Summit participants to confront critical issues in the Americas

The University of Miami will host the 2022 Concordia Americas Summit both in person and digitally July 13-14, when leaders from industry, government, community, and academia will work to confront the challenges and opportunities facing the Western Hemisphere. 

As a principal programming partner for the 2022 Concordia Americas Summit, the University is collaborating with Concordia’s partner organization for the event—the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS)—which the University also began working with in March. Bonds formed through the conference will help the University to cultivate relationships across Latin America and the Caribbean, ultimately working toward its goal to become a unifying institution for the region. This hemispheric leadership is part of the University’s strategic plan, called the Roadmap to Our New Century

“One of the most important roles we play as a University is as a convener of leading thinkers and doers—and from our founding, we have looked to do so not just in Miami, but across our hemisphere,” said University of Miami President Julio Frenk. “We are delighted to partner with Concordia to connect our researchers, students, and community with leaders from the public, private, and philanthropic sectors to help drive progress in the Americas.” 

Founded in 2011 to combat world extremism, Concordia is a nonprofit that fosters cooperation among leaders from every sector of the global community to solve a range of societal challenges with a goal of accomplishing positive social impacts. Some of the topics that the summit will focus on include innovative technology, democracy, security and geopolitical risk, health opportunities and challenges, environmental sustainability, and cultural diplomacy and youth advocacy. 

Concordia and the University are finalizing the summit programming. It will feature distinguished individuals such as Iván Duque Márquez, outgoing Colombian president; Vivek Murthy, United States surgeon general; Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States; Miami Mayor Francis Suarez; Eduardo Padrón, president emeritus of Miami Dade College; and possibly Guillermo Lasso, president of Ecuador. 

“With its deep history and strong track record of innovation, the University of Miami is a hub of dynamism, entrepreneurship, and thought leadership,” said Matthew Swift, co-founder and chief executive officer of Concordia. “We are so proud to work with this leading institution as we curate our Americas Summit program and look forward to elevating the voices of the next generation as we find solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the hemisphere.” 

A number of University leaders and faculty members will also be participating in sessions throughout the Americas Summit. Frenk, a noted public health expert and former minister of health in Mexico, will moderate a session about the need for a pandemic treaty. Felicia Knaul, director of the University’s Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas and a professor of public health, will speak about health opportunities and challenges across the western hemisphere. June Teufel Dreyer, a renowned expert on China, will speak about the country’s influence in the Americas. And Dr. Maritza Suarez, chief medical informatics officer at UHealth will participate in a roundtable with the Inter-American Development Bank on the digital transformation of health care. 

Laurie Silvers, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees and accomplished executive and philanthropist, will moderate a session on the future of education. Fellow trustee, Jose Mas, chief executive officer of MasTec and co-owner of Inter Miami, will lead a panel on the unifying power of engaging youth through sports, featuring football alumnus and community activist Demetrius Jackson, track and field All-American Debbie Ajagbe, punter and co-founder of Canes Worldwide Lou Hedley, and women’s basketball guard Karla Erjavec.

In addition, the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will sponsor the third conversation in a three-part series launched this year exploring the intersection of technology and democracy. Award-winning journalist Andres Oppenheimer will moderate the final session, which will explore ways computing can either strengthen or threaten democracy and human rights in the Americas. The panel will include Frenk; University of Miami alumnus Rony Abovitz, a tech entrepreneur who founded the augmented reality company Magic Leap; Tamara Taraciuk, director of Human Rights Watch Americas; and Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president. 

“Media technology is having a huge impact on our democracy. With seemingly every advance in speed and dissemination, creation of virtual communities of interest and spread of knowledge, comes an opportunity for mis- and dis-information and an industry whose power rivals government,” said Ibargüen. “Old issues of equity and inclusion are made new by digital media and the best way to address them is open dialogue. That makes us proud to support the University of Miami as host of the Concordia Americas Summit.”  

Register to attend the 2022 Americas Summit.