Why do you live if you cannot? We all have it within ourselves to become an agent of change.”

opening remarks. Solis unquestionably has quite a story to share. Solis was born in 1957 and has dedicated most of her life to public service. “Many Latinas did not know that they could go to college or become public servants,” said Solis. But, she has served in the U.S. House of Representatives, on the Rio Hondo Community College Board of Trustees, in the California State Assembly, and in the California State Senate just to name a few. Born to immigrant parents from Nicaragua and Mexico, she was the middle child of seven. “My parents taught us dignity, respect and amour – love. My mother’s dream was that we complete high school. It was a right. In her country it was not,” Solis said emotionally. Unfortunately, a guidance counselor advised Solis’ mother, “Your daughter is not college material. Maybe she should become a secretary.” To the dismay of her guidance counselor, Hilda Solis did become a secretary. In fact, she became the 25th United States Secretary of Labor under the Obama administration. “It was a dream come true to serve as the first Latina with a cabinet level position in the United States government,” Solis said to an outpouring of cheers and applause

from the audience members. “Women and young girls have to figure out where they are in order to move things ahead.” “I am here because I think it is wonderful to discuss women being the drivers of the new economy,” said Solis. According to recent Center for Women’s Business Research statistics, women-owned firms contribute nearly three trillion dollars to our national economy, account for 28% of all privatelyowned businesses in the U.S. and are directly responsible for 23 million jobs. Women entrepreneurs, individually and collectively, make a significant contribution to the U.S. economy, even in the face of a recession. “Women need to create networks, mentors, friends to get advice from. Women are more open as we find our confidence, in that we are going to be able to do more.” While many hurdles still exist for women, it is evident that Solis is a passionate leader who has devoted her life to breaking down barriers for women and being a public servant. She says, “Women’s ideas and desires will inspire future generations to continue to fracture encumbrances. In turn, it will continue to drive the new economy.”

Rebecca Saltman is a social entrepreneur and the president and founder of an independent collaboration building firm designed to bridge business, government, non-profits and academia.

Beth Brooke

The Third Billion: Empowered Women as Drivers of the New Economy

By Allison Salisbury

870,000,000. By any standard, an enormous number. But this number represents the amount of women who will be entering into the world of economic empowerment within the next ten years, either as employees, entrepreneurs, consumers or leaders. According to Beth Brooke, Global Vice Chair, Public Policy and Sustainability for Ernst & Young, these women are not adequately prepared for this takeover of global economics. Whether by lack of education and/or lack of support by their country, via law-of-land rights, equal pay, labor laws, or access to finance, they are unprepared. At this point, an international collaboration must begin to ready women for this global transformation. This particular roundtable was a most impressive gathering of brilliant, successful, focused and driven women. Brooke and the other participants are the embodiment of what women can achieve. I asked Ms. Brooke if she thought women were more suited to the challenges of modern society than men. “Absolutely!” was the instant reply. “We are moving into an era

where the need for what is more naturally suited to women - collaboration and open communication - the innate competencies of women are more designed for the types of jobs that are coming available,” she continued. In his introduction to Enlightened Power: How Women Are Transforming the Practice of Leadership, David Gergen writes, “Women are knocking on the door of leadership at the very moment when their talents are especially well matched with the requirements of the day.” This was evident on the panel of women at this roundtable discussion. Women are everywhere: founding and running companies, both for profit, and nonprofit; in politics; in the media; and in the case of one roundtable participant: a secretary. Well, actually, the United States Secretary of Labor. Women are everywhere! Preparing the Third Billion The term “Third Billion” refers to the number of women as an emerging market. Third in size only behind China and India. How can these women be prepared? Education, of course. Girls previously prevented from schooling are being educated in ever increasing numbers, empowering them to further break down stereotypical barriers. Brooke states, “There are so many studies which show a direct correlation between the education of girls and women and the enhancement of a country’s GDP.” However, the hurdles to educating the female gender can be imposing. Cultural bias is one of the most significant stumbling blocks to gender equality. The patriarchal mentality, pervasive in so many countries, is a difficult hurdle to overcome. Brooke expanded on this thought, “Whether it’s the culture of a country, the culture of a company, or the culture within a family unit, I think we all have a lot of unconscious bias that is a product of our social programming, in any society, about the expected roles of women in the work force, in the family and in society. That frankly is the biggest barrier.” So, how do we go about altering this mentality to enable women to forge ahead in society? Brooke doesn’t want it altered, but instead wants to change the way in which it manifests itself; traditional roles, referred to as the burden of unpaid care, fall disproportionately on women, which must be dealt with through increased flexibility, and a shift in societal programming. Society

must incorporate cultural traditions, embrace diversity and make it a win-win situation. When women are educated it creates a multiplier effect; they become more invested in their children’s education, in their communities, and therefore in their economic growth. Creating Successful Entrepreneurs How does a company such as Ernst & Young connect and promote collaboration between potential entrepreneurs? According to Brooke, through programs like E&Y’s “Entrepreneurial Winning Women.” Begun in the United States, now expanding globally, the program provides a network of successful entrepreneurs who want to give back, to mentor, and to support one another. Women brought together in this forum are a powerful force. They start businesses at twice the rate of men and actually grow them faster, but women tend to "get stuck" at a certain level. The program helps them, through collaborative efforts of networking, mentoring, providing role models, investors and advisors. Women are the “biggest, untapped economic engine of our time,” says Brooke. And she wants the world to know this. Women are moving forward at breakneck speed, whereas men are, according to an article by Jessica Grose in Slate magazine, “fixed in cultural aspic.” As the traditional “blue collar” working man fades into the history of the Industrial Revolution, women are stepping forward into leadership roles to bolster a sagging global economy. Women are creating businesses to provide the flexibility they need, while providing economic stability for their families, and contributing to the economic growth of their villages, cities and countries. Asked for a final thought, Brooke replied, “We should be doing everything in our power to scale them [women] up. Not only for the sake of their businesses and the economic potential it brings, but the research is clear - they create that multiplier effect. They are investing in their families, their children’s education, and in their communities. The multiplier effect in investing in women is greater than investing in men. I would like to support all entrepreneurs, but will lean toward women because of that multiplier effect.” And women around the globe are proving themselves worthy of that support.

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Maria Hinojosa A Woman Not Afraid to be Herself By Jeanne Brown


rom the moment she walked on the stage, Maria Hinojosa was in charge and on a mission. Moderating a panel of 12 highly acclaimed and passionate people on the topic of Women: Drivers of the New Economy seemed to be a natural task for her. It was obvious that the Senior Correspondent for PBS had prepared carefully for this role, as there was never a lapse in the tempo, or lack of a provocative personalized question to each and every panelist. She transitioned respectfully from one person to the next through an unscripted and engaging dialogue with roundtable members all the while skillfully enabling an open, spirited, and inclusive discussion. Roundtable and audience members spoke Spanish and English and although translators were provided, Hinjosa inserted real-time fluent translation in both languages to keep the continuity flowing and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the exchange of ideas and learning. It is clear that the organizers of the Biennial knew what they were doing when they asked Maria Hinojosa to facilitate this roundtable. When asked afterwards if the result was as she had planned, Hinojosa answered that she could have used a little more time because the real dialogue was just getting started. Having just walked away from a non-stop two-hour facilitation, she was still full of energy and ready to keep going. Born in Mexico City, Hinojosa is a magna cum laude graduate of Barnard

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College. It was there that she had her first journalism experience as host of a Latino radio show. She majored in Latin American studies, political economy and, women's studies. Hinojosa resides in New York City with her husband, son and daughter and uses her personal experiences as a Mexican-American career woman, wife and mother as a foundation for her writing. Maria honors her mother as the key influence for her life, career, and commitment to the topics women face. Her style is decidedly earthy and real, bringing issues to light through the stories of unsung heroes. Her unique perspective from the front lines of the real life issues in America today makes audiences both laugh and cry while she tells the stories of being a mom and working journalist in today's turbulent world. She is a recognized Latina, journalist, and author. Some of her awards include: National Association of Hispanic Journalists Radio Award, Unity Award, Top Story of the Year Award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists for her NPR story on gang members entitled "Crews”, NAMME Catalyst Award from the National Association of Minority Media Executives (2005), NAHJ top television award for CNN documentary, “Immigrant Nation: Divided Country” (2005), Emmy recognition for coverage of the September 11th attacks (2002), Latino Heritage Award from the Latino Alumni Association of Colombia University (2002), Lifetime Achievement Award from Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (2005), Hispanic Business Magazine's "100 Most Influential Latinos" (1995), Robert F. Kennedy Award for “Manhood Behind Bars” (1995), National Association of Hispanic Journalists Radio Award and New York Society of Professional Journalists Deadline Award for "Kids and Guns" (1993), Named one of the 25 “Most Influential Working Mothers” by Working Mothers Magazine, and the Associated Press award for her coverage of Mandela for WNYC Radio. Ms Hinojosa has been a producer for CBS This Morning, CBS Radio, Where We Stand with Walter Cronkite, The Osgood File and Newsbreak. She is the author of the book Crews: Gang Members Talk with Maria Hinojosa (1995) and Raising Raul: Adventures Raising Myself and My Son (2000). Maria has also been a contributing essayist in the 2004 book, Borderline Personalities: A New Generation of Latinas dish on Sex, Sass and Cultural Shifting, and in the 2006 book, Why I Stay Married.

Mayu Brizuela

Changing Roles for Women in El Salvador By Kristin De La Oliva


ayu Brizuela served as the first woman Minister of Foreign Affairs in El Salvador from 1999-2004 and has had high level positions in banking and industry. Brizuela spoke about women in El Salvador, even giving her own example of how she was named valedictorian of her high school, but had to give the title to a male classmate because she was a woman. She said, “Major change is presently occurring in El Salvador by incorporating women in education decisions. We have moved from quantity to quality. Now, all El Salvadorian children have the opportunity to go to school.” According to Brizuela, Salvadoran progress and development have been indirectly led by women. Because of the country’s civil war in the 1980s, many people, especially men, left the country, making women’s roles even more important. Women began to fight for their rights to work outside the home, get loans for businesses, have medical care, and economic support for their children. Although Brizuela believes El Salvador’s greatest achievement was achieving peace, she trusts that women will continue to be vital in improving education and politics, while proving themselves role models in the private sector.

The americas roundtables

HEALTH: TRANSNATIONAL THREATS Gustavo Noboa, Dr. José Ángel Córdova Villalobos and Dr. Douglas Jackson

Transnational Health Calls for Collaboration by Keenan Brugh


n today’s interconnected world, health issues in one country can quickly spread and challenge others. Transnational health calls for serious collaboration. That was the goal of the Biennial of the Americas’ Roundtable on Health. By bringing health experts and leaders together, the forum gave rise to intelligent dialogue based on experience and offered practical approaches regarding hemispheric concerns. Some of the topics discussed included responses to contagious outbreaks, clean water and sanitation issues, and the growing prevalence of noncommunicable diseases.  Throughout the discussion, it became apparent that the issues surrounding health are inseparably tied to other roundtable topics, such as education, poverty levels, and environmental resource use. Dr. José Angel Córdova Villalobos, Mexico’s Minister of Health, explained what it was like to recognize and respond to a ( 82 )

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contagious new strain of flu like H1N1. The pandemic was a sobering reminder of how closely the world’s health is tied together and that what happens on one side of the planet can quickly affect those on the opposite side. This reality begs cooperation.   Having systemic procedures in place

» Preventative preparation and planning along with real time communication is critical to be able to respond quickly and effectively. « allowed Mexico to quickly recognize that they were, in fact, experiencing an outbreak of a new flu strain. Despite interest group concerns about initial economic impacts, transparency allowed for a much better international understanding and response. Action plans such

as education campaigns, vaccine distribution, and thermal scanners in airports allowed contamination control efforts to be more effective. Furthermore, the cooperation of the Mexican public in conjunction with the ministry’s campaign was outstanding.  Shutting down public places in Mexico City, the most populated city in Mexico, was a huge accomplishment.  Critically important was the open communication with officials from other governments.  Such collaborative efforts allowed a quicker and more complete world understanding and prevented an even worse pandemic.  These crucial actions helped to prevent infections, saved lives, and reduced the economic impact of the virus.  This case serves as a great example of ideas that have been implemented and how these actions will influence the future of transnational health concerns.  Preventative preparation and planning along with real time communication is critical to be able to respond quickly and effectively.

Clean water and sanitation access are also critical factors for basic health. “In Central and South America, one of five do not have access to good clean water,” said roundtable moderator Dr. Douglas Jackson of Project C.U.R.E. An enormous amount of time and money is lost because people must travel long distances to collect water which prevents, primarily women and children, from working

» “In Central and South America, one out of five do not have access to good clean water.” « - Dr. Douglas Jackson

or attending school, further detracting from the economy. Additionally, those who become ill from waterborne diseases experience extreme pain and often do not have access to health care. In fact, diarrhea is one of the leading causes of death of children under five in Haiti. Even before the earthquake, children could expect to fall ill between four and six times a year.  Sanitation and infrastructure improvements have been made in many countries, but people are facing continual challenges. The Central American Water Tribunal has issued a warning about water shortages in the region’s future. They say that the amount of available water per capita has dropped by 60% since 1950 and will continue to decline.  Human environmental impacts play an important role in this decline.  In El Salvador, for example, rivers often run dry in the summer months because excessive tree clearing has altered the water cycle, explained Mauricio Cermeno of the Salvadoran Ecological Union.  People can make changes by being future-oriented, like Colombia’s National Planning Department which is working with cities to make plans to prevent a severe municipal water shortage in the future.   The great progress in health over the past 50 years is due to the combined efforts of local care providers and regional and worldwide coordination organizations such as the World Health Organization. Dr. Jon Andrus, Deputy Director of the Pan American Health Organization, has had success in many aspects of responding to transnational threats of communicable diseases like polio.  He says that, “Before, we lived in an era where infectious diseases were the biggest threat, but now, even in developing countries, the

William H. Dietz

What has caused the obesity epidemic? “Everything.”


By Phil Lawson

illiam H. Dietz, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Center for Disease Control, served as a contributor at the Healthcare Roundtable where he expounded on the causes of obesity throughout the Americas and their effects on the healthcare system. His comments about obesity—that the causes are not really known were central to the discussion. He said, “I’m often asked what has changed to cause this epidemic and the answer is ‘everything'- the way we eat, the way we produce foods, the way we get from one place to another. Thirty years ago most children walked to school… I am not sure that trying to think about what the cause is, is as productive as trying to identify effective solutions.” Dr. Dietz outlined target behaviors and strategies that the CDC has identified to help promote change. They included simple things like physical activity, increased rates of breast feeding, increased fruit and vegetable consumption, reduced television viewing, reduced consumption of sugarsweetened beverages, and the reduced intake of fast foods or high-calorie foods. Dietz further elaborated on these strategies. He said, “The key to increased

fruits and vegetables is improving access; about 30 percent of this country does not have access to supermarkets where they can buy healthy food at reasonable prices or where there are healthy foods. Dietz explained, “Alternatives to sugar-sweetened beverages, like water in schools, is also very important. But, it turns out in Boston many schools can’t use their water supply because it comes through lead pipes.” Other strategies involve social support for breast feeding—what Dr. Dietz described as, “Baby friendly hospitals where breast feeding is the expectation, and where formula is not the default.” “What we are trying to do with respect to these strategies is think about environmental changes driven by policy,” Dietz said, zeroing in on an additional challenge expressed by another speaker during the July 8th session. “We heard today that this is often characterized as an ‘issue of personal responsibility.’ Well, people need to make the right choices, but in order to make the right choices they have to have those choices to make. And in many cases those choices are not available—the easy choices are not readily accessible. So we are focused on ways to make that an easier choice.” Because obesity, which is a singular issue, is wrapped in a complex interconnected set of actions, what is one to do? Dietz says that, “Systemic changes are going to be required. The environment is what has changed, and what has led to the issue of obesity. Changing that environment in a healthier way is what our goal has become.” William H. Dietz, M.D., Ph.D., is the Director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity at the CDC. Prior to his appointment to the CDC, he was a Professor of Pediatrics at the Tufts University School of Medicine, and Director of Clinical Nutrition at the Floating Hospital of New England Medical Center Hospitals. He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970 and a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, a recipient of the HolroydSherry Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics for his contributions to the field of children and the media, and the recipient of the 2006 Nutrition Research award from the AAP for outstanding research in pediatric nutrition.

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greatest cause of death is non-communicable diseases.” Of course contagious diseases still remain a threat, but this change is a sign of the progress that has been made and the new challenges that must still be faced.  Dr. Andrus believes the health gains achieved through safe water, immunization, and sanitation will be reversed if we don’t tackle childhood obesity.  “We see a lot of people who have what could be considered

Dr. Felicia Knaul From Adversity, Inspirational Change By Heather Grady


ancer survivor, women’s advocate, voice of the poor, researcher and Director of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative, Felicia Knaul is on a mission to change the face of chronic disease and healthcare for the poor and impoverished in Latin America. A Canadian citizen who lives half of the year in Boston and half of the year in Cuernavaca, Mexico, Dr. Knaul provided a broad, personal perspective to issues of chronic disease, poverty and intergovernmental cooperation. She brought a deep understanding of the long term economic impact of not addressing problems of healthcare. Saying that chronic health is a personal issue for Dr. Knaul is an understatement. Her husband, Julio Frenk, is the former national health minister of Mexico, current head of Harvard’s School of Public Health and Felicia’s partner through her bout with

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a self-induced disease,” says Dr. Patricia Gabow, CEO of Denver Health and Hospital. “We need to give people the tools to take control of their own health,” said Dr. Jeffrey Sturchio, President of Global Health Councils. This Roundtable was an eye opening experience. Health is not an isolated issue but it is inextricably linked to other concerns. Health requires cooperation

between individuals, communities, health care professionals, businesses, governments, and international organizations. When asked about the value of events like the Biennial Roundtables, Dr. Jon Andrus said, “You can always meet someone who has a connection that can help you with your mission’s work.” He said, “People working together are the key to a healthier future."

cancer. Her own career accolades include government, academic and non-profit positions conducting research and advising on health policies and health systems throughout the Americas. Using her own story as a breast cancer survivor to guide and inspire, Dr. Knaul has worked tirelessly to change perceptions of cancer and other chronic diseases in developing countries. When she was diagnosed in 2006, Knaul underwent multiple surgeries and started a nationwide early detection project for breast cancer in Mexico. As she sees it, the biggest challenges to improved healthcare lay in altering perceptions of chronic disease at both individual and state levels. Women need to be empowered to seek preventative services for themselves and their families. They need to preconceive breast cancer not as a cultural stigma that leads to isolation, but as a disease that can be treated, more easily if detected early. Women need to be a source of strength and advocacy for preventative healthcare in developing countries. At the state level, cancer needs to be understood as a disease of the poor. Policies should focus on improving health systems overall and bringing first and second level care to rural populations. Dr. Knaul emphasizes the profound role of education and awareness, supported by research and data, in decreasing fear in the area of healthcare. How do you empower women in developing countries to participate in their own healthcare? Empowerment comes from the belief that all people have the knowledge and the tools to act. We must educate women on prevention – on basic health and nutrition for themselves and their families. We must provide them with information on how to access existing health services. We must create educational forums on how to navigate health systems. Accessing healthcare needs to be less

intimidating. We must provide statistics in a meaningful, personal way to demonstrate the positive aspects of prevention and treatment. What we know is if we support the family, we can prevent much of what we see. How do you create opportunities for transnational cooperation on these issues? We must share stories of what is working and what is not working. Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) is one example of policy that is working to change behavior and outcomes in

» "Empowerment comes from the belief that you have the knowledge and the tools to act." « - Dr. Felicia Knaul

health - households need to change specific behaviors to receive cash. Also, look for organizations that work in multiple countries and create public/ private partnerships to address these issues collectively. Dr. Felicia Knaul’s commitment to the health of women and families is admirable. While her personal experience with breast cancer provides the motivation, her research provides support for her mission. Dr. Knaul has the ability to cross the lines of academia, government and the private sector to raise awareness, build partnerships, create programs and make a difference in the lives of women and families throughout the Americas. She embodies the vision of the Biennial of the Americas and demonstrates what is possible when people come together with passion, knowledge and commitment to cooperation.

Jeffrey Sturchio Confronting Transnational Health Threats By Jenny Spencer


he president and CEO of Project C.U.R.E., the Mexican Secretary of Health, and a previous Merck vice president may seem like a mismatched group. They clearly have very different backgrounds and from the differences between nonprofit, governmental, and corporate organizations they probably do not agree on the best approaches to most problems, let alone issues as complex as global public health. However, at The Americas Roundtable on Health: Transnational Threats at the Biennial of the Americas, Dr. Jeffrey Sturchio explained that creating diverse groups like these, from local clinics, to policymakers, to multinational corporations, is one of the most important pieces in addressing healthcare issues in the Western Hemisphere. Dr. Sturchio’s commitment to global health did not come from working directly with suffering patients, but emerged from his experience at the pharmaceutical company Merck, where, as vice president of corporate responsibility, he observed the power of public-private partnerships to combat and eliminate public health threats.

River blindness is a disease that used to be found in 35 countries throughout the world, primarily in Africa and Central America. However, Merck was able to significantly decrease, and even eliminate river blindness in some countries by facilitating a partnership that included ministries of health, non-governmental organizations, the WHO, UNICEF, and the World Bank. It is this model that Sturchio points toward when asked about how to combat other transnational health threats. “It was a case where each of the partners contributed one of the resources that they had and it had a tremendous impact – that’s the way forward for many of the challenges we face.” Partnerships like this have become more common in recent years as all sectors of society are using their unique resources and skills to contribute to public health solutions. Sturchio says that companies can contribute through the discovery and development of products like new drugs and vaccines and by refining processes to deliver them through supply chain management and organizational planning. Merck not only donated drugs to combat river blindness, but also organized an expert committee which developed an effective distribution system. Essentially, Merck developed and delivered the healthcare product; the government facilitated the policy framework and program, and nongovernmental organizations focused on strategic implementation. Each sector used its own strengths to combat the disease at every angle. In addition to outside organizations, individual communities play an important role in addressing their own needs. As Sturchio pointed out when communities are empowered to advocate for themselves, they can force influential people to pay attention. He said, “One of the things that has enabled us as the global community to really make progress was that the communities and the people who were involved made it impossible for the politicians to ignore it, made it impossible for the medical community to ignore it, and made it impossible for the communities they live in to ignore it.” River blindness is now history in some Central American nations thanks to the Merck collaboration. However, HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, cancer, cardiovascular

disease, diabetes, and other diseases are still rampant, not only in Central America but throughout the world. Dr. Sturchio’s now works as president and CEO of Global Health Councils (GHC), an organization dedicated to brokering cross-sector public health solutions. GHC acts as a convener and neutral marketplace of ideas, encouraging all types of organizations to gather to compare notes and determine how to work together for the health of the world’s people. The organization is both a voice for

» Creating diverse groups like these, from local clinics, to policymakers, to multinational corporations, is one of the most important pieces in addressing healthcare issues in the Western Hemisphere. « action, as demonstrated through programs like the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, and a voice for progress, ensuring that the latest best practices and medical advancements are shared through platforms including Global Health magazine and an annual conference. To explain his passion for encouraging corporate participation in public health, and collaboration across different sectors in society, Dr. Sturchio remarks, “Without working together and identifying the issues, identifying what the individual partners can contribute and their objectives, we won’t get very far.” Jenny Spencer is completing her B.A. in International Affairs at the University of Colorado. She is interested in social entrepreneurship, cross-sector partnerships, and international development. In her spare time, she volunteers as a youth leader for an incredible group of freshmen girls. Jenny is an independent writer for ICOSA.

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Poverty reduction: politics and strategies

No One Solution to Poverty in the Hemisphere By Beth Parish

Participants engaging in dialogue on poverty reduction.


homas Farer, Dean of the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver opened The Americas Roundtable on Poverty Reduction with an interesting question, “Do citizens have a right to be rescued from extreme poverty by their government?” He challenged the audience to think about whether non-poverty is a right in the way that education, fair and equal treatment under the law, and fair wages are rights. Farer added the caveat of rescue from poverty within the context of state resources, one’s political leanings, cultural views, social background, and current economic status and concluded that these things could lead one to believe non-poverty is a right or a status to be earned. While not able to resolve this issue, Farer highlighted that no current political or economic system has developed a model that demonstrates a superior way to promote

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economic rights. John Hickenlooper, Mayor of Denver, echoed Farer and asserted that while poverty is deeply seeded in the U.S. and throughout the hemisphere, no government, non-governmental organization (NGO), non-profit or business working by itself will alleviate poverty. Poverty can only be addressed through the creation of wealth, and collaboration is the key. A panel made up of former and current ambassadors, a sitting assistant secretary of state, two former heads of state, a journalist, representatives from the non-profit community, and senior leadership representing the for-profit sector, the Poverty Reduction Roundtable brought together individuals who work on a daily basis on poverty reduction issues throughout North and South America. While no one solution was delivered, this esteemed group of panelists did agree that while our region of the world has had great growth [ continued on page 88 ]


BPoverty rownfield Reduction Takes Comprehensive Solutions


By Annette Perez

he Biennial Roundtable on Poverty Reduction focused on the dedication of governments, corporations and NGO’s to fight to reduce poverty in the Western Hemisphere. In particular the roundtable discussed the root causes of poverty and how to work from a proactive approach rather than a reactive approach. During the session, U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, William Brownfield remarked on the extreme poverty prevalent in the hemisphere. Brownfield acknowledged that, “A large number of Colombians are coming to America without documentation.”

In fact, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean reports that 35% of the entire Colombian population lives in poverty and 17%, or more than 9.6 million people, live in extreme poverty. And, the poverty situation continues to worsen during the recession. Today the main sources of employment in Colombia are the agricultural, manufacturing, transportation and construction industries, which are unfortunately suffering the worst effects. As a result, social and economic development is becoming a focus, instead of just security. “Today there are three areas we focus on – drugs, security and economic development,” said Brownfield. “Washington must adopt a broad strategic vision for a multidimensional relationship based on cooperation in trade, energy, the environment, social programs, and human rights. The U.S. should look beyond crises toward the advancement of the Colombian economy and society as a whole. We must turn this bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Colombia into a long-term, sustainable relationship,” he said. Brownfield believes that to address the root causes of poverty, we must have comprehensive solutions. He used a farming analogy to make his point. “If you give a farmer corn and he does not know how to grow it, then give the farmer a hoe and plow. If the farmer has no road to move the product, then give him a road. If the farmer has children, then send them to school.” As a U.S. diplomat serving in difficult countries, Brownfield does not come without controversy. In 2007, he was threatened with expulsion from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for “provoking the Venezuelan people.” Brownfield served as the United States Ambassador to Venezuela from 2004 to 2007 and before that as United States Ambassador to Chile for two years. Because of his experience in the region, he was appointed as the United States Ambassador to Colombia on August 21, 2007. Brownfield is married to the former United States Ambassador to the Philippines, Kristie Kenney. Although he was not born in the state of Texas, he considers himself a selfproclaimed Texan.

Oscar Morales

One Million Voices Against FARC By Keenan Brugh


n 2008, Oscar Morales was a regular Colombian citizen, and, like many others, was infuriated about the violence of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). While originally “fighting for the people,” FARC had strayed from its ideals, a side effect of decades of violent authority changing hands.  Attacks on infrastructure and innocent citizens hurt thousands and terrified millions.  Wanting to take a stand, Morales created a Facebook group, “One Million Voices Against FARC,” which used social media to illuminate the atrocities of the organization. Within a month, the use of social media gave a voice to over 12 million Morales supporters who were outraged by FARC activities. Morales and supporters organized protests in Colombia and cities around the world, and that public voice gave rise to public and political momentum against FARC.  Although FARC still exists, its numbers are the lowest in its history.

FARC has returned hundreds of kidnapping victims, and it is clear the group’s terrorizing violence is no longer tolerated. Morales and these protests are in accord with Colombia’s changes over the last decade. The multi-faceted issues surrounding poverty reduction are major goals for citizens, governments, and business interests alike.   Ambassador Brownfield, another Roundtable participant, discussed the infrastructure and security issues of the country and used a poor rural farmer as the example. They said that even with the seeds to grow crops, the tools to harvest, and access to a truck and road to transport the goods, none of it mattered if the farmer was going to be robbed, kidnapped, or killed while driving his crops to the market — begging the question: Is security a central issue to poverty reduction measures? Morales said, “Violence can end and destroy lives.  Communities hurt. Countries suffer. In order to increase the well-being of a population, it is important to have stable and secure environments in order to invite investment, such as that of a small farmer investing labor into a crop.” Ambassador Brownfield added,  “They need to have a good sense of the risk and return.  The lack of security discourages investments and that capital is invested in a safer venture.  As a country with a violent history, Colombia is now a shining example of the benefits of increased security for its citizens and business communities.” One Million Voices is a fascinating case because of its use of social media to engage otherwise disconnected communities through social media platforms. These platforms allowed for discussion and action initiatives to be organized on an unprecedented level.  As access becomes more widespread and as people learn more about their capabilities, people are going to be using the latest media to influence their world.   Morales stressed the importance of citizens interacting in the political arena by saying, “Such direct political and media access has never been possible before this century’s Internet and mobile media innovations, especially to the poor.  Previously disenfranchised people now have a voice, especially when speaking in concert with others.  It’s a new channel for democratic discussion and action and a new era in global citizen politics.”  Morales' success is an open invitation for others to begin to share their crisis observations, discuss their concerns, invoke passions, and incite action.

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[ continued from page 86 ] and development, the Western Hemisphere continues to have the greatest degree of economic inequality in the world. Ambassador Harriet Babbitt, former Ambassador from the United States to the Organization of American States, highlighted that while we are seeing a decrease in inequality, 20 of the most unequal nations in the world fall in our hemisphere. The panel discussed public policy, NGO intervention, and for-profit initiatives that have helped address extreme poverty in North and South America. Public policy programs, like conditional cash transfers that offered funds

Poverty reduction: politics and strategies

and free internet. The Presidents went on to say that while infrastructure needs were important, there must also be a profound respect for human rights, the rule of law, and rights of the press; the fight for human rights gives a voice to the extreme poor. Former President Toledo reminded the audience that the poor have dignity, adapting the adage of teaching a man to fish; he admonished the listeners not to give the fish away because the poor are screaming for the right to learn how to fish. As a securities analyst, Luanne Zurlo saw, in practice, what the former Presidents were talking about; companies in Latin

given the resources. With a focus on English language skills, science, and math, Zurlo highlighted that these practical skills will help area residents get jobs that will bring economic growth to the region. Playing on the theme of collaboration, Hugo Llorens, the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, challenged the donor population to look at how they can strengthen the community so democracy can thrive and deliver the "goods." While Honduras is coming out of crisis, the public’s faith in politicians, the media, businesses, institutions, and community organizations is low. Education is critical; access

Carlos D. Mesa (former President of Bolivia), Amb. Harriet Babbitt (former Ambassador to the Organization of American States) and Jim Polsfut (President of the Americas Roundtables).

for women for keeping their children in school, were highlighted as successful tools for poverty reduction in several regions. Many panelists mentioned microcredit programs that provide small loans to start businesses, as a means to help with poverty alleviation. While these programs address poverty, it was the former heads of state who brought the conversation back to infrastructure. Carlos Mesa, former President of Bolivia, stressed that education was the answer to solving extreme poverty in Bolivia and Latin America. As the former President of one of the poorest nations in the hemisphere, Mesa stressed that without quality education and a viable infrastructure, poverty alleviation policies like conditional cash transfers would not work. Alejandro Toledo, the former President of Peru, added that the poor need access to clean water, healthcare, education, ( 88 )

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Âť No current political or economic system has developed a model that demonstrates a superior way to promote economic rights. ÂŤ America did not have an educated labor force from which to hire. With this issue in mind, she is now working on stimulating economic development through the training of great teachers. As the President of Worldfund, Zurlo has seen the direct relationship between quality education and economic growth. Going a step beyond the educational needs Mesa identified, Worldfund believes that the key to poverty alleviation is teacher quality. While there are many teachers in the region who want to do well, many are not

to quality healthcare is vital, and citizens need to understand the benefits of free trade, free enterprise, and connections to foreign markets. Danielle Saint-Lot, from Haiti, is a member of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network. After the devastating earthquake in January, monies had been committed to help Haiti rebuild. While NGOs have been of some help, they are also part of the problem; instead of non-profit organizations, Saint-Lot advocated for organizations like the Small Business Administration (SBA), Small Business Development Communities (SBDCs), community colleges, and universities. In addition to stimulating business growth, she said the key to the investment in Haiti is the accountability and the enforcement of the existing laws. SaintLot said that Haiti does not have a law problem, rather, corruption has caused a law enforcement problem. As other panel speakers noted,

The Organization of American States (OAS) brings together the nations of the Western hemisphere to promote democracy, strengthen human rights, foster peace and security, and address the problems caused by poverty, terrorism, drugs and corruption. Based in Washington, D.C., the OAS is the region’s principal multilateral forum for political dialogue and collective action. During 2010 the OAS has been celebrating the centennial of its emblematic building, the House of the Americas. The historic headquarters, located two blocks away from the White House, has a remarkable patio with rare tropical plants. Prominent among the lush vegetation is the historic OAS Peace Tree, which on April 26, 1910 was planted by President William H. Taft during the dedication of the building.

On July 12, Ambassador Adam Blackwell, OAS Secretary for External Affairs, planted the sapling of the 100year old OAS Peace Tree at the Denver Botanic Garden as a symbol of the Organization’s dedication to these core values for the next 100 years. Having an offspring of the OAS Peace Tree in the heart of the city of Denver symbolizes the interest that the OAS has in supporting the city’s ever-growing role as a leader within the hemispheric community, and represent’s the Organization’s interest in reaching out to new groups and new voices as partners on meeting our goals of a peaceful, democratic and prosperous hemisphere.

The americas roundtables

infrastructure has also facilitated the poverty problem in her country; poor construction, lack of building code enforcement, and lack of infrastructure exacerbated the fatalities caused by the earthquake. U.S. Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield took the infrastructure and education conversation one step further, reminding the audience that countries like Colombia, that are able to move forward and focus on economic development, the plan must be comprehensive. Using the example of a corn farmer, just offering a barrel of corn seed is not enough if the farmer does not know how to grow corn, does not have the tools to plant corn, does not have transportation to get the corn to market, and does not have a road on which to drive. The corn farmer might also fail if he does not have a school for his children, does not have help caring for his elders, and does not have access to healthcare when he is sick. Any economic development plan must comprehensively consider all of these issues. The comprehensive plan is critical for countries like Colombia who are trying to move their farmers away from growing plants used to make illegal drugs. Oscar Morales, Executive President of One Million Voices Foundation in Colombia, noted that the fight to move his country forward, especially when it comes to solving security issues, cannot only be the responsibility of the government. He said, “If only the government is responsible, then the country will not be safe.” Morales used social media as a viable tool to help citizens raise awareness about, and address the specifics of terrorist activities. On the panel there were calls for progressive taxes that placed the tax burden on the rich and equally fervent calls for less taxes on the rich. One panelist noted that we need more rich people and we should not try to get rid of the rich, but instead, should try to get rid of the poor. While the panelists did not agree on one path to alleviating poverty in the region, everyone echoed the reoccurring themes of infrastructure, education, healthcare, and business. In addition to these themes, there is agreement that citizens must have trust in public institutions, must understand that corruption exacerbates poverty, and that collaboration between government, business, and the non-profit sector is critical for economic growth. Beth Parish is working on her Doctorate in Organizational Leadership. In addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate business classes, Beth sits on the board of Rocky Mountain Microfinance and a Colorado based non-profit committed to helping individuals reach selfsufficiency through business ownership.

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Poverty reduction: politics and strategies

Danielle Saint-Lot

Educating Women to be Pillars of Society By Andrew Thompson


t is now, in the aftermath of Haiti’s crippling earthquake that a new renaissance can surface and rebuilding can begin. Through the leadership of Danielle Saint-Lot, co-founder and President of Femmes en Democratie, a non-governmental organization and Global Network Affiliate Chapter of Vital Voices, women across Haiti can envision a life filled with better economic opportunities and hope for a more progressive view of women’s rights. In a country where women represent 52 percent of the population, it is shocking to see a majority of their human rights squandered. Women in Haiti are usually the representative majority of household leaders, yet most do not make enough money to support their family and are the victims of horrific sex crimes. According to the U.N. Development Program’s Western Hemisphere Gender Index, because of the country's laissez-faire political stance on gender rights and equality, Haitian women rank the lowest in contraceptive use, teenmarriage and primary school enrollment. Because of these reasons Saint-Lot has been a proponent of educational programs that will encourage and empower women within the communities of Haiti to seek

training, become empowered and support not only themselves but their families as well. Through education and job creation, SaintLot believes that women’s lives can be greatly improved. “I focus more on economics and business in addition to human rights. We can change the face of Haiti by investing in community colleges and education — money needs to go into educational institutions,” said Saint-Lot during the Biennial of the Americas Roundtable on Poverty Reduction. By increasing educational programs and giving women an opportunity to learn a new skill or trade, it is possible to create economic prosperity for all. Femmes en Democratie invites women to participate in workshops where they can exchange best practices and share experiences and information that can lead to consistent careers within growing industries such as agriculture, textiles, tourism and construction, where the lack of trained laborers are needed. During the Roundtable on Women: Drivers of the New Economy, Saint-Lot commented on the recent issues in Haiti, “I just want to thank America’s response to us. What happened in Haiti was about bad management. We lived without codes and rules. But we have new players in the game. Women in the camps are not waiting for aid; they are trying to go into business. The story of these women is not being shared.” The political chasm within the small Caribbean nation allows for only five percent of their parliamentary seats to women. Because there are hardly any women holding political seats, there is nobody to be a voice for the injustices and inequalities that they face. It is the emergence of leaders like Saint-Lot who will be able to make a difference for the future of Haitian women. As the first female minister of commerce, industry and tourism, Saint-Lot proves to be one of Haiti’s best hopes for change. Before the disaster, businesses and civic culture were "set in stone." Now the question is...what will emerge from the rubble? While it is inevitable that Haiti will rebuild, Saint-Lot is concerned with replacing injustice with opportunity and quelling violence with newfound strength. She hopes that with reaffirmation and collective support through mentorship, women will rise above and become empowered to change their surroundings, their station, and create a Haiti where women have not only a face but a voice within their communities.

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The americas roundtables

International Trade: leveraging partnerships for sustainable economies Participants on the roundtable on trade.

International Trade in the

Western Hemisphere Creating Sustainable Economies By Cary Good and Jan Mazotti


uring the Roundtable on Trade: Leveraging Partnerships for Sustainable Economies some very interesting information about the hemisphere emerged – like the combined GDP is more than $19 trillion - almost 30 percent of the world’s GDP. It was apparent that the hemisphere was a bigger trade contender than most previously thought. Discussions focused on the value of attempting to leverage current trade agreements while pushing for the ratification of pending agreements with Colombia and Panama, and while stressing the importance of fair competition, encouraging transparent rule-making procedures as well as nondiscriminatory laws and regulations. Just prior to the Biennial events, President Obama announced the National Export Initiative which is expected to double the amount of U.S. exports over the next five years while creating jobs and stimulating business development. Through the discussion it was clear that government officials and business leaders alike were focused on trade agreements. “At the policy level, this shows that we need strong institutions and infrastructure to be catalysts to engage ( 92 )

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policymakers and businessmen,” said Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, Suresh Kumar. Important to recognize is that Latin America is not one country — one cannot talk about the hemisphere as one entity; the countries must be recognized by their differences. Co-Managing Partner at Farallon Capital Management, Thomas Steyer said, “Americans do not have a current up-to-date understanding of South America. Do not think of Latin American as one entity, as all countries are very different.” Brazil, for example, has formed a meaningful trading partnership with China while many other South American countries are actively trading with Canada. There are incredible places to invest within the hemisphere — places with stable legal systems and with governments that support the idea of private enterprise. “Colombia, Peru, and Chile are on fire right now!” said Steyer. The incredible trading relationship between the U.S. and Canada is the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world, with the equivalent trading of $1.5 billion a day in goods and about 300,000 people per day crossing the shared border.

“Trade eventually brings people together,” said Kumar. It is a means to create wealth that can then be re-invested back into infrastructure, which helps bring up the overall quality of life. “Being export ready needs to be reflected in the countries democracies. Some of these countries don't have the tax structure to generate the revenue,” said Adam Blackwell of the Organization of the American States. It is a perfect time to re-evaluate trade agreements while businesses across the nations learn just how they can connect to the right technology, businesses and products within these countries. For example, Liberty Global, a multibillion dollar U.S.-based telecommunications company is investing heavily in the Americas. “We have 27 million subscribers in 14 countries and while we are trying to meet the demands of the markets, we continuously work to promote information sharing throughout the region,” said Liberty Global’s CEO Michael Fries. Beatrice Rangel, president and CEO of AMLA Consulting agreed. She said, “Global support for access to knowledge in the hemisphere is essential.” While markets may have significant growth opportunities, the roundtable [ continued on page 94 ]

Thomas Steyer

Is the Highest Return on Investment Always the Best Formula?


By Phil Lawson

andering the aisles of a new Do-it-Yourself (DIY) store during his last visit to Latin America, Thomas Steyer, Founder of Farallon Capital Management, was moved by the sight of entire families participating in the process of improving their homes. DIY stores, similar to Home Depot in America, are a new concept to Peruvians that allows them to take charge of home improvements “room by room.” “For people who often have not had running water and electricity in their house, all of a sudden they come in as a whole family and buy what they need,” Steyer explained. “When I saw it, I thought it was one of the most impressive and exciting things I’d seen, because literally the whole family comes in: the grandmother comes in, the parents come in, the kids come in, and they fill up a huge shopping basket to build their next room.” This model of “sustainable growth,” Steyer insists, is exactly what his company looks for when it comes to investment decisions. “Our model of investing has to do with investing in a country and participating in that country’s growth,” Steyer further explained. “By definition, we are not people who are coming in to extract resources. We are coming in to make investments over a long period of time and be part of the community. We don’t believe in people

coming from the United States, staying for a few years, and coming back. Basically, if you want to work for us in Latin America, you have to live in Latin America. You have to send your kids to school in Latin America. You can’t be an outsider—that doesn’t work. So, from our point of view, part and parcel of what we see as success is a successful society.” What additional criteria represent success in Steyer’s view? "Gross domestic product" tops the list, he said, but many other factors play a role. The first question is: Are standards of living rising for the average person? Steyer said, "That’s the first measure of success for a society. That’s something we’re going to look at before we ever invest because, if they are not fair, that’s probably not a place that is going to work very well for us. If it’s corrupt we can’t really participate in it." The question remains: Does GDP have as much relevance when there’s a sizable gap between the rich and poor? And the answer, according to Steyer is, “It still does.” “Normally, when we look at societies where there is a huge gap between rich and poor, they’re normally extraction-based societies. And that’s been the traditional case in Latin America where basically you are extracting minerals or other resources from the society and those societies tend to be very desperate in terms of incomes. That’s still true. Those aren’t really the things we specialize in. What we specialize in are the kinds of businesses that have to do with growing the average income.” What about socially responsible investing—the concept that corporations favor practices that promote environmental stewardship, consumer protection and more? “That is something I spend a ton of my personal time on,” Steyer said. “I’d say the way that we think about it from the point of view of our funds—where we are representing other people—is from the traditional American Medical Association, first of all, 'Do no harm.' We can’t be participating in things that cause harm. We have to be participating in things that are positive.” Does Steyer play the numbers game? Promote a high return-on-investment formula? Or, do his solutions comprise different numbers for different locations and industries? “It depends on the recipe,” Steyer explained. “There is no one number; it depends on what you are actually doing and

how much risk you’re taking … To put it down to “one” number would be, you know, way too simplistic and inaccurate. That’s not the way to think about life.” Steyer’s approach appeared to reflect a blend of Wall Street and the new Impact Investing model. “We take a long term view,” Steyer said. “If you have a kind of slash and burn mentality, it’s not going to work out. If you really believe you are going to do well at the expense of somebody else’s economy, I think you are

» "If you have a kind of slash and burn mentality, it’s not going to work out. If you really believe you are going to do well at the expense of somebody else’s economy, I think you are fooling yourself." « - Thomas Steyer

fooling yourself. It’s not going to happen. We believe that it actually lines up—that the kinds of investments that help people are the kinds of investments you make money from… I’ve looked all around the world—in all seriousness; we’ve visited countries on every continent, probably in the last quarter (and) being part of a rip-off does not work; is not satisfying; will lead to a bad end in all ways and so we just won’t do it. But I also believe that businesses are what provide jobs; they are what create higher living standards; they are what raise people out of poverty and let them educate their kids, having a decent standard of living and dignity, so I in no way despise private enterprise. I believe it is the thing that actually helps people.” Prior to founding Farallon in 1986, Mr. Steyer’s background included working for Goldman Sachs & Co. and Morgan Stanley & Co. He currently oversees Farallon’s investment activities. The firm employs approximately 165 people in eight offices globally, and manages equity capital for institutions and high net worth individuals.

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[ continued from page 92 ] participants recognized the need for nurturing environments that had some semblance of fair government regulations, pro-active engagement with local constituents, and sustainability measures that are future focused. “Trade is not an end in and of itself — it is a means to creating a better life,” said Enrique L. García of the Andean Development Corporation. With respect to local engagement, Rangel noted, “Foreign investment projects often fail because they are not in touch with local community leaders. These people often are filled with fear. But, at the end of the day,” she said, “Latin American poor just want to be middle class.” Businesses across the Americas are overwhelmingly willing to engage in environmental sustainability measures. They understand that the old way of doing business is just not feasible. Barry Featherman, executive director for the Global Center for Development and Democracy suggested that as we expand trade and economic investment we must think of the planet. He spoke of the uncontrolled pollution and contamination in

Suresh Kumar

American Business Must be More Competitive in Global Markets


By Emily Haggstrom

ith exports between the 35 sovereign nation states of the Western Hemisphere doubling within the

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International Trade: leveraging partnerships for sustainable economies

China as an example of what not to do. Alberto Alemán Zubieta CEO of the Panama Canal Authority said, “Trade agreements allow people to understand the benefits of caring for the environment.” And he should know. He is in charge of the largest hemispheric construction project – the expansion of the Panama Canal. Environmental opponents argue that the expansion will have significant environmental impacts like deforestation, excavation cleanup, runoff and wildlife endangerment to name a few, but the organization is diligent in keeping the engineers on task with a safe and environmentally sustainable development and build plan. Close to home, trade is a touchy subject. While the U.S. nurtures and maintains its relationship with Canada, it is important for our population to recognize where we stand compared to India and China as it pertains to trade in the Western Hemisphere. “Are the U.S. producers able to compete?” asked Jim Polsfut, president of the Biennial of the Americas, to Kumar. “Can American business compete...? They always have. If we can create the environment that leads to

stability and predictability, there is a willingness to interact and invest,” he said. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is another important aspect to trade and to improving the human condition. With CSR being contributed through trade agreements, it helps bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. Through collaborative negotiations, both sides of the agreements have the opportunity to benefit by providing something that they have to offer, whether it’s through labor or capital investment. “We need to encourage political stability; we need to shrink the gap between the rich and poor, through investment and trade agreements,” said Featherman. Ultimately it is business that creates jobs — not government. We must embrace stability, predictably, infrastructure and institution by understanding that trade is to our benefit. But we also must understand that it is a way to improve the quality of life for all through better education systems, by engaging women into the workforce, by increasing access to healthcare, and by reducing poverty. That’s what it is about!

last five years' it was not only important but vital to understand how each of these trading partners plays a part in the others' policy and prosperity. At the Americas Roundtable on Trade: Leveraging Partnerships for Sustainable Economies, participants were asked how value could be increased by leveraging the trade agreements that are already in place. Business leaders from across the Americas gathered to speak to the combined GDP of the Western Hemisphere which currently exceeds $19 trillion. With the amount of money, as it pertains to imports and exports, traveling by ocean and air between continents, government officials and business leaders have never been more focused on developing trade agreements. And while other countries around the world mirror the downward motion of the economy of the United States, some South American countries are actually thriving. The Biennial served as a forum for foreign nationals to meet and understand each others' different needs. It was a time for reflection and re-evaluation of trade agreements as a country. It was also an opportunity for businesses to learn how to connect to the right technology, businesses and products. Following the roundtable, Kumar spoke

candidly with ICOSA about America's plan for global trade, the future of trade and how American businesses can and should be proactive about learning how free and fair trade can be a benefit to them. “The linchpins and foundations of our country have been inventions from people who have a free and fair playing field,” said Kumar. He continued by emphasizing that the U.S. Department of Foreign and Commercial Service can be the best asset for success when used proactively. “We connect people in this country to credible businesses around the world. Central to our work is making trade grow. We are already showing a 17% increase in exports this year as we focus on diversification across the hemisphere and the world,” said Kumar. With 95% of consumers living outside of the U.S. it is important for business and organizations alike to understand that by working with the U.S. Department of Foreign and Commercial Service they can connect to markets where consumers can access a flow of goods, service and products that they need and want. “We are here to make American businesses more competitive while increasing transparency with our trading partners,” reinforced Kumar.

Mike Fries A Level Playing Field is Key to Foreign Investment By Matt Edgar


ike Fries is the CEO of Liberty Global, Inc. a Fortune 500 telecommunications company based in Englewood, Colorado. Fries participated in the Americas Roundtable on Trade with other business leaders, ambassadors, and government leaders from the United States and Latin America. I had the pleasure of spending time with him after the roundtable discussion to talk about foreign investment in Latin America, trade, Liberty Global’s impact on regions in which it operates (wages, infrastructure, etc.), and what keeps him up at night in his role as CEO of a multinational company. While the roundtable discussion covered a wide range of topics involving trade and investment, Fries touched on the presence of “a level playing field” as a key driver for foreign investment. Curious what he meant, I asked him to expound on the phrase, specifically as it pertains to Liberty Global’s Latin American investment approach. “Number one, new

entrants need to have the same access to infrastructure benefits that incumbents do. Number two, incumbents aren’t given special privileges. Number three, the regulatory framework anticipates and envisions competition,” he said. In other words, he looks for regions where the political environment doesn’t unfairly protect existing operators, because if this is the case, Liberty Global would be operating in the region with “one hand tied behind its back.” Fries experienced this issue firsthand. When Liberty Global invested in Mexico in the mid-90’s, the idea was to provide voice and broadband services. Although the company was able to grow a “nice little cable business,” Liberty Global wasn’t able to secure a telephony license to provide multiple services. Between 2003 and 2004, Liberty Global “ran out of patience” and pulled out of the region. Fries went on to say that since his company pulled out, he thinks Mexico has “likely evolved” in terms of willingness to allow for a competitive environment, stemming from a variety of “pressures,” and due to the “rapidly changing technological environment.” For Latin American trade and foreign investment success stories, one needs to look no further than Liberty Global’s operations in Puerto Rico and Chile. The company’s assets in Chile are worth over $2 billion, and its operations there purchase $250 million of U.S. equipment and content annually. This enhances trade volume and enriches the region by providing desperately-needed telecommunications infrastructure and content like 100 MB broadband speeds, 300 channels of digital television, and VoIP services. “It’s a win-win for global markets and trade," said Fries. "We’re constantly building, buying, and innovating. Once you put someone in a market, there’s a multiplier effect.” Not only is there an impact on trade and global markets, firms have an influence on wages in areas where they operate. “Generally speaking, our wages are more competitive than incumbents because we need better talent and resources. We’re a very positive influence on wages.” And, that is hard to argue with in a global economic downturn. Wrapping up our conversation, Fries and I chatted about what keeps him up at night regarding Liberty Global and Latin American investment. Interestingly, it isn’t things out of his control, such as the recent

8.8 earthquake off the coast of Chile and its impact on operations there, or the company’s existing operations in Puerto Rico. In fact, it’s “opportunity lost” by not being aggressive enough in terms of new market identification and entry. “We’ve concentrated in a couple of markets, and

» "Number one, new entrants need to have the same access to infrastructure benefits that incumbents do. Number two, incumbents aren’t given special privileges. Number three, the regulatory framework anticipates and envisions competition." « - Mike Fries

I’m constantly wondering if we should be more aggressive. When will that window open, and will I be able to jump through it? We’re all about growth and scale. Our business thrives on scale.” It is clear Mike Fries is a bold visionary, with eyes wide open for new opportunities to grow Liberty Global and provide consumers with exciting products and services to enrich their lives through communication. Hopefully, the Biennial provided U.S. and Latin American leaders with ample opportunities to further strengthen political and economic intercontinental relationships. Based on the compelling dialog during the roundtable, and my conversation with Fries, I think the U.S. and Latin American countries are headed in the right direction in this regard. Matt Edgar is the Owner of Community First Commercial Real Estate in Denver, Colorado, and a contributing writer for ICOSA. Matt can be reached at 720.435.2191 or

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Energy and Climate change

Energy and Climate Change

Policies in the Americas Not a Quick Fix with One Solution By Martha Butwin & Stan Pence

Participants on the Energy and Climate Change Roundtable ride bicycles through the streets of Denver.


he final roundtable focusing on Energy and Climate Change was about to begin, but not before a quick bike ride around downtown Denver. The audience of over 1,200 waited patiently for the panel members, who were changing feverishly backstage into their business suits from biking shorts, to inform them on topics including mobility, electric vehicles, and the role of renewable energy in 21st century America – North, Central, and South. The Roundtable was headlined by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who emphasized that the United States’ love affair with the automobile does not need to end, but needs to be tamed so that this country has fewer fully-utilized three car garages. LaHood emphasized that the Obama administration has instituted new standards that passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles achieve 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. The administration also calls for more accessible public transportation as well as a high-speed ( 96 )

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inter-city trains that will connect 80% of U.S. cities within 25 years. After Secretary LaHood’s introductory remarks, moderator Robert Hutchinson of the Rocky Mountain Institute introduced the first round of panelists: Secretary LaHood, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Doer, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Executive Director Gustavo Arnavat, Panamanian Ambassador to the United States Jaime Aleman, and Colombian Ambassador to the United States Carolina Barco. Hutchinson began the discussion by offering up the topic of mobility. Ambassador Aleman said that Panama has internal and external mobility concerns most notably a metro system that is designed to move commuters internally, and externally, the price and availability of jet fuel. Aleman declared that Panama - and the world - knows that fuel efficiency is key to sustainability. Colombian Ambassador to the U.S., Carolina Barco added that Bogota has seven million people in a compact venue, which lends itself to more

efficient mobility systems. Seventy percent of Bogotans take the bus, but cars take up 70% of the roadways. To reduce bottlenecks, buses were provided with right-of-way lanes and bus commute time fell an average of seventy-five percent. Ambassador Doer further stated that he pushed California emissions standards through when he was Premier of Manitoba, and the economic advantage of this action was as impactful as the environmental advantage. The buses were manufactured in Manitoba to the high California standards and were sold throughout North America, benefiting both the environment and his province’s economy. On the topic of electric vehicles, Secretary LaHood spoke briefly on the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. The Secretary told of plans to travel later in the week with President Obama to visit both GM and Chrysler in Detroit, and emphasized that the U.S. population has an appetite for cars other than those that only burn gasoline. Governor Ritter opined that he had the opportunity on his recent mission to Israel to witness battery switching technology. In less than a minute, one can switch out a

car’s electric battery and drive away with a fully-charged battery. This was presented as an alternative to charging stations. The esteemed group also discussed the pressing issues in the field of renewable energy. The group agreed that a key issue is connecting wind, solar, and geothermal to the electric grid. Ambassador Doer emphasized that this must be accomplished without “sticker shock,” but that he is convinced that the expense is currently running “one lawyer per megawatt” of electricity. IDB’s Arnavat addressed another crucial factor in the renewable energy arena when he proclaimed that the IDB will double funding on renewable energy projects in Latin America. The IDB funded wind farms in Nicaragua that serve 20% of the Nicaraguan population, and worked with indigenous subject matter experts to train the locals in energy efficiency techniques that resulted in decreased utility bills. While the first round of participants included government leaders, the second wave of participants focused on private sector initiatives to further mobility and renewable energy. This group included CH2M HILL Chairman and CEO Lee McIntire, Public Service Company of Colorado (Xcel Energy) President and CEO David Eves, Encana Natural Gas USA Division Vice President Don McClure (Canada), AGA Group Program Manager Carl Bennett (Jamaica), Former Mayor of Bogota, Colombia Enrique Peñalosa and CEO of Stillwater Preservation Sally Ranney. The group agreed that adoption of renewable energy technologies is viewed as the key to transitioning from the world’s non-sustainable (fossil) energy systems to a long-term sustainable energy future. While the energy systems across the Americas are weighted towards available resources – like fossil fuels in the U.S., Mexico and Chile and hydro in Canada, Colombia and Venezuela - all countries of the Americas face the consequences of climate change. Across the hemisphere, countries are adopting policies to address this issue by altering long ingrained transportation patterns. The hope is that by developing more sustainable mobility models, energy use will be altered and climate change slowed or rolled back. Secretary LaHood noted that while most U.S. cities have been shaped by cars, governments are now working to integrate mobility systems such as light rail, streetcars, biking/walking networks and other transport systems to reduce public dependence on the automobile. Speakers from Latin America noted that light rail and subway systems often aren’t economically viable in developing countries. Cheaper modes of transport

developed in Central and South America are often better suited for these countries and are easily adaptable to U.S. and Canadian communities as well. Dedicated bus lanes were again highlighted by the former mayor of Bogota, Enrique Peñalosa, also a transportation expert, as a proven technology that works. By grouping buses together in dedicated lanes people are moved faster, cheaper and more efficiently, than by subway or light rail. Unfortunately, these type of systems suffer from what Peñalosa terms “a lack of sexiness,” thereby making them less attractive political solutions. The problems faced by small, developing countries in addressing mobility and energy issues were highlighted by Carl Bennett, an expert on the Caribbean region. He cited Jamaica as an example of the region’s poor and resource deficient economies that also need better energy and transport systems. Bennett stressed that one-size-fits all models developed in larger economies will probably not be successful in places such as the Caribbean,

and that different systems appropriate for the region’s unique circumstances will need to be developed in these countries. Renewable energy is now viewed in the Americas and around the globe as the key to moving beyond fossil fuel-based power systems. Several speakers addressed the development of renewable energy systems in the Americas, especially the use of natural gas as a transition fuel in achieving a cleaner energy future. Encana’s Don McClure outlined the impact of newly accessible shale gas resources in Canada and in the United States. Natural gas is 40% cleaner than coal. Its widespread adoption in vehicles and power generation would immediately cut global greenhouse gas emissions. McClure stressed that shale gas is plentiful not just in North America, but worldwide. He also pointed out that countries such as Argentina are rapidly adopting natural gas vehicles (NGVs) in their transportation fleets, underlining the importance of Latin America as a model for all the Americas in developing new mobility models and energy sources.

» While the energy systems across the Americas are weighted towards available resources – like fossil fuels in the U.S., Mexico and Chile and hydro in Canada, Colombia and Venezuela – all countries of the Americas face the consequences of climate change. «

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood answering media questions.

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Xcel Energy’s David Eves also addressed the importance of natural gas in the world’s energy mix and its value in pairing the resource with wind and solar. In developing policy, he stressed that both power providers and public stakeholders must agree in planning for new energy resources. Without agreed upon policies, issues critical to the development of renewable energy, such as new transmission lines, will not be easily developed. As an example of the potential of renewable power, he cited Argentina’s wind-rich Patagonia region

David Eves

It’s About Energy Balance By Matt Edgar


avid Eves is president and CEO of Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo), an Xcel Energy company. Xcel offers a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers. After the Roundtable, I interviewed Eves because I was interested in spending time with a man who was the head of a company whose revenue generation model seemed diametrically opposed to conservation — being that fossil fuels serve as the business’s primary means of energy production, and the company has a substantial investment in coal and

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» Development of U.S. offshore wind resources is also constrained by lack of government and public agreement on developing adequate transmission capabilities. «

natural gas plants. After discussing PSCo’s business model, vision, and conservation efforts, I discovered that conservation, energy production, and business could be aligned. I asked Eves, from the outset, whether or not Xcel was on board with energy conservation efforts. He said that the company is committed “to provide safe, reliable, economical energy for customers,” and went on to touch on the firm’s strategy of being “environmental leaders.” Examples of Xcel successfully integrating renewable energy and conservation into its business model, according to Eves, can be seen in its wind energy business. They are, in fact, the leading wind-energy utility provider in the country for five years running, and are the fifth largest solar provider, with plans to grow that division. “Incorporating wind and solar (or hybrid) with our traditional supplies of coal and natural gas is part of what we need to do to meet our customer needs…it’s about balance,” said Eves. A core focus of the Roundtable was where utilities are headed, in terms of conservation and production design. Eves explained his vision of the industry, “In the next ten-to-twenty years, we will continue to increase the amount of conservation, and increase the number and type(s) of renewables. A lot of how far and fast we go will depend on a lot of what we saw today (at the Roundtable)…public policy. The roadblock isn’t with the public policy, it’s the lack of policy; it’s evolving.” Other states have not been as proactive as Colorado in the policy arena. Although a microcosm, “The governor has led the way by upping the renewable energy standards. We’ve increased the amount of conservation. We’re looking at all our coal plants and trying to convert them. That’s a really good mix, and that’s an example of (successful) public policy

which can power much of that country but is constrained by the lack of transmission lines. Development of U.S. offshore wind resources is also constrained by lack of government and public agreement on developing adequate transmission capabilities. Stillwater’s Sally Ranney agreed that the challenges in wind technology include speed and scale, with efficient transmission a still unsolved issue. When all the laws have passed, permits have cleared, and the energy project has [ continued on page 100 ]

and what can be done,” said Eves. Xcel is currently looking at shuttering up to five coal plants as part of its eight year plan, and retrofitting others. The company will be shutting down its Cameo Power Plant in Mesa County by the end of the year. Also slated for closing by year-end 2015, are two units at the coal-fired Arapahoe Station. Also being evaluated is Valmont Station in Boulder, along with other plants affecting the eastern plains and western slope. All of this is part of the Clean Air-Clean Jobs act, signed into law by Governor Bill Ritter in April, 2010, and will require as much as a two billion dollar investment on behalf of Xcel. Eves explained that, “Clean AirClean Jobs is driven in conjunction with agriculture, business, and government. The regulations come in waves, defining particulate matter, coal ash, and carbon dioxide.” Basically, the act regulates the infrastructure and we have to decide whether to invest in upgrades or just buy all new equipment. “So that’s what we’re trying to do... look way ahead. In some situations, it just makes more sense to shut the equipment down.” Shut it down Xcel will, in some instances. In others situations, where retrofitting or hybridization makes more financial sense, Xcel will push to go that direction. But it was encouraging to learn that groups with seemingly opposite agendas can reach consensus on an important topic that impacts people's daily lives, now and for generations to come. Matt Edgar is the Owner of Community First Commercial Real Estate in Denver, Colorado, and a contributing writer for ICOSA. Matt can be reached at 720.435.2191 or matt.edgar@

Carolina Barco Ray LaHood

Embracing Energy, Efficiency, and Sustainability By Eli Regalado


.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood visited Denver, Colorado and was one of the participants in the Energy Roundtable. Commenting on electric vehicles, LaHood said that the opportunities are now just hitting the market. In November, 2010, LaHood said, Chevy will launch the Volt, a new electric car that can run on a pure electric charge for up to 40 miles — gas and emissions free. The Volt will also run on traditional fuel, but the new-fangled gas generator will produce enough power to make that tank of gas go for hundreds of miles. LaHood proudly said that the U.S. government has also offered a $7,500 tax credit for early adopters of this cleaner car. When airlines were discussed, LaHood talked about the imperative move to next generation, point to point flight paths. “This will reduce the number of connecting flights so that planes don’t have to fly all over to get to their end destinations. This will dramatically reduce the amount of carbon emissions and create faster trips and cleaner skies,” he said. At the end of the Roundtable, Secretary LaHood told participating

Renewable Energy: It’s the Direction We’re Going


By Bernice J. Alvarez King

s we all know, many countries in the Western Hemisphere can produce and provide various means of energy such as crude oil, coal and ethanol. However, what is needed for these countries is renewable and alternative energy sources that are not reliant on finite resources. According to Carolina Barco, Colombian Ambassador to the U.S. who chose to ride a bicycle to the event in her dress suit, a shared electricity grid, similar to the one in Mexico, could prove beneficial for countries like Panama and Colombia. They could share the technology, the infrastructure costs, and

energy leaders and members of the audience that there is great collaboration taking place between transportation and housing development to create sustainable living environments. He said that we must realize that we are living in a world with finite resources. Therefore, we must embrace this new world of energy, efficiency, and sustainability, perhaps one of the most controversial topics on the U.S. political agenda.

ultimately the energy outputs. “We need to think as a region how we improve the way we can be efficient in the use of energy,” Barco said. Unlike Colombia, some countries in the hemisphere lack natural resources for energy and they are forced to choose between the cost of fuel or other needed programs such as education and healthcare. Barco argued that energy rich countries could choose to share with the countries lacking in resources and make the grid beneficial for everyone, with any excess energy sold back to the grid. She said, “With populations expanding, energy needs will continue to grow as will the need for renewable energy. We must find a solution,” she said, “It's a quality-of-life issue for poorer countries to cope with soaring energy rates as demand increases.” Another concern is the high cost, high pollution, and shrinking resources to fuel traditional transportation methods. There is a need for alternatives. More sustainable options for many countries could include paths for bike riders and walkers or light rail systems that are quickly emerging and growing in popularity and integrate into current roadways while reducing the number of vehicles on the road. Another option, while not “sexy,” includes special bus lanes which reduce traffic idle times and consolidate drivers. Barco posits that, “Fundamental energy collaborations are imperative for the hemisphere as energy leaders create partnerships for more affordable energy options.”

» We must realize that we are living in a world with finite resources. Therefore, we must embrace this new world of energy, efficiency, and sustainability. «

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[ continued from page 98 ] been approved, CH2M HILL’s Lee McIntire may be the person managing it. McIntire has to look at the big picture, including energy issues and an even greater global concern - water. As McIntire stated, “We can live without energy, but try to live without water.” The group thus began a discussion of energy efficiency and water resources that will most likely be a topic at the next Biennial.

Robert “Hutch”

HI Want utchinson the U.S. Entirely Off Of Fossil Fuels in 40 Years


By Josh Agenbroad and Helen Skiba

t the final Biennial of the Americas Roundtable discussion on Energy and Climate Change, Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson played the role of the well versed, informed, and composed moderator--leading the participants to articulate their innovative but practical initiatives for creating prosperity through the efficient and sustainable utilization of energy. As a program director at The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), an independent, entrepreneurial think-and-do tank focused on the efficient and restorative use of resources, Hutchinson evaluates innovative, state-of-the-art solutions to energy and climate change issues every day. As Hutchinson puts it, “What I do in my day job is work on a set of designs, plans, and innovations to try to get the U.S. entirely off of fossil fuel in the next 40 years.” When we told Hutchinson that we were writing for ICOSA, a magazine focused

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Energy and Climate change

In the end, participants agreed that the Americas need to change its way of life in order to affect its energy use patterns and by extension, climate change. The changes will not

be easy and will often require radically different ways of thinking and more than a few bike rides around the block. Across the Americas, new models of energy use and energy systems are developing. This includes innovative ways to address public and private transportation as well as new innovative uses of fuel. Continued dialogue between the Americas like those at the Biennial can only advance the hemisphere’s and the world’s transition to a less energy intensive and, hopefully, greener world.

on collaboration, it was like preaching to the choir. When we asked about collaboration between scientists and engineers, economists, businesses, and policymakers working on energy and climate change issues, he knew exactly what we were getting at. “That’s a perpetual challenge right? Because if you’re immersed enough in the world of public policy — enough to be good at it — it’s hard to have the bandwidth to be immersed enough in the world of technology and technical economic tradeoffs to be good at that; both those things are fast moving areas, so you’re not going to do it,” Hutchinson said. Consequently, RMI places great value on effective collaboration through integrated design, a process model whereby they use teams from all different expertise to pull together an integrated solution to a given set of problems. Hutchinson says that these teams actually create the biggest possible playing field so that the problem being solved doesn’t get automatically constrained by the boundaries put around it. Hutchinson shared a specific example of integrated design with respect to the 12.6% of U.S. energy consumption used for heating and cooling buildings. “In designing a house, a lot of times the team consists of an architect and an engineer, and they worry about how much cooling the house needs. But the architect doesn’t do the calculations, so the engineer takes the input from the architect about what type of wall he wants, which is whatever he normally does, then calculates how much cooling he needs. But, in many, cases if you make the wall in a different, more efficient way — that, by the way, looks the same — you don’t need so much cooling.” His example demonstrated the benefits of integrated design and how a lack of collaboration can lead to inefficiency and overlooked savings. “Commoditized” is the word Hutchinson uses to refer to the non-collaborative

specialization of design tasks around energy design and build. He was excited about the potential for collaboration during the Biennial and said, “Because many design solutions and approaches have become commoditized I am hopeful about hemispheric collaboration. The U.S. is one of the places where things tend to get systematized first and then people stop thinking about how to make it better; they just start trying to do the same thing for less. I’m not interested in doing the same thing for less. I’m interested in trying to do more for more, but getting more out of it; it’s a ratio, not an absolute.” Talking to Hutchinson, we got a sense of the novel attitude and environment at RMI, of which integrated design is but one of many contributing aspects. In keeping with this approach, Hutchinson gave an interesting answer to the final question, which we thought was fairly straightforward and even incidental. We asked him what was on his bookshelf and who he currently found interesting and influential. He chuckled and said, “I’m going to give you a disappointing answer to that question. I’m most interested in being at the edge, at the state of the art, so I do my best to stay ahead of the books. Yeah, I read stuff, but I don’t read stuff in my own field. I read other stuff.” We then asked if that helped him “think outside the box” and he said resoundingly, “Yes. I don’t find it terribly useful to read about my own field…I will confess, of course, when I was much younger, to reading a few Amory Lovins things, among others, and I liked a lot of those. E.F. Schumacher and those guys are terrific. But nowadays I don’t read about this stuff anymore; I just do it.” To learn more about Robert Hutchinson and the innovative design approach or to access two major publications, Winning the Oil Endgame and Natural Capitalism visit

» "We can live without energy, but try to live without water." « - Lee McIntire

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The americas roundtables

Energy and Climate change


Gary Doer

Agility, Innovation, and Transmission By Phil Lawson

Enrique Peñalosa A Vision of Social Spaces By Maria Luna


nrique Peñalosa, the former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, transformed high crime areas into public spaces, rejuvenated plazas and created pedestrian sidewalks. He was awarded the Stockholm Challenge Award for instituting the city’s first “Car-Free Day,” which encouraged motorists not to use their car for one day and to use some form of public transportation instead. With over 6.4

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ince October, 2009, Gary Doer has been the Canadian Ambassador to the United States and was a participant on the Roundtable on Energy and Climate Change. I had the privilege of having a conversation with Doer after the roundtable. Q: How do you communicate the intricacies of energy and environmental policy to policymakers and the general public? A: The public is on the same page in the sense that they want cleaner air, cleaner water, affordability, and energy efficiency. It is very much part of the public agenda. It is important to recognize that there is a lot of innovation going on right now all over the world, including North America. Agility will be very important going forward. We’ve really got to work together to get the good ideas and the innovations to the consumer in a

way that is affordable and reliable. Natural gas, for example, is one of the substitute resources for coal plants — plants that are becoming dated and are being replaced with much cleaner fuel. The question is how do we get all the good ideas — new transmission, wind, solar, geo-thermal, and hydroelectric power — onto a grid? Q: How do we get consumers to understand the issues so that they can collaborate and move forward? A: The environmental and financial benefits of alternative energy are great, but, we need to have an honest discussion with the public about the cost of renewable energy and the lack of transmission infrastructure. Then, I think forums like this — where you have many people from all over the Americas — to share their ideas. It involves innovation. To get this kind of group together is really, really positive. More of this we’ve got to do!

million people and over 830,000 cars in Bogotá alone, on any given day, the transportation thoroughfares of the city are often clogged and pollution can be at alarming levels. Studies have shown that almost 70 percent of all car trips are shorter than three kilometers — so the government proposed alternative days of transportation to ease pollution and traffic. The Stockholm Award provided a network for collaboration to build a better world by promoting social and human development through equality – with transportation becoming the method for interaction between the city’s diverse populations. Peñalosa is an accomplished statesman, who has invested in communities by establishing dynamic living environments. His work takes rhetoric to reality with projects that improve society and the environment. His strong pursuit of public space creation has not only alleviated pollution from urban sprawl, but has relieved tension within the population.  He says, “An open space provides a relaxing escape from vigorous city demands. Higher income groups always have access to nature at beach houses, lake cabins, mountain chalets, on vacations – or in urban settings at golf courses or larger gardens.  Parks allow the rest of society that contact as well.”  The goal is for all socio-economic groups to interact with each other in a simplistic way – by walking down a pathway, bicycle riding,

» "An open space provides a relaxing escape from vigorous city demands." « - Enrique Peñalosa

or having a picnic. Peñalosa believes, “Public space is for living, doing business, kissing, and playing.  Its value can’t be measured with economics or mathematics; it must be felt with the soul.  The importance of pedestrian public spaces cannot be measured, but most other important things in life cannot be measured either; friendship, beauty, love, and loyalty are examples.  Parks and other pedestrian places are essential to a city’s happiness.” Peñalosa speaks internationally about his approach to improving cities and its citizens by promoting public areas, improving public transportation, building sidewalks, bicycle paths, greenways and parks. Enrique Peñalosa obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Duke University in Economics and History.  He received his Masters and Doctorate degrees from the Institut International D’Administration Publique and the University of Paris in Management and Pubic Administration.  He was Mayor of Bogotá from 1998 to 2001. 

xcel energy is always looking for diverse, energetic business partners—including minorities, women, veterans and small businesses—to work with us in our communities. If your business has a product or service that you believe would be of value to us, we encourage you to email us at or visit xcel energy is a proud sponsor of the Biennial of the Americas. Š 2010 xcel energy

Heads of State



Toledo Leadership Beyond Politics By Michael Connors


s countries across the globe face one of the direst economic outlooks since the Great Depression, leaders from around the world are looking for allies and coming up with completely new ways of conducting business. Latin American countries, in particular, have been undergoing a silent revolution over the last several years as many try and address the root causes of war and poverty, which are often inextricably linked. Thus, while South Americans are reinventing themselves, leadership in North America, and the U.S. in particular, is still focused inward, grappling with two wars and an ailing economy. But there is a growing sense that there may be a new beginning and revitalization of the North/South relationship. There is a golden moment at hand for the North and South in the Western Hemisphere to work together and begin dismantling the traditional legacy of corruption and war that has haunted so many South American countries. So, ultimate question might be: where is Latin America going?

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Clearly, there will always be some component of social justice and equality when speaking about Latin America - it is simply a matter of degree. President Toledo believes that a nationalized economy will ultimately destroy any means of production because oftentimes regimes do not re-invest profits back into the infrastructure. We see this happening in Venezuela right now. Yet there is a balance between - Alejandro Toledo free market forces and making sure the indigenous populations and citizens of that country share in the wealth that is generated. What most concerns President Toledo is that there is not enough collaboration between North American and South American countries. He feels the U.S, for example, has disproportionately focused on European and Asian relationships. He encapsulates the importance of the North/ South relationship thusly. “This may sound a little bit provocative but it needs to be said... The inter-hemispheric relationship is not being taken sufficiently seriously enough... The richness of our partnership demands us to move beyond the four issues of narco-trafficking, trade in Cuba, crime, and trade. It is time to redefine the components of our relationships between Latin America, the Caribbean and North America. We must continue with economic growth and pay attention to the social issues while at the same time be sensitive to the environment. . . It is the time to sit at a round table and create a horizontal relationship between North and South America.”

» “It is the time to sit at a round table and create a horizontal relationship between North and South America." «

Clearly, the instability that drives the region is a source of hesitation for investors and governments alike. Shell, for example, walked away from $4 billion of infrastructure in Venezuela to avoid working with Hugo Chavez. Yet there are also shining examples of progress, and perhaps no one personifies this drive towards reform and progress better than Alejandro Toledo, President of Peru from 2001 to 2006. An academic and small businessman, President Toledo rose through the political ranks as an opponent of Federico Marcos. He came from a poor indiginous family and understands the plight of the South American poor. However, he is also an economist who grasps the benefits that a free market can bring. He acknowledges the history of corruption that makes progress impossible in many South American countries and is looking for a unified political approach to deal with the corruption and wealth inequities that impede social progress. Personally, I find the differences between Peru and Venezuela intriguing and during my interview with Dr. Toledo I asked him about the obvious rift between the free market leaders and the radical socialists like Chavez. He responded, “People around the world are asking me-what is happening with Latin America? Is it going left? Look at Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Raphael Correa in Ecuador. . . and on. I have too much respect for the left in Latin America to give Hugo Chavez the merit of being from the left.”

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Toledo said, “If we do not confront the social issues like poverty, social exclusion, then who will try to confront the poverty issue by giving fish away instead of giving the poor the right to learn how to fish. That implies state policy that goes beyond the short term. At GCCD we’re trying to do leadership beyond politics: education, clean water, micro-credit for women, cash transfers and credits. The interhemispheric relationship is not being taken seriously enough. The richness of our partnership must go beyond just the Cuban issues: stranded democratic institutions and free Internet for the poor.”

Perhaps it is this disparity of focus that brought President Toledo, and the leaders of 21 other countries to Colorado in July of 2010. The Biennial was a golden opportunity to give visibility and heightened respect to the important economic and social ties that bind the countries of the Western Hemisphere.

As a result of his unique perspective, Dr. Toledo founded the Global Center for Development and Democracy (GCDD). The GCDD is a collection of former Latin American leaders that has focused on a plan to help guide South America back on to a road to recovery. This group has dedicated itself to eradicating the financial and social inequities that consistently plunge Latin American countries into turmoil. What is needed, according to Toledo, is a stabilizing force that helps the poor. The roadmap to stability began in 2006 when Toledo called former Latin American heads of state and two former European presidents to help experts and academics draft the "Social Agenda for Democracy in Latin America for the Next 20 Years". The plan outlines 16 policy areas as a framework to reduce the region's destructive inequality and to make its political institutions more inclusive. By partnering with former heads of state and pushing a single agenda, President Toledo hopes to guide Latin America towards a more hopeful future. Essentially, he has laid the groundwork for sustainable collaboration by organizing the former leaders of Latin America into a cohesive and powerful force that is driven by a single agenda. Coupled with the innovation and resources available in North America, President Toledo therefore sees a much brighter future for the hemisphere as a whole. He said, “We’re trying to do leadership beyond politics. That means that we are making explicit public policy recommendations to sitting presidents, knowing that the benefits of these recommendations - education, sanitation and clean water, quality of education and energy for the poor will not be seen in the short-term.” According to Toledo, what is missing at this juncture is one key component - collaboration. He has a roadmap, but he simply needs more "passengers on the bus." Only by working together can leaders from both the North and South begin to deal with what is most important in Latin America. “At the heart of the political issues that have engulfed the region lies poverty. The simple fact is this, if a country is dominated by poverty and the wealth continues to be held primarily by a small minority, a middle class cannot flourish. And without a middle class, there is no hope for democracy. The poorest citizens will push for a socialized economic system that ravages the means of production. Venezuela is a prime example and one that strikes fear in the hearts of any serious observer,” Toledo remarked. As countries like Peru continue to succeed based on a left-leaning social agenda guided by free market principles, there will be noticeable envy from Venezuelans who are trapped in a dictatorial system– leading, inevitably, to civil war.

Photo: Javier Manzano

Alejandro Toledo

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Heads of State


Fernando de la Rúa A Quiet Passion By Heather Grady


hough Fernando de la Rúa resigned his Presidency in 2001 after two years of leading Argentina during a period of economic and political strife, civil unrest and civic protests, he still believes in the power of public policy to positively impact the social and economic health of Argentina and Latin America.

When asked to participate in the creation of the Social Agenda for America, de la Rúa was honored and viewed it as an opportunity to help drive the future of Latin American social policy. The "Social Agenda for Democracy in Latin America for the Next 20 years" is a collection of 63 policy recommendations within 16 social issues derived from discussion, debate, and collaboration of representatives from public, academic and private institutions. Being at the table put President de la Rúa in a position to use the lessons he learned in public office to influence and educate. It is a position he takes seriously and for which he has tremendous passion, particularly in the areas of education and healthcare. Though his quiet, thoughtful demeanor was a source of difficulty while in office, it serves him well in this role of advisor. Being one of the members of The Biennial of the Americas Roundtable of the Former Heads of State was an opportunity to push the social agenda and spread the ideas it contains through a trade in ideas. “To be able to even be here is a demonstration of democracy. Argentina, and all of Latin America, has entered a new era with the United States,” he began. “We cannot individually or collectively move forward and make significant change without collaboration. It is through addressing the social problems we all face that will enable us to help our economies grow.”

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Raising teachers’ salaries in his first year in office was not a popular decision, but was a demonstration of his commitment to the principal role of the teacher in the educational process. He sees an improvement in pay and working conditions as a major contributing factor to recruit and retain the best people as professional educators. Establishing a system that supports professional development and clear and fair evaluation processes are also success factors. The Agenda sites improvement in the educational system as an imperative. Particular focus is placed upon better education for teachers and administrators and, the distribution of more highly educated teachers across schools with poorer students.

» “We cannot individually or collectively move forward and make significant change without collaboration. It is through addressing the social problems we all face that will enable us to help our economies grow.” «

Of the 63 explicit policy recommendations, the former president of Argentina is particularly drawn to address access to education and healthcare. He believes strongly that, “Children can only learn when they are in school and when they are healthy” and it is only when children have access to both quality education and quality healthcare that the future will be secure. Government involvement in education, particularly early childhood education, must be viewed as an investment, not an expense. Low quality education has negative impacts not just for the poor and underserved, but the wealthy, too. State participation in access to quality education is not a new focus for the former

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president. In 2000, de la Rúa initiated, a state-sponsored educational portal. He understands that rapid advances in technology and the “information revolution” provide an imperative to utilize these resources to improve education while reducing costs and, the inequality of quantity while increasing quality access to education.

Changing the culture of education will require making policy decisions that promote a “culture of reading” and instill pride in teachers and students. Parental participation in their children’s education will help. De la Rúa stated, “We need to recover that responsibility with a historic commitment to education, not only to transmit knowledge in a more equal fashion, but to transmit democratic values, which are essential to combating violence and authoritarianism.”

This means that in order to strengthen democracy, public and private institutions need to commit to investing in the potential of human productivity. Improving access to quality education is only part of the challenge to achieve what de la Rúa refers to as “a more human-oriented economy.” Another, directly related piece is access to preventative health care for expectant mothers and young children. The Agenda outlines the strong ties between health and education and is a tremendous reference for understanding the impact of poor health and education on economic development. It states, “Many - Fernando de la Rúa

studies suggest that investing in young children from pre-natal health of their mothers to quality preschools yields a very high social return.” A healthy, educated populous is able to actively participate in a democracy and contribute to its political and economic well being. In de la Rúa’s own words, “Health is a right. It is not an economic issue.” He sees the prioritization of infant nutrition as an investment in the viability of the democracies of Latin America. Undernourished, sick children cannot reach their full potential. As malnutrition’s chief determining factor is poverty, he believes the state has a responsibility to provide quality health services for the poor and that health policies need to focus on preventative health care, particularly in rural areas and marginal urban areas. Changing the culture of health care delivery in this way, he believes, will permit more efficient state spending while reducing or eliminating diseases which disproportionally affect the poor. Low-income children have often been poorly nourished since being in the womb. This lack of proper nutrition leads to illnesses that can limit the development of motor skills and inhibit both cognitive and emotional development. Children who grow up in these situations start with significant disadvantages when they enter school and it is difficult to overcome these challenges throughout their lives. The former president feels that an increase in public hospitals and family doctors who can assist in “whole family health” now will, over time, lead to a reduction in poverty and greater equity in education. The long term costs of poor health are well documented, as are the connections between poverty and poor health. Breaking the cycle through improving the health of the poor is a difficult challenge, particularly with limited resources, systems and policies which do not support change. The Agenda recommends a combination of policies and structural changes based upon the approaches Chile and Cuba have taken to reduce child malnutrition and increase the quality of healthcare. In both cases, there was a commitment to government playing a role, whether alone as in Cuba or in partnership with the private sector as in Chile, in actively reducing malnutrition and disease among the poor through a combination of programs and services. For de la Rúa, the health of individuals has a direct impact on the health of the nation and the region. The challenges of health care, education and economic prosperity are deeply interwoven and it will take policy changes and cultural shifts to adequately address them over time. Creating opportunities for collaboration and forums to share success and failures is imperative in ensuring the long term prosperity of Argentina, Latin America, and the hemisphere. Democracy is a participatory form of government and in order to actively participate and expand that participation throughout all sectors of a given society, governments and leaders in the public, private and academic sectors must work together. Heather Grady is the Manager of Business Development and Marketing for Rossetti Architects in Denver, CO.

Photo: Javier Manzano

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Profound Transformations in Bolivia By Zach Frederick


arlos Mesa, president of Bolivia from 2003-2005, is a tall, quiet man who is well informed and thoughtful about his passions. Prior to holding political office he was a historian and TV journalist. As with any leadership role, during his term Mesa struggled with the growing demands for government economic intervention from the poor indigenous population, and the tricky politics surrounding Bolivia's natural gas reserves.

of sustained economic success and stability, than those colonies of the Spanish, Portuguese, or French? A: It is a response to be measured at the time in history. Today, the Anglo-Saxon countries are more successful than ours, but if you measure the long term history, in the past the Latin countries were the largest world powers (Rome or Spain, for example). The Latin American countries were the first after the United States to gain their independence in a block with Republican and modern ideas. We must work to build more solid institutions, create less politicization, and embrace openness to new ideas.

At the Biennial roundtables, he commented on current Bolivian President Evo Morales’s new challenges in the country. Mesa urged President Morales that during the change process to continue to respect the rule of law, implementing change without doing it in an authoritarian manner. He also commented on the changes and divisions occurring right now in South America because of the various economic models in use throughout the region. In other discussions, Mesa discussed his concerns for the future of democracy in Latin America. He said there are indicators of a major crisis in the works and that it is evidenced in the resignation of several presidents before the end of their terms due to the weakness of labor, and poverty as major factors. He noted, “There is a crisis of the party and representation system that is giving birth to other systems such as the ones developing in Venezuela or Bolivia. Democracy in the streets and informal pressure groups represent new actors that undermine the existing institutional structure.” He sees the weakness of labor organizations (like the COB or the CGT) as another critical factor that threatens democracy in Latin countries and explains that wide-spread poverty can degrade the democratic process. “A lack of credibility, organized crime, and political volatility are not caused [exclusively] by poverty, but poverty does exacerbate them," stated Mesa.

» " We must demonstrate the potential of a new and more efficient state bank, as a bridge between commercial banking and microfinance institutions extend the benefits of credit to even the poorest people.” «

I had the distinct honor of meeting the Bolivian leader to learn more about his country. Q: Based on your experience as a historian and ex-leader of a former Spanish colony, why do you feel that the former English colonies (U.S., Australia, Canada, etc.) tend to have a greater rate

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Q: You have said Bolivia is undergoing dramatic change at the moment. Many Bolivians are looking to the government to level the playing field economically. By and large, history has proven that governments cannot do this with long term results. Is it possible to solve Bolivia's extreme poverty with more market-driven solutions which are supported with strong law and order? A: Bolivia lives an experience of profound transformations, but it is not facing the radical fight against poverty and inequality in an efficient and serious manner. Bolivia should make more efforts in social investment by incorporating with the global economy without ideological prejudices.

He expands on his thoughts in the "Social Agenda for Democracy in Latin America" where he says, “We must recover the role of development banks, which is part of the revival of the state in the economy. It is an issue beyond microcredit. Development banking was an important moment in Latin American economic history, and today it must be rescued on the condition that the errors of the past that led to bankruptcy and political patronage must be corrected. We must demonstrate the potential of a new and more efficient state bank, as a bridge between commercial banking and microfinance institutions extend the benefits of credit to even the - Carlos Mesa

poorest people.” In fact in Bolivia, microcredit now represents almost 30% of total credit in the financial system, which probably does not occur in large economies like Brazil, Argentina, or Mexico. “Efficiency has made microfinance competitive,” Mesa says. When asked about the political challenges in integrating the very large indigenous population, especially in relation to successfully lifting them from relative poverty, Mesa said, “You have to differentiate the actions of the government with the indigenous populations. More importantly, you must give them equal opportunities. There may need to be more emphasis on education, health and full integration into society that materially benefits their communities.” In the Agenda, Mesa uses examples of intercultural and bilingual education within indigenous populations and asserts that a key aspect of education is its, “choice of language of instruction as a basic definer of the educational system,” which has to be incorporated with the processes of socialization and the development and preservation of each population and its culture. “In addition,” he says, “we need to have a multi-level approach to education, health, and nutrition in the pre- and primary school levels, and a multi-level approach to the issue of school violence. To confront the main problems in education—particularly, the education of the poor—will take more than focusing on new technologies. We must define what we mean by educator and student and the process of learning.” Just for fun, I asked Mesa about soccer because I knew he liked the sport and was happy with Uruguay’s performance in the World Cup. I asked, “Does this pride in Uruguay or Chile's performance imply there is a burgeoning pan-South American patriotism? How could such patriotism specifically help South America solve some of its many challenges?” He said, “Soccer is, undoubtedly, one of the greatest prides of South America, but the idea of regional pride should be based on integration, defeating poverty and quality education, innovation, technology and cultural contributions to the rest of the world.” Despite economic and political differences, it is clear that Mesa hopes that the countries of the Western Hemisphere can have a more solid working relationship and that Bolivia will conquer some of its outstanding issues.

Photo: Javier Manzano

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Dominican Republic


Mejía Tourism, Agriculture, and a Really Good Barber By Bill Decker


he last decade has been tough on the Dominican Republic. There has been poverty, bank collapses, significant decreases in trade, floods, and most recently an influx of shortterm immigrants after the devastating earthquakes in Haiti. Rafael Hipólito Mejía Domínguez, the President of The Dominican Republic (DR), from 2000-2004, spoke with me during the Biennial.

The interview was scheduled to take place at 9:30 a.m. but slipped to 9:50 a.m. As we were ushered into the room, one of my colleagues turned to me and said...“Latin time.” It was something of a mob scene, with 40 or 50 journalists approaching these diplomats, each hoping for at least a few minutes of undivided attention. As soon as I found Mejía, he remarked in English, “You must know my barber.” I was put at ease when he used the same corny joke that I have been using for years; Mr. Mejia and I are both bald. Once he started with a joke, it was easy to see that this was a man who wore his charisma as well as he wore his blue suit. Just a bit of framing... Early in the decade the Dominican Republic experienced a horrible recession which drove it to great poverty. Just days before leaving office, the country had a siege of power deficiencies and blackouts. The economic crisis and the government’s feud with the electric companies - all foreign-owned - had kept most of the 8.8 million residents unhappy for days in 100 degree heat. Mejia blamed his predecessor for the electricity problems; arguably those deals had been cut years ago and Mejia was not responsible.

Despite my list of questions, and previewing them with colleagues and cohorts about their appropriateness, the ball was clearly in Mejía’s court. As a market entry specialist myself, my curiosity was about trade, business incentives, ability to license technology, and cross-cultural difficulties in working with Dominicans. He announced

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While high on the "happy list," much of the nation (± 40%) suffers from marked income inequality with few Western defined necessities like water, electricity, or paved roads. High unemployment and underemployment remains an important long-term challenge for the country.

» Although the country has poverty issues, they are hidden well from the tourists who visit this Caribbean paradise. " The sun shines yearround, we have nearly 250 miles of pristine coastlines, and we have 23,000 rooms available for tourists." «

Although Mejía’s term was fraught with controversy, he remains committed to his country and its residents. As an active member of the Global Center for Development and Democracy, Mejia is pushing for more social equality, while making political institutions more inclusive.

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to me that he would like to comment on tourism and agriculture. So, that is exactly what he did. Mejía expressed that the Dominican Republic is a “poor country with happy people.” He is right – the estimated 9.8 million Dominican people are by nature, friendly and warm-hearted and ranked as 2nd happiest out of 143 countries based on life expectancy, satisfaction levels, and ecological practices as measured by the New Economics Foundations Happiness Index.

Although the country has poverty issues, they are hidden well from the tourists who visit this Caribbean paradise. “The sun shines year-round; we have nearly 250 miles of pristine coastlines, and we have 23,000 rooms available for tourists,” Mejía said. As the country tries to lure millions to its beaches, it is ecotourism that is a growing industry. Ecotourism is a form of responsible travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strives to be low - Hipólito Mejía impact, while engaging the traveler with the environment and cultural heritage of the area. Mejía expressed that the DR is a “world leader in this new type of tourism.” In fact, the DR is one of just a few countries that has nine distinct ecological zones – each different and exciting – like Duarte Peak which rises 10,560 feet within the Cordillera Central Mountain chain or Lake Enriquillo which is 15 feet below sea level – which bodes well of this sort of tourism. When asked about foreign ownership in tourism and any social or political difficulties that may arise from that, he assured me that 95% of all hotels are owned by foreigners, mostly American, and that there are “no problems.”

Over the last few years, the growing hospitality service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy's largest employer, but the DR is highly dependent upon the U.S. for its agricultural products. Overall, agricultural exports of sugar, coffee, fruit, and tobacco contribute nearly 12% of GDP, while 60% - 70% of revenues come from the U.S. Other major trading partners include Canada, Japan and countries in Western Europe. Based on a strong 50 year democracy, Mejía believes that his country needs to be more favorably presented by the media. He stressed the importance of the press to share the breakthroughs in the country’s improving

» "The Dominican Republic is one of just a few countries that has nine distinct ecological zones - each different and exciting - like Duarte Peak which rises 10,560 feet within the Cordillera Central Mountain chain or Lake Enriquillo which is 15 feet below sea level." « -Hipólito Mejía

education systems, reduced poverty levels, conservation initiatives, and infrastructure improvements in highways, electricity, and high speed communications. Mejía said, “The quality of the experience will sell itself.” Mejía’s goodbye to me was when he handed me a card that said “Llego Papa” which translates to “Get Papa.” He explained to me that he was running again. I joked that “Get Papa” can be taken in more than one way. He laughed and patted me on the back and then there was that slight squeeze on the shoulder that served as a handshake. While there was no audience for my questions on trade and investment, being outflanked by a career politician is nothing to be ashamed of. And the more controversial the country, the more adroit and maneuverable its leader. Whether one agrees with Mejía or not, there is no denying the power of his charm.

Photo: Javier Manzano

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Heads of State




Distributing Opportunities to the People of Ecuador By Jan Mazotti


cuador is in a transition. Education inequities, poverty, and trade concerns are just a few of the internal issues troubling the country. And 22 years after taking office, during the Biennial of the Americas, former President Rodrigo Borja (1988-1992) discussed his thoughts on democracy, educational inequalities, and the digital revolution, and his country’s most valuable economic assets.

For Borja, democracy is more than a form of government; it is a way to organize society – one based on political, social, and economic participation and integration. As an active member of the Global Center for Development and Democracy and an expert in Ecuadoran politics, Borja remarks, “Democracy is not simply the act of voting, but also the ability of the citizenry to participate economically and socially in the benefits produced by the democratic system.” It is something he believes in strongly in and remains passionate about. He says, “We have to make social reform that will redistribute educational justice, healthcare, and security opportunities. It is not a matter of distributing money, but rather distributing opportunities.”

presence, the country has rich petroleum reserves which make up about 40% of the countries GDP. Agriculturally rich, Ecuador’s most valuable exports include shrimp, bananas, coffee, rice, and chocolate. They too, are one of the largest exporters of flowers in the world. Ecuador's active membership in global trade organizations and its participation in a number of regional free trade zones confirm the nation's trend toward liberalization and its commitment to open trade. Ecuador is a member of the World Trade Organization, the Andean Community, and the Latin American Integration Association. Ecuador has also completed bilateral free trade agreements with Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela. They are negotiating a trade agreement with Mexico, and are engaged in trade talks with the Mercosur nations of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

» " Democracy is not simply the act of voting, but also the ability of the citizenry to participate economically and socially in the benefits produced by the democratic system." «

Currently, education is a major initiative in Ecuador – with doubled spending on an annualized basis. While recognizing the progression of the current regime to enhance funding to education he hints at a rift between the haves and have-nots of his country. “The current digital revolution has helped create a knowledge society,” he says. “This society is dynamic, and there is a tendency for knowledge to be highly focused, exacerbating the concentration of physical property. Our response should be to spread electronic literacy and knowledge diffusion through massive computer availability.” He goes on, “There is more knowledge in a Sunday New York Times than a man in the 1700s had in a lifetime. Imbalance of knowledge can cause the same type of danger as an imbalance of wealth. There will always remain a division between those who are connected and those who are disconnected. We must always be aware that science moves with quick steps and ethics move slowly forward.” Obviously an advocate of access for all, no matter the socioeconomic status, Borja will continue to support educational equality. According to Borja, Ecuador is absolutely interested in promoting economic growth through trade. In fact, his policies helped open Ecuador to foreign trade opportunities. Besides a rich agricultural

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Ecuador's application of free market principles, including the lowering of trade barriers, its participation in numerous international trade organizations, and a firm commitment to diversification of its economy and reform of its financial institutions, are helping to restore a favorable balance of trade and generally better the nation's economy. Borja reiterated, “Ecuador is a country - Rodrigo Borja that is open to legitimate outside foreign investment. Our most important objective is to make sure that foreign investors and the people of Ecuador receive equitable opportunities to take advantage of trading and that there is justice and protection with both sides.” Historically, poverty has been higher in rural areas and has been characterized by a lack of education, a lack of access to land, and few non-agricultural employment opportunities. In several business surveys, Ecuador-based businesses would like to hire more permanent workers, but are deterred by a lack of educated workers, scarce credit, poor technological infrastructure, and general uncertainty in the overall business environment. The poor, but particularly women, have historically had limited access to the formal labor, land, and credit markets and thereby

have lacked full political participation. However, the relatively strong economy that has blessed the country over the last five years has caused overall poverty declines in urban Ecuador, but rural and indigenous populations remain poor, with a relatively high poverty rate hovering near 35%-38% of total population. As a result of the high levels of rural poor, many international programs and projects have come into the country – most with little meaningful result.

» " There is more knowledge in a Sunday New York Times than a man in the 1700s had in a lifetime. Imbalance of knowledge can cause the same type of danger as an imbalance of wealth." « - Rodrigo Borja

Ecuador’s health systems are ranked relatively low by international standards, partly because of eratic government expenditures over the last two decades. In fact, healthcare expenditures have ranged from 0.6 to 1.3 percent of overall GDP in the same time frame. As a result, the volatility of government funding and the broad variety of indigenous groups with numerous languages and populations in remote areas have caused a lack of continuity in social health programming across the board. Estimates suggest that as much as 20 to 30 percent of Ecuador's population lack immediate access to health services, and 70 percent are without health insurance and do not have the means to pay for care. These marginalized groups often rely on traditional medicine and aid from volunteers and NGOs. According to Borja, events like the Biennial, “really deepen the roots of understanding between countries. It is an opportuity to deepen the relationships and generate friendships — all of which leads to a better understanding between countries.” Borja’s ideals and mission to bring reform to his country are well purposed, and 22 years after taking office, he remains committed to Ecuador. He is seen as a prominent figure who will challenge the system to elevate his country and push for meaningful improvement.

Photo: Javier Manzano

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Noboa Peace, Progress, and Justice By Jan Mazotti

t is said that leaders rise out of chaos, and in the case of Gustavo Noboa this saying is literally true. In 2000, during extreme political unrest and the ousting of President Mahuad in the capital city of Quito, Ecuador, Noboa, then vice president, took the reins of his country and began to lead. It was chaotic; the country was in the midst of a major recession, and maintained significant foreign debt. The government was debating privatization of the utilities, and had proposed the transition of the nation’s currency to the U.S. dollar. The citizens, especially farmers, were in an uproar. Driven by the desire to guide Ecuador with market-oriented policies, Noboa often met with political fragmentation, which further caused slow-downs in reform efforts and debt refinancing efforts. Noboa was in office until 2003. Today, Noboa participates as an advisor and firm advocator for the Social Agenda for Democracy in Latin America, a policy recommendation to current Latin heads of state, which outlines the 16 most pressing issues of the region and identifies approximately 60 specific public and private recommendations to conquer these issues, while requiring accountability economically, socially, and politically.

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Committed to making a difference, Noboa regularly travels, speaks, and writes about the importance of these types of dialogues. He has historically used the example of energy development in Ecuador to prove his point. He says, “In Ecuador, nature has rights. Over time, we were able to build the oil pipeline, in spite of the environmentalists. Nevertheless, wind energy could not be established in the Galápagos Islands due to the opposition of environmental NGOs. There is a permanent theme: How is it that with good intentions, we trip over the same rock—our own groups that impede development? What to do? Dialogue.”

» "Democracy is in danger across Latin America. The essence of democracy is change between one group and another. Now there is no true separation of power in our government systems. Anyone who speaks against government is repressed." «

In Denver for the Biennial, President Noboa shared his expertise, both personal and political, with attendees at the Healthcare and Heads of State Roundtables, which opened with President Clinton, via video, discussing the importance of equality in the hemisphere in terms of incomes, healthcare, and education. Clinton said, “140 million people in Latin America do not have access to clean drinking water. We have a chance to learn... Our common humanity matters.” And with that, the roundtable began with President Noboa saying, “Health is a day-to-day issue and prevention is crucial. In Ecuador, we must be in the position to handle all possible threats. Education is another issue. We must educate in the area of prevention.” Many NGOs would agree. Although the country has basically eliminated yellow fever, and is seeing significant declines in malaria and tuberculosis, malnutrition is widespread and infant mortality rates are relatively high, at 23 per 1000. There is still need for other preventative health measures including clean water and sanitation options.

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In his opening remarks at the Heads of State Roundtable, Noboa proclaimed, in a most colorful fashion that, “Democracy is in danger across Latin America.” And to that remark...the audience erupted in applause. He said that democracies in some countries today are really just dictatorships that look like democracy because they hold elections. Then he rhetorically asked, “Is that really democracy? The essence of democracy is change between one group and another. Now there is no true separation of power in our government systems. Anyone who speaks against government is repressed,” he said.

Economic and cultural globalization is moving forward, and through the Social Agenda, - Gustavo Noboa Noboa and his fellow heads of state remain on the pulse point of the issues and remain committed to improving education, public health, regional physical infrastructure, housing, and the environment – all for the purpose of opening up opportunities for decent employment, which improves living standards. Noboa has also recognized the threats of illegal drug production, trafficking and consumption as a global problem that threatens the, “development and safety of our countries and of the international community. It is one of the most harmful and dangerous forms

of organized transnational crime that threatens the state of law and distorts the economy.” He should know, since Ecuador has become a country of transit, storage and distribution for much of the U.S.-bound cocaine from Colombia. “Our obligation as heads of states is to lead our countries toward progress amid these rapidly changing conditions,” said Noboa at a past Andean Community Summit.

» Ecuador has become a country of transit, storage and distribution for much of the U.S.-bound cocaine from Colombia. "Our obligation as heads of states is to lead our countries toward progress amid these rapidly changing conditions." « - Gustavo Noboa

Noboa realistically recognizes that none of the social and political agenda items will happen in a vacuum. It will take joint efforts between the Latin Countries, the U.S. and others in the hemisphere if we are to indeed see a meaningful shift in the overall agenda. He understands that there may be chaos. But, he is committed to teaching the lessons that he, his predecessors, and his colleagues have learned — the mistakes, hurdles, and successes of a country's regime and how to maintain civility through growth, without leaving behind the constructs of basic democracy and human rights. Noboa proclaims, “The adoption of correct, timely, and appropriate policies in the social sector builds up democracy while defending the human rights of the citizens of our countries. This is an everyday task that should occupy our efforts fully.”

Photo: Javier Manzano

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Vinicio Cerezo A Cord of Many Strands By Jennifer Watson


less optimistic man might have given up.

Faced with the social, political and economic challenges of his country, another man might have left it all behind for an easier life elsewhere. Yet, Vinicio Cerezo, former president of the Republic of Guatemala and current member of the National Congress, has chosen to stay in his county's service. Two decades after his presidency, he continues to reach out to other world leaders to encourage agreements he believes are crucial to Guatemala's future. "Continuity and time--those are the two things our country needs," President Cerezo said during his trip to Denver for the Biennial of the Americas. "If we have security, we will have stability. Then, we will have the conditions for people to work and create prosperity." The relative stability of Guatemala came at a steep price and remains threatened by crime and inequality. As the first civilian leader elected after decades of military rule and civil war, Cerezo knows how difficult it was to promote democracy and economic opportunity. To preserve those gains amidst new challenges, Cerezo believes his nation must return to the city of Esquipulas to forge another historic multinational agreement. Guatemala today rises from a fragile foundation. Known as the "Land of Eternal Spring," Guatemala lies directly below Mexico on the western side of Central America. Slightly smaller than Tennessee, Guatemala encompasses large cities, Pacific coastal areas, rain forests and lush highlands populated mainly by Mayan villagers. Its soil and climate have made Guatemala an agricultural exporter, with coffee, sugar, bananas and, more recently, ethanol among its chief crops.

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Guatemala suffers from economic inequalities that stretch back to colonial days. When the Spanish conquered the Maya in the 1500s, they took the land and established a new economic system that left the Maya in poverty. Guatemala established its independence in 1821, but the economic inequality persisted through the decades and eventually led to military rule and a 36year civil war that left more than 100,000 dead. A United Nations sponsored commission reported that 83 percent of the dead were Mayan, and experts estimate that another 1 million Guatemalans fled the country. With most of its money going to the military and foreign investors unwilling to do business there, Guatemala sank into widespread, chronic poverty.

Âť "We had to convert our government into a civilian system, reorganize our economic system so people in the countryside could produce and export crops, and convince the army to allow people to take the money being spent on guns and war and put it toward our social system." ÂŤ

Tourism is also thriving in Guatemala. Traces of the great Mayan communities that ruled Guatemala for more than 1,000 years are still found in Tikal and other world-famous archaeological sites. Visitors also come to Guatemala for its hiking, wildlife, Spanish-language schools and beaches. Cities like Antigua, which is ringed by volcanoes and filled with Spanish architecture from Guatemala's colonial past, rely heavily on tourism.

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The diverse heritage that makes Guatemala such an interesting place to visit has also led to inequality and conflict. Guatemala is one of the few countries in the world with a significant indigenous population. Although Spanish is the official language, more than 40 percent of the population is Mayan and speaks one of 23 Mayan languages. The remainder of the population is primarily of Spanish or Ladino (mixed Spanish and Amerindian) descent.

- Vinicio Cerezo

Eventually, protests inside and outside the country gained traction, and, in 1986, Guatemala held its first free elections in decades. The man who emerged as president was Vinicio Cerezo, a Christian Democrat with no ties to the military. The son of a Supreme Court judge, Cerezo studied law and survived several assassination attempts before assuming office.

He remembers his inauguration day vividly and ticks off the three problems his government faced. "We had to convert our government into a civilian system, reorganize our economic system so people in the countryside could produce and export crops, and convince the army to allow people to take the money being spent on guns and war and put it toward our social system."

The problems in Guatemala didn't exist in isolation however, within six months Cerezo took a trip to Esquipulas on the GuatemalanHonduran border to discuss the military conflicts being waged throughout the region. The gathering with other Central American leaders eventually produced the Esquipulas Peace Agreement, which defined a regional framework for economic cooperation, conflict resolution, democratization and refugee assistance. The Esquipulas negotiations also laid the groundwork for the UNsponsored Oslo Accord, which in turn produced the peace agreement ending Guatemala's civil war. Although the final agreement was signed after Cerezo left office in 1991, he was able to improve economic conditions and negotiate a peaceful transfer of power to his elected successor. Guatemala has remained at peace since the mid-1990s and tourists and foreign investors have slowly returned to the country. Until the worldwide recession hit, Guatemala was enjoying an annual economic growth rate of more than 4 percent. Many of the old challenges persist however, five percent of the population holds 90 percent of the country's wealth, Cerezo said, and the Maya continue to live in extreme poverty. Literacy and graduation rates, particularly among children from rural families, remain extremely low. More schools must be built to accommodate growing populations, and poor families need support so they can send their children to school rather than to work, Cerezo said. "If we don't resolve this problem, our other initiatives will fail," he said. "We need people with the education to grow our economy." As important as education is, Cerezo points to rising crime as the biggest challenge his country faces. According to the U.S. State Department, Guatemala has one of the highest violent crime rates in Latin America. The country is a major corridor for the cocaine and heroin trade between South and North America, and human traffickers are seizing Guatemalans for forced labor and sexual exploitation. "[Crime] is increasing political instability and diminishing the ability of the government to solve problems," Cerezo said, noting criminals are bribing government officials and recruiting rural villagers into their networks. Guatemala shares these problems with its neighbors, and Cerezo is encouraging Central American leaders to gather again in Esquipulas to develop common laws for promoting education, trade and security throughout the region. He has had conversations with Central and South American leaders and said they agree that greater cooperation is needed. "Democracy is increasing, and the richness of our countries and the confidence of foreign investors to come to our countries is increasing," he said. "We realized, however, that without sharing the wealth, without giving people education, health and opportunity to work, we would fail. It would undermine what we had accomplished, and we would risk returning to dictatorships." He hopes a Central American agreement will be followed by other agreements throughout the Americas. "All the countries must work together,� he said. The gathering in Denver is another step forward in that process. Jennifer Watson, APR, is vice president of public relations at MGA Communications, Inc., a public relations, marketing and research firm in Denver.

Photo: Javier Manzano

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Heads of State


Dr. Nicolás Ardito


The Logistics of Building a Collaborative Country By Camron Moore

n a time when countries and economies across the globe face the challenge of finding new and innovative ways to do business, the Biennial of the Americas offered an opportunity for 35 nations of the Western Hemisphere to engage in open dialogue about what’s working, what’s not, and how countries can work together. “The Biennial of the Americas provided an exceptional forum that fostered open communications and provided the opportunity to learn from each other and share the stories of our countries. In today’s world, communication is the name of the game. We must recognize our interconnectedness to better education, which affects poverty, the economy, healthcare, and so many other areas,” said Dr. Nicolás Ardito Barletta, former president of Panama. Throughout the Biennial, participants shared stories of successes and failures, which support the need for more in-depth political relationships throughout the region. Barletta said, the Biennial had a huge impact because, “Political relationships among countries today have much to do with people’s relations. The more our people know the realities of each other, improve their abilities and opportunities to communicate peacefully, find common ground, and identify mutually interesting opportunities, the better our political relationships will be.” And for success to manifest, it will take collaboration and leadership, and there is perhaps no better place to look than Panama. While Panama has always been a globalized economy due to its strategic geographic location, it has become a major hub for trade and business across the Americas, and around the world. Recent figures estimate that, 4.3% of world maritime trade transits the Panama Canal, and 35% of Asia Pacific trade to the East coast of the USA transits the canal. These impressive figures demonstrate Panama’s current role in global logistics, but the canal is currently undergoing a $5.2 billion expansion project that will increase capacity for both volume and size of vessels, further growing Panama’s role in global trade. Additionally, Panama hosts the Colón Free Trade Zone (CFZ) the second largest free trade zone in the world, located at the Atlantic entrance to the canal. The CFZ has a total activity volume of $19 billion per year, and is home

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to an international banking center that last year had deposits of over $578 billion and over $65 billion in assets. Building on the success of the canal, Panama has worked diligently to build an infrastructure that will allow it to continue to grow its global footprint. The recently completed Tocumen International Airport, one of the most modern and technologically advanced airports in Central and South America, provides the much increased capacity for both passengers and cargo needed to continue the growth trends. To complete the inter-modal transportation triangle the Trans-Isthmian Railroad runs between the Pacific and the Atlantic ports, and handles approximately 360,000 containers per year, in addition to offering luxurious passenger service through the lush jungles of Panama.

» "Political relationships among countries today have much to do with people’s relations. The more our peoples know the realities of each other, improve their abilities and opportunities to communicate peacefully, find common ground, and identify mutually interesting opportunities, the better our political relationships will be." « - Dr. Nicolás Ardito Barletta

While the future of Panama is highly anticipated, success will not be met without great effort. When asked what are the greatest challenges facing Panama today Barletta responded, “There are two major challenges – the full development, modernization and strengthening of our institutions and the development of the full potential of the people through education and training. Panama is a small country with a small population, yet with a worldwide outreach in a globalized economy. We must apply the highest standards to do business and to maintain our openness to international business. Institutions and trained people are indispensable to manage those opportunities successfully. We are emphasizing education and training, institutions, infrastructure, openness and promotion to continue attracting business here. The clustering of complementary activities and a good modern quality of life are also a high priority.” Although education and training is the most important input for his people’s development, they still have a long

way to go. He said that continued development and promotion for the advancement of economic growth through education is paramount to Panama’s growth. “We have a sufficient quantity of education, including universities. But we have to improve the quality and relevance of it. The university enrollment in Panama per capita compares to the levels of developed countries. Panamanian young people want to study and improve. But we have to give them the quality needed in today´s world. We need to continue emphasizing a humane education attentive to values and our culture, as well as increasing emphasis in technology and innovation.”

» "There are two major challenges (facing Panama) – the full development, modernization and strengthening of our institutions and the development of the full potential of the people through education and training." « - Dr. Nicolás Ardito Barletta

A challenge that is strongly interconnected with education is poverty – the divide between the haves and have–nots – is prevalent in Panama and across the Western Hemisphere. “Today, 28% of Panamanians are still poor – an unacceptable figure. Two thirds of those Panamanians are poor in rural areas, and one fourth of them are native indigenous people,” remarked Barletta. However, the influx of new jobs, education and health facilities caused poverty to be reduced from 37% to 28% from 2002 to 2008. Although Panama is making strides, Barletta reminds us that, “We need to increase our programs and efforts because 43% of Panamanians are younger than 20 years old and 56% of the poor are also younger than 20 years old. We need to emphasize education, health, nutrition, basic needs, information, and gender equality for the poor of our country.” With a quick glance at Panama's recent growth in trade, employment, education, and GDP and its reduction in overall poverty levels you can infer that this is a country on the rise, due in part to its strategic geographic location, but due in greater part to collaborative, transformational leadership like that of Dr. Nicolás Ardito Barletta.

Photo: Javier Manzano

Nicolás Ardito Barletta

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Photo: Eric Stephenson Photography

city exhibitions and special events

the hemisphere with security specialists from throughout the hemisphere. Moderated by former Colorado U.S. Senator and current Vice Chair of the U.S. Homeland Security Council Gary Hart, the panel explored issues surrounding global interdependence, community engagement, and information sharing. Hart said, “Terrorism is not just a national threat, but is an international threat.”

» "Terrorism is not just a national threat, but is an international threat." « - Gary Hart

USAF Honor Guard 11th Operations Group, Bolling Air Force Base

We Are All In This


Citizen Engagement to Stop Terrorism

Stopping Terrorism Through Transnational Security Cooperation


l Qaida and the Taliban are not the only terrorist threats that people in the Western Hemisphere face. In fact, it is the drug cartels along the Mexican border, the FARC in Colombia, the ELN, the AMIA, and the AUC who also perpetuate regional terrorist activities, including bombings, arms smuggling, money laundering, and human trafficking. Moreover, parts of the hemisphere are experiencing surges in Islamic fundamentalism perpetuated by Hamas and Hezbollah. In fact, in 2000, Latin America experienced 193 terrorist attacks – almost half of all world attacks combined – prompting

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The esteemed roundtable participants included William R. Brownfield, U.S. Ambassador to Colombia; General Victor Renuart (Ret.), Commander of U.S. Northern Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD); Oscar Morales, Colombian native and executive president of the One Million Voices Foundation; and Ralph Basham, former commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They all agreed with Gary Hart's words.

By Jan Mazotti

embassy closings and security warnings. Then 9/11 occurred and things changed. On September 10, 2001, there was a lack of transparency between local, state, federal and international security entities. For the most part, no one was talking to each other or sharing information. The Organization of American States denounced the attacks and called for “hemispheric cooperation to combat this scourge.” Today things have become more transparent, but there is still a long way to go. During the Biennial of the Americas, in front of 750 citizens, the Center for Empowered Living and Learning explored transnational security within

In an unlikely banter between roundtable panel members, there was a spirited dialogue about citizen engagement and acceptance of terrorist activities. Basham asserted that, “We have become complacent in the U.S. because we only have periodic issues.” General Renuart agreed. He said, “Our consciousness as a nation is finite. We want to solve the problems and get on with life.” Morales, the creator of One Million Voices Against FARC and leader of the largest anti-terrorism demonstration in history, concurred. He said, “We (Colombians) watched the news and saw terrorist actions and all we did was complain.” Instead of standing idly by, Morales mobilized marches against FARC using social media platforms like Facebook. In less than a month, more than 400,000 volunteers and some 12 million people in 200+ cities and 40 different countries

Photo: Eric Stephenson Photography

A spirited dialogue about citizen engagement and acceptance of terrorist activities between panel members.

marched against the FARC terrorists. Morales said, “I found technology and decided to speak out against these terrorist actions. Now the civil societies are saying ‘We won’t take it anymore!’ “

Ambassador Brownfield said the hemisphere needs a long term plan to conquer terrorism. “Terrorism is not a 60-minute football game. If the host government does not buy in, there can be no long-term solution to terrorist problems.” He should know – he has served in some of the most volatile countries in the hemisphere including Venezuela from 2004-2007 and in Colombia since 2007. He went on, “One size does not fit all. You need different plans for different terrorists.” The back and forth discussion continued at a moderate pace until General Renuart said that transnational security cooperation is essential if peaceful-minded countries are to win (whatever that means) the hemispheric war on terrorism. He maintained that we must have coalition building, cooperation, and communication. “Threats don’t look at a watch – we must develop coalitions with patience. Unless we work collaboratively, we are not going to get at the root of terrorism,” Renuart said. Basham echoed the General Renuart’s sentiments and went further to comment that U.S. intelligence officers are a bit arrogant in how they collect and distribute

Photo: Eric Stephenson Photography

Planning and Collaboration Are Key

» Morales mobilized marches against FARC using social media platforms like Facebook. In less than a month, more than 400,000 volunteers and some 12 million people in 200+ cities and 40 different countries marched against the FARC terrorists. «

intelligence. He said, on 9/11 the U.S. intelligence community began to share information with Mexico, Canada and other partners in ways that they would have never considered on September 10th. But, he stressed, the U.S. needs to do a better job in its intelligence and information sharing at the local and state levels since that is where the majority of terrorism detection occurs. Currently, officials often do not receive the intelligence information. He said, “Sharing information with state and local law enforcement is very difficult. Who can you give the information to?” Brownfield concurred but pushed for additional transparency. Leaving the discussion, there was no way anyone felt that the world was a tranquil place and participants all realized that national security has become interdependent on global security. Morales and Brownfield agreed that if countries all work as a team in terrorthreatened areas success can be achieved. Brownfield said, “Success is the absence of crisis and the absence of problems. In Colombia we have seen success .” Morales reiterated that without the collaboration that now exists between the public and the diplomats, "we would have never seen success in Colombia." They both said that Colombia has been an excellent learning experience for the entire hemisphere in how to deal with terrorism, prevent terrorism, and rally public support for the efforts.

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city exhibitions and special events

All Nations Skate Jam

Bicycle Ride Through Denver


By Annette Perez

articipants of the Energy roundtable donned bicycle helmets, while in their suits, and rode through the streets of Denver to the Ellie Caulkins Theatre. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood praised the efforts of the B-Cycle program by saying, “The Bike Share Program is

the model for the country. Denver is one of the best in transportation due to the efforts of the city and Mayor Hickenlooper.” The B-cycle Program allows customers to purchase a 24-hour membership, select and take the bike, ride the bike to a destination and return it at any convenient location.


By Annette Perez

ver the weekend of July 10th, the Biennial partnered with Our Nations Energies (ONE) to host a skate jam at the Downtown Denver Skatepark. Over 200 amateur skaters, skating legends and skate companies participated in the weekend gathering. Alongside the skating competition was an entertainment area where local bands like Racecar Spelled Backwards, Gabriel YAIVA, Beer Boyz, Trickshot, and The Skyline Surrender performed. A market was established for the non-skaters that had Native American vendors, non-profit organizations, youth groups, dancers, artists, filmmakers, and ecological groups showcasing their work.

From Left to Right – Sec. Ray LaHood, David Eves, Amb. Carolina Barco, Enrique Peñalosa, Mayor John Hickenlooper, Lee McIntire, Amb. Gary Doer, Jim Polsfut

Photo: Eli Regalado

ICOSA was honored and humbled to spend time with the former heads of state during their trip to the Aspen Institute. As a souvenir from the great state of Colorado, ICOSA publisher Gayle Dendinger and Sheplers, a western-wear store, gifted genuine cowboy hats to each head of state and to the mayor. The hats were well received and ultimately were showcased on the cover of this issue.

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Photos: Kit Williams

Hat Presentation By Annette Perez


city exhibitions and special events

The Hard Hat Gala


MUTEK Perspectives By Allison Mendes

through major renovations over the last 12 months. The evening’s events included DJ’s spinning music while wearing construction clothing to honor the theme. The space was infused with neon, club-themed pink, green and blue lights. Attendees included sponsors, city staff, and collaborative partners of the Biennial.

Photos: Allison Mendes

hree months before the Biennial of the Americas officially opened the McNichols Building to the public, an elaborate event was held in its honor. The McNichols building has been a monument in the Denver area since the 1900’s, but the structure has gone

By Annette Perez

Murcof +

Moleculagem and Mossa

Press Conference to Kick-off the Biennial Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper officially opened the Biennial of the America’s monthlong celebration with performances by Bolivian and Chilean dancers, speeches from key leaders, and the public opening of the McNichols building in Civic Center Park. Mayor Hickenlooper and his team expressed their sincere thanks to all of the sponsors for their generous donations of time and money and then invited everyone to enjoy the art exhibitions titled The Nature of Things.

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Photo: Kit Williams Photography

By Annette Perez

MUTEK is known for presenting avant-garde audiovisual arts. The performance featured artists from opposite ends of the spectrum — the meditative, trance inducing light performance of Murcof + Moleclagem and the interactive, dance club atmosphere of Mossa. Murcof + Moleclagem combined a collective of Brazilian artists with a background in video and music production and the modern, spiritual compositions of Murcof who used technology to create suites of music resulting in an otherworldly, futuristic experience. Montreal artist Mossa is a classically trained musician turned DJ with a passion for deconstructing music into electronic compositions. This exciting combination of visual and audio led to a seemingly spontaneous dance party on the third floor of the historic McNichols building.

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city exhibitions and special events

Brazilian CEO Forum


ot only was the city of Denver on the international stage for the Biennial of the Americas it was also in the international spotlight for the annual U.S.Brazil CEO Forum. The Forum consisted of 20 CEOs from companies in the United States and Brazil who meet biannually to offer guidance to both governments on ways to reinforce positive interactions between the countries. While in Denver, the topics concentrated on bilateral tax treaty negotiations, facilitation of customs reform, energy and infrastructure. The campus at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) served as the conference location and is one of the most technologically advanced and energy efficient facilities in the world. Participants included James Hackett, chairman, president and CEO from Andarko Petroleum Corporation; Lee McIntire, president and CEO of CH2M HILL; William Rhodes, chairman, president and CEO of Citibank N.A.; Gregory Page, chairman and CEO of Cargill; Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company; Tim Solso, chairman and CEO of Cummins, Inc.; David B. Speer, chairman and CEO of Illinois Tool Works, Inc.; John Faraci, chairman and CEO of International Paper; Greg Brown, president and Co-CEO of Motorola Inc.; Stephen Angel, chairman, president and CEO of Praxair, Inc.; Carlos Alberto Vieira, CEO of Banco Safra S.A.; Luiz Roberto Nascimento, vice chairman of the board of Camargo Corrêa S.A.; Frederico Fleury Curado, president and CEO of Embraer; Jorge Gerdau Johannpeter, chairman of the board of directors of Grupo Gerdau; Marcelo Odebrecht, chairman and CEO


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of Odebrecht S.A.; Marco Antonio Stefanini, CEO of Stefanini IT Solutions; José Luís Cutrale, CEO of Sucocítrico Cutrale Ltda; Roger Agnelli, CEO of Vale; and Jose Roberto Ermírio de Moraes, CEO of Votorantim Participações S.A. This forum was co-chaired by U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke and White House Deputy National Security Advisor, Michael Froman. Following the CEO Forum, the participants bustled over to the McNichols building where a roundtable discussion was held to highlight energy and trade topics.

Jim Polsfut moderates the discussion at the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum.

Delivering Health and Hope to Panama By Bridget Boyd

uring the Biennial, Project C.U.R.E. held its fifth annual First Ladies’ Luncheon in Denver, Colorado welcoming the First Lady of Panama, Mrs. Marta Martinelli. More than 1,600 distinguished business, community and social leaders gathered at the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Convention Center Hotel to attend what has now become Denver’s largest fundraising luncheon. About 10 percent of Panama’s population is indigenous and live in regions of the country where proper medical care is often not immediately available. As First Lady Martinelli explained, “These people are living in remote areas of difficult geographic access in a country struggling for greater equality and a better distribution of wealth and opportunities.”

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By Annette Perez

Provisions provided by Project C.U.R.E. will equip the struggling communities with the healthcare infrastructure needed to decrease child mortality, improve maternal health, and fight life-threatening diseases like HIV and malaria, as well as common illnesses such as diarrhea. The First Lady of Colorado, Jeannie Ritter, was the honorary chair of the event and was joined by the former First Lady of Colorado, Francis Owens. Other chairs were Susan Kiely, humanitarian and wife of MillerCoors CEO, Leo Kiely and Dr. AnnaMarie Jackson, wife of Project C.U.R.E. founder, Dr. James W. Jackson. Project C.U.R.E. continues to collect funds to underwrite the costs of collection and delivery of medical supplies and equipment for Panama. To contribute to this effort, please visit

Photo: Jimmy Dozer of Jimmy's Photography

Dr. Douglas Jackson and Marta Martinelli, First Lady of Panama


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city exhibitions and special events

Tree Planting


Steel Drums By Annette Perez

During his remarks, Mayor Hickenlooper said, "Other cities like Los Angeles and New York have heard about what is happening here and have called me wondering why they don't have these amazing events in their cities. To them my answer is simple... It is in Denver, because Denver is Denver.  Only the great people of Denver have what it takes to put an event like this together."

Photo: Blacktie LLC and photographer Steve Shoppman

Peace Tree Planting Ceremony was held at the Denver Botanic Gardens in conjunction with the Former Heads of State and the Organization of American States. The shovels to dig the holes came from the McNichols exhibit Palas por Pistolas (Pistols for Shovels). After the ceremony, guests attended a private reception at the home of Liberty Global’s Michael and Amber Fries.

By Annette Perez


ot only was the Biennial permeated with art, but it was also filled with music. Ray Holman, a composer, arranger and steel drum performer from Trinidad and Tobago offered workshops during the Biennial to teach people the significance of the steel drums and how their history is important to the music culture. After the workshops, Holman performed a concert to highlight his music. Holman has won many prestigious musical awards, including the Hummingbird Silver Medal of Merit from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and a Pan Legend Award from the New York Folk Arts Institute and the U.S. Congress. He was also recognized for his musical contribution by the Republic Pan Fiesta in 2003.

From left, Paola Santoscoy, Brian Vogt, Sarada Krishnan, Adam Blackwell, Dennis Gallagher, Donna Good

Luncheon for Former Heads of State Over lunch at Kevin Taylor’s Opera House following the Summit of the Former Heads of State Roundtable, President Alejandro Toledo (Peru 2001-2006) spoke to Summit participants and answered questions from the luncheon guests. Topics ranged from the importance of women’s education in economic development to Mr. Toledo’s vision for future relations between the Americas, including the potential for an open border system similar to that of the European Union.

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Photo: Allison Mendes

By Allison Mendes

...from Secretary Hilda Solis By Annette Perez Dafna Michaelson of 50 in 52 provided live Twitter coverage for each of the roundtables. Michaelson’s phenomenal ability to continuously tweet in 140-characters grabbed the attention of Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis. Secretary Solis tweeted back to Michaelson expressing gratitude to her for her efforts.

city exhibitions and special events

Gipsy Kings

Summit of Bilateral



Ambassador Francisco Villagrán de Leon, Ambassador to the United States from Guatemala; Ambassador Arturo Fermandois Ambassador to the U.S. from Chile; and Ambassador Luis Valdivieso, Ambassador to the United States from Peru. Victoria Lopez Negrete, Western Union senior vice president, general manager, and Hispanic Product Manager for Mexico said, "At Western Union we have a long history of service and commitment in the Western Hemisphere, and we were pleased to be a sponsor of this historic first Biennial of the Americas. We believe in supporting the communities where we do business. Remittances, the money workers around the world send home to their loved ones, promote economic opportunity and reduce poverty. Public-private partnership is critical in this era of globalization and the Biennial aims to promote a broader vision of the hemisphere’s common destiny." The representative members and sponsor of this roundtable live the mission of the Biennial of the Americas everyday seeking collaboration and cohesion throughout the Western Hemisphere.

B y Annette Perez

he Gipsy Kings brought their rumba flamenca flavored music to the world-renowned Red Rocks Amphitheatre on July 9th. Performing such hits as Bamboleo, Volare, La Quiero, Vamos A Bailar, and Tu Queres Volver, the crowd never had a chance to sit down. Prior to the concert there was a VIP event held for sponsors and collaborative partners to wrap-up the first week of Biennial events.

Photo: Courtesy of Wells Fargo

he Summit of Bilateral Ambassadors was an opportunity to focus attention on the many challenges and unifying activities facing the Western Hemisphere as a whole, with a gathering of diplomats, who offered frank discussion. The views of the eight ambassadors provided a broader vision of what they strive to achieve when working with partners throughout the Americas — like generating broad-based growth through free trade, developing sound economic policies, and investing in the well-being of people from all walks of life. Western Union, a leading bank in the United States with growing operations in Latin America, hosted the luncheon. Participants included Dr. Arturo Valenzuela U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs; Ambassador Vilma Martinez, U.S Ambassador to Argentina; Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, Ambassador to the United States from Mexico; Ambassador William Brownfield, U.S. Ambassador to Colombia; Ambassador Hugo Llorens, U.S Ambassador to Honduras;


By Camron Moore

Lyle Lovett


B y Annette Perez

ed Rocks’ acoustic and picturesque settings provided a perfect atmosphere for a summer concert with Lyle Lovett and His Large Band. Lovett performed his country style hits to a packed audience during the last weekend of Biennial events. Although it started raining during the show, it did not stop Lovett's “It’s Rock and Roll” from being a staple in the performance.

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Special Edition: The Biennial of the Americas 2010  

July - September 2010 Volume 2 Issue 3

Special Edition: The Biennial of the Americas 2010  

July - September 2010 Volume 2 Issue 3