The United States will host the Ninth Summit of the Americas in 2021. The Summit takes place once every three years and is the only meeting of all leaders from the countries of North, South, and Central America and the Caribbean. This will be the first time the United States has hosted the Summit since the inaugural meeting in Miami in 1994. The Inukshuk, a stone landmark used by the Inuit and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America, is also a symbol of the Summits of the Americas and passes to the host country. This Inukshuk was first presented by the Government of Canada, host of the Third Summit, to the Government of Argentina, host of the Fourth Summit and has since then, been used to mark the transfer of leadership from one Summit host to the next.
Acting Assistant Secretary Ambassador Michael Kozak, from the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Director General Luis Chavez, from the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, officially transferred the chair of the Summit of the Americas process from Peru to the United States in a formal ceremony on July 10, 2020. The Department of State looks forward to initiating substantive policy discussions with other governments, institutions, and stakeholders to inform the agenda of our democratically elected leaders and advance freedom, prosperity, and security in our hemisphere.
Why Does the Summit of the Americas Matter?
Since the United States launched the Summit of the Americas, this meeting of the region’s leaders has become the highest-level process for promoting regional cooperation and addressing the most pressing issues in the Americas. Each Summit focuses on a critical area of cooperation that all countries in the Americas can support, and allows the region as a whole to work together on such issues as increasing economic competitiveness, catalyzing development, enhancing access to energy and communication technology, strengthening regional security, countering trafficking, and promoting democracy and human rights. Most recently, leaders committed to fight the corruption epidemic undermining our region’s democracies when they met at the Eighth Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru in 2018.
U.S. efforts in the Summit of the Americas process, led by the Department of State but encompassing a whole-of-government approach, have strengthened our partnerships with the governments and peoples of the Western Hemisphere region to help keep the Americas safe and prosperous.
Who Participates in the Summit of the Americas?
- Heads of state and government, foreign ministers, and other senior officials from the governments of the Americas attend the Summit of the Americas and associated forums. The President or Vice President of the United States has attended all of the Summits of the Americas.
- People of the Americas, including:
- Civil society: Civil society representatives regularly participate in the Summit, but their role is often informal. The United States works closely with such representatives and the country hosting the summit to ensure they have a meaningful, formal role in the summit process. The Civil Society Forum is often the only opportunity for many civil society representatives from the region to engage leaders and elevate their concerns. Foro Ciudadano de las Americas and the Organization of American States (OAS) coordinate civil society’s participation in the Summit.
- Business leaders: The CEO Summit of the Americas is the highest-profile business forum of the Americas, bringing together leading CEOs with heads of government to identify polices and transparent partnerships that advance economic growth and investment, including through the efforts of the private sector-led Americas Business Dialogue. The CEO Summit coordinated by the Inter-American Development Bank became a formal part of the Summit process in 2012.
- Youth: The Young Americas Forum is a permanent, open, and inclusive channel for youth to help define priorities and coordinate action in the region. Youth at each Summit prepare concrete recommendations to governments and adopt a hemispheric agenda for follow-up activities. The Young Americas Business Trust has organized the Young Americas Forum on the margins of five regular Summits.
- Other stakeholders: Summits have included forums for parliamentarians, indigenous groups, labor leaders, and university rectors, among others.
The host nation of the Summit of the Americas determines who participates in the Summit. Leaders established in the Declaration of Quebec City in 2001 that “the maintenance and strengthening of the rule of law and strict respect for the democratic system” are essential conditions for participation.
Who Has Hosted the Summit of the Americas?
Miami, United States of America (1994)
Santa Cruz, Bolivia (1996)*
Santiago, Chile (1998)
Quebec City, Canada (2001)
Monterrey, Mexico (2004)*
Mar del Plata, Argentina (2005)
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (2009)
Cartagena, Colombia (2012)
Panama City, Panama (2015)
Lima, Peru (2018)
National Summit Coordinators from the governments of the Americas work together as part of the Summit’s managing body, the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG), to inform and implement their leaders’ agenda. The SIRG is chaired by the Summit host. The Summits of the Americas Secretariat, which is housed at the Organization of American States, and the 12 international organizations that comprise the Joint Summit Working Group (JSWG) support the SIRG and the Summit process.