Los Angeles plays host to Summit of the Americas

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — The ninth Summit of the Americas, a gathering of Western Hemisphere leaders focused on “Building a Sustainable, Resilient and Equitable Future” and hosted by President Joe Biden, continues June 9 and 10 at the Los Angeles Convention Center and other locations in and around downtown.

The June 9 agenda includes an opening plenary session and a Leaders’ Dinner hosted by Biden and first lady Jill Biden. The city of Los Angeles also will host a delegates reception.

The June 10 agenda includes a plenary session, various roundtable discussions, a retreat and luncheon hosted by Biden.

Summit of the Americas events began June 8 with Biden hosting an opening ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center, welcoming dozens of participating dignitaries from Western Hemisphere nations.

A senior administration official told reporters the summit “is an opportunity for us to come together as a hemisphere to tackle some of the top concerns of the people in the region, including obtaining and sustaining economic prosperity, climate change, the migration crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Five formal documents will be released during the summit, “reflecting an ambitious hemispheric consensus on everything from support for civil society to promoting digital connectivity,” the official said.

Biden is expected to formally announce the “Americas Partnership” during the summit, a five-pronged effort to bolster regional economies by building on free-trade agreements and addressing “inequality and lack of economic opportunity and equity,” according to the administration official.

Also during the summit, Biden will announce more than $300 million in regional assistance to combat food insecurity, along with health initiatives aimed at preparing for future pandemics and a partnership with the Caribbean community to address climate issues.

On the final day of the summit, Biden and other leaders are expected to sign the “Los Angeles Declaration on Migration,” which the administration official described as a pact to pursue a “comprehensive” approach to addressing the crisis.

“The president is going to use the Summit of the Americas to align regional leaders, the private sector, and civil society behind this new and ambitious agenda, starting with the economic agenda for the region,” the official said.

The official noted that Mexico is among the nations expected to sign the declaration, despite the news this week that Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will not be attending the gathering. He pulled out of the event in response to the Biden administration’s decision declining to invite Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela to the conference.

Mexico, however, will still be represented at the event.

The Los Angeles gathering is the first time a U.S. city has hosted the event since 1994, when the inaugural conference was held in Miami. Representatives from the Western Hemisphere began arriving June 6. The summit convenes once every three or four years.

According to the U.S. State Department, the meeting promotes regional cooperation and helps address the region’s most pressing issues, including increasing economic competitiveness, enhancing access to technology, countering trafficking and promoting democracy and human rights throughout the Americas.

During the most recent summit — which was in Peru in 2018 — the region’s leaders committed to fighting corruption, according to the U.S. State Department.

On June 7, the nonprofit Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles announced a Host Committee of the Summit of the Americas to welcome delegations. The committee is chaired by Casey Wasserman of the Wasserman Foundation, who is also chair of the Organizing Committee for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Committee members also include The Annenberg Foundation’s Wallis Annenberg, USC President Carol Folt, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, former Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger and Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel.

“Our distinguished Host Committee reflects the best of Los Angeles and demonstrates the importance of this convening to our nation,” Garcetti said. “The support of the Mayor’s Fund and the Host Committee is essential to both the city’s role in this gathering of global leaders and to the summit itself.”


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