Special Representative for Global Partnerships (GP) Dorothy McAuliffe traveled to Costa Rica and Colombia from June 5-8, 2023, co-leading a Partnership Opportunity Delegation (POD). PODs are a GP initiative that facilitate partnerships between the public and private sectors of the United States and selected countries to leverage innovation and resources to advance U.S. foreign policy priorities. The trip to Costa Rica and Colombia aimed to cultivate and shape the environment for digital transformation. The delegation’s high-level meetings explored human rights in the digital age and the role of public-private collaboration in policymaking around cybersecurity. The POD was co-led by Ambassador-at-Large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy Nathaniel Fick.
The private sector delegation included leaders from the United States’ business and technology sectors including Google, AWS, Scale AI and Intel, among others. The Export-Import Bank of the United States also joined the POD. The delegation began in San Jose, Costa Rica, meeting with the Minister of Foreign Trade Manuel Tovar to learn about Costa Rica’s economic landscape. Next, the delegation attended a networking event hosted by U.S. Ambassador Cynthia Telles with CyberSec—a public-private organization with the goal of making Costa Rica a regional cybersecurity hub. Finally, the delegation met with President Rodrigo Chaves who welcomed the POD and led a discussion with the delegates about collaboration and investment opportunities between the United States and Costa Rica on digital and cyber issues.
On June 5, delegates attended RightsCon, a summit organized by the civil rights non-profit Access Now to convene governments, corporations, and civil society to build a rights-respecting digital future. Special Representative McAuliffe provided remarks at a RightsCon panel that underlined the importance of protecting human rights online at the highest level.
Next, the delegates traveled to Colombia on June 7 and met with the Bogota Mayor’s High Council for Information Technology for a briefing on the city’s Bogotá Territorio Inteligente mission. POD Digital Transformation delegates also met with the Ministry for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) alongside the Ministry of Education and National Training Service. They learned how ICT is tackling poverty reduction by increasing internet access throughout Colombia and enabling online learning for young adults and school-aged children. The POD delegates also met with interlocutors from ProColombia, an organization which promotes foreign direct investment to the country, continuing conversations on IT skills development.
Also in Bogota, the delegation was invited to address members of the Colombian Congress, where delegates spoke on the importance of public-private cooperation in cybersecurity policy and the opportunity for government and private sector to work together to cultivate technical talent in Colombia and shape the country’s digital transformation and connectivity goals.
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