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ASU students weigh in on upcoming Summit of the Americas

U.S. State Department's 9th meeting in June to focus on sustainable, equitable futures across the Americas

A student seen from the back asks a question of a speaker on a stage
February 28, 2022

ASU in California hosted a conversation with U.S. State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Kevin O’Reilly on Tuesday, Feb. 22, where students at the California location and around the globe could weigh in on the upcoming Ninth Summit of the Americas, which will be held June 6–10, in Los Angeles. 

Three people talking at event

On Feb. 22, Juan Mundel (center) speaks with ASU staff members during the Summit of the Americas conversation.

The session, which was moderated by Juan Mundel director of Global Initiatives and associate professor at the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, focused on engaging students on the upcoming summit and its importance.

Students had the opportunity to weigh in on topics like social inclusion, economic recovery, energy and climate change, democracy and digital transformation. 

Held roughly every three years, the summit is the only hemispheric meeting of leaders from North, South and Central America, and the Caribbean, to address the region’s shared challenges and opportunities.

The event has not been hosted by the United States since the inaugural meeting in Miami in 1994, making the 2022 summit in Los Angeles President Biden’s highest priority event for the region, according to the State Department's website.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Kevin O’Reilly reflected on how the United States will use the summit to continually build upon the longstanding commitment and partnerships with all the people of the Western Hemisphere.

“We share many challenges, but also many opportunities, and through the Summit of the Americas process, we can work together to meet them together,” he said.

The June summit will focus on “Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future.” The United States State Department is chair of the process to collect and collate contributions, input and ideas to map our collective futures, and ASU students are encouraged to share their ideas. 

Mundel further reflected on the summit's importance: “It is an opportunity to agree on a path to the future of the larger continent and find solutions to shared issues such as poverty, climate change, digital access, education, human rights and responsible governance.” 

According to the State Department’s website, the U.S. “will continue to work with the region’s stakeholders toward securing leader-level commitments and concrete actions.”

Some of the world’s largest issues in focus at the June summit will be climate, health and social justice.

“In a time when the influence of China and Russia continue to grow in the region, the summit offers an opportunity for the Western Hemisphere to strengthen bilateral and multilateral diplomacy," Mundel said. 

Top photo by Briana Edwards Photography

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