Erika Mouynes is the chair of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center’s Advisory Council. She is an accomplished public servant and a leading business and legal executive in Latin America. Mouynes most recently served as the sixty-second Panamanian minister of foreign affairs, one of the few female leaders in the region to ever hold such a high-ranking title.
Mouynes has accumulated both government and private-sector experience. She has held several high-ranking governmental positions across different government ministries, practiced as a senior attorney in several leading international law firms, and managed the business and legal affairs of a multi-billion-dollar investment company on Wall Street. During her tenure in Panama’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2019 to 2022, Mouynes prioritized issues such as climate change, digital inclusion to irregular immigration, and gender inequality.
Mouynes’ work as a Panamanian diplomat includes a variety of “first female” achievements for the region, and she has been praised by multiple leading international publications, such as the Financial Times, for her accomplishments, including her commitment to championing female empowerment.
Mouynes is an expert in promoting and brokering dialogue among key public and private sector stakeholders, and she has convened conferences across the Western Hemisphere for high-ranking government officials and global business leaders over the last decade.
Among her achievements, Mouynes helped develop the first-ever alliance of the few countries in the world that are carbon negative, as well as the formation of an alliance of nations that created and secured environmental protections for the largest pacific marine corridor in the world—effectively combining the marine reserves of four key countries to create one of the richest pockets of protected biodiversity on the planet.
Mouynes also led the multidisciplinary Panamanian team that negotiated for, and successfully secured, a robust COVID-19 vaccine portfolio, receiving international recognition for procuring vital doses from quality suppliers ahead of many countries in the region.
Her private-sector experience includes nearly fifteen years advising on complex corporate transactions, including the structuring and financing of large, cross-border infrastructure and investment projects focused on emerging markets.
During this period, she managed the business and legal affairs of a multi-billion-dollar investment company on Wall Street, negotiating highly-structured trading documents and assessing all phases of investment decision making, including acquisition, tax structuring, and strategic mergers and acquisitionfor a globally diversified asset portfolio. She also practiced as a senior attorney in the New York office of Sherman Sterling LLP, a global law firm, where she focused on the structuring the financing of complex infrastructure projects and cross-border joint venture and strategic alliance transactions.
Mouynes also previously worked in Panamanian government within the Minister of Commerce and Industries, where she served as lead negotiator for the country’s key infrastructure development projects on oil and gas, telecommunications, mining, and port facilities projects.
An authority on several issues, a content contributor, and a spokesperson, Mouynes has written articles that have been published in numerous international publications, including Foreign Policy, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Forum Network, Spain’s El Pais, and the Jakarta Post. She has also been featured on Bloomberg, FOX, Al Jazeera, CNN, NBC, Tunisia TV, EFE, France’s Le Monde, Forbes, the Japan Times, and Agence France-Presse, among others.
A Fulbright scholar with several postgraduate degrees, Mouynes holds an LLM in corporate law from New York University and an LLM in international law from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a specialization in business from New York University’s Stern School of Business. She carried out parallel studies at two undergraduate universities in Panama: Santa Maria la Antigua Catholic University, earning a bachelor’s degree in law and political sciences, and the Latin American University for Science and Technology, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration, both with magna cum laude honors.
Born in Panama, Mouynes is married with two children.