At the residence of the Ambassador of Chile:

Important and influential public figures meet in Washington

to analyze Obama’s visit to Chile 



Washington D.C., March 8th, 2011.- Influential figures, of different political tendencies, and former Chilean and foreign authorities met yesterday in Washington D.C. to exchange ideas surrounding one collective concern: how to take most advantage of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Chile. A number of invited guests to the Ambassador’s residence, political authorities, and well-known public figures in Latin America foreign affairs, individuals with opposite political backgrounds, discussed pleasantly on the opportunities that Obama’s visit will bring to our country.   

Important U.S. Government authorities arrived at Chile’s residence, located on Massachusetts Avenue; among them were Arturo Valenzuela, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, who may accompany President Obama during his next visit to Chile; and, Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, with whom the Embassy of Chile in Washington and Chile’s Minister of Education Joaquin Lavin have been working together on an education agenda. Another one among the guests was OAS Secretary General, Mr. Jose Miguel Inzulza.     

Advisor to Republican Senator Richard Lugar and to the U.S. Senate – Committee of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carl Meacham was also present at the meeting, former U.S. Ambassador to Chile, Mr. Craig Kelly, Ambassador Dario Paya – Permanent Representative of Chile to the OAS, and well known Argentinean journalist Andrés Oppenheimer, who released this week his new book titled “Enough Stories”, in which he does an in depth analysis on Latin America’s educational debate.          

Members of the academic world also contributed to this unique meeting. Moises Naim from Venezuela, and Mauricio Cardenas from Colombia, both international affairs journalists and researchers; as well as well-known John Hopkins professor and expert on International Economy, Riordan Roett, were present.  

Also present, from the private sector, member of McLarty Associates and expert on Latin America’s trade, Mrs. Kellie Meimam, who also headed Wal-Mart’s investment advising team in Chile, former Chilean Senator and State Minister, Mr. Sergio Bitar, Human Rights Watch Director, Mr. Jose Miguel Vivanco, and Inter-American Development Bank President, Mr. Luis Alberto Moreno. 

Participants agreed on the importance of President Obama’s visit.  They emphasized that the visit should be addressed with a visionary perspective, and therefore should have a strong emphasis on education, development and innovation. They added that the U.S. – Chile relationship is mature enough to create a partner-like participation, one in which both parties are able to make important contributions and not remain in a paternalistic-type relationship.

Ambassador Arturo Fermandois, agreed on many of the arguments made and emphasized the coincidence of growth and educational goals in President Pinera’s program, explaining that “Chile’s strong history regarding the political, economical and social development and stability, make Chile a privileged partner to initiate a strategic cooperation with the United States”.