Every three years an event is held known as the The Summits of the Americas where the Heads of State and Government from across the Western Hemisphere of the world gather together within an institutionalized setting in order to discuss and define an agenda that aims to address some of the urgent challenges and inspire positive change within.
This year, in its 7th year, the Summits will be held in Panama City, Panama on April 10th & 11th. The central theme of this year’s gathering will be “Prosperity with Equity: The Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas” and will largely focus on the co-participation of citizens and its government when it comes to such issues like education, health, energy, the environment, and so on.
The 7th Summit will be attended by President Barack Obama of the United States of America along with 34 other heads of state from North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean with the sole purpose of the countries trying to jointly tackle urgent challenges their area of the world needs to tackle.
The aim of the Summits is akin to a brainstorming session between the area’s high-tiered political figures. The Summit strives to connect leaders who share similar values, express their view on common policy issues, and then commit bringing forth actions at both the national and regional level.
In the past summits, there were certain topics discussed which President Obama could not talk on due to the country and its relation to them. Those topics were Cuba and Iran. However, with the recent nuclear deal with Iran and the growing relationship between the U.S and Cuba discussion that involves these two countries may be easier to talk about considering the country’s shift in-regards to them.
According to the Summits site, the meeting focuses on the following:
“Growth, employment, poverty, environmental sustainability, energy security, discrimination and crime are all issues that can be resolved with the democratic adoption and implementation of effective and efficient public policies. The Summit Process is looking for a multidimensional way to strengthen democracy and governance, helping to reduce poverty and increase opportunities in the Americas.”
One key component aside from the leaders who attend the Summit, is the very existence of Democracy itself.
“Democracy has always been a central subject in the Summits despite the heterogeneity of Summit themes. It has been addressed according to the needs and concerns of the Member States, including the construction of a democratic hemispheric community, the preservation and strengthening of the democratic system, good governance, and the inter-relationship between democracy and socio-economic issues. ”
With the Summit largely consisting of members from the Latin American world, it will be interesting to see what key topics are addressed at this year’s meeting especially when it comes to issues related towards the U.S. The large issues in the U.S. these days are immigration and discrimination against people of a non-white background. However, the former is far more debated among in this country than the latter and continues to go unaddressed despite executive actions and discussion of reform.
Overall, the general formation of a forum like the Summits where it consists of leaders who are meant to serve and practice democracy is not enabling in its growth but also permits to the hopeful outcome that it may largely benefit society that practices it.