WASHINGTON – Leading American philanthropist and businesswoman Adrienne Arsht has provided a $5 Million founding gift to create the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council. This Center will be dedicated to forging an effective Latin America-US-Europe partnership of common values and shared interests.

“In 1996, I moved to Miami to run TotalBank,” said Adrienne Arsht. “Living in that dynamic city, it became clear to me that there was a need to find a way to integrate the interests of Latin America with Europe and the United States to shape the global future and create a broad community of common values. Fred Kempe and the Board of the Atlantic Council immediately understood and shared my vision. It has long been my dream to create this Latin America Center. I am thrilled to spearhead an initiative that will embrace Latin America as an integral part of the transatlantic world and give this vibrant region the recognition it deserves.”

Said Frederick Kempe, Atlantic Council president and CEO, “Occasionally an idea comes along that is both timely and historically significant, and this fits that bill. The Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center will seek to integrate the region more fully into the transatlantic community by fostering a new era of partnership and action among political, business, and opinion leaders of Latin America, Europe, and the United States. It also further expands the global reach of the Atlantic Council, which already has established centers on the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and Eurasia.”

Kempe noted that the Atlantic Council’s decision to create such a center was also driven by the reality that Latin America is the fastest-growing regional trade partner of the United States, with an 82 percent growth in trade between 1998 and 2009[1]. The region also accounts for 19.6 percent of US oil imports—more than the Persian Gulf[2]—and global investors are increasingly focused on its opportunities. Additionally, over the past decade the European Union sent an average of $30 billion per year in foreign direct investment to Latin America and the Caribbean, making the EU the leading investor in the region; and in 2011, the United States sent $153.5 billion in FDI to the region.[3]

Given all that, the Council concluded that Latin America, North America, and Europe form a trilateral community that springs from a common heritage that can act together to foster global prosperity, security, and a shared commitment to democratic values.

Through original research, analysis, and engagement with policymakers, media, and corporate and civil society leaders, the Arsht Center will focus on priority issues that highlight Latin America as both a strategic and economic partner of the United States and Europe. These issue areas include, among others: trade and investment; natural resources and energy; security; democracy and human rights; and developing human capital and jobs.

The Council will officially launch the Arsht Center at its Distinguished Leadership Awards dinner on May 1, 2013, in Washington, DC.

[1] Congressional Research Service 

[2] US Energy Information Administration

[3] UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean