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Fourth Dialogue Session in Lima, Peru

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The fourth and final plenary meeting of the Andean-United States Dialogue Forum was held on Aug. 2-3, 2011, in Lima, Peru. This meeting focused on presenting, analyzing, and evaluating the accomplishments of the initiative and proposing possible ways to continue to advance the goals and principles of the forum. Highlights of the meeting included a dinner with new Peruvian Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo (member of the dialogue forum), a presentation and discussion with former Colombia President Cesar Gaviria about the outline of a new report on drug policy developed by forum members, and a discussion on contending conceptions of democracy in the region and how they contribute to conflicts and impede cooperation among forum countries.

The members reviewed the efforts to disseminate the report Toward a Common Agenda for the Andean Countries and the United States (PDF)  – a report that the forum developed as an educational and advocacy document explaining the ties among the countries, presenting new data on elite and public opinion of policy priorities, and recommending the basis for a reorientation of U.S. policy and points of consensus for cooperation among the countries. Forum members presented the report to government officials, academia, and media in each country (Click here to read more and watch a video about the report.)

Group photo of forum members from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, United States, and Venezuela together with invited guests and Former Colombia President César Gaviria. All photos: The Carter Center/ C. Alva Dulanto.

The media working group of the Andean-U.S. Dialogue Forum participated in three bilateral media dialogues between Colombia and Venezuela that brought together directors, editors, and eminent journalists from each country.  A fourth dialogue brought U.S. media editors and columnists together with the Venezuela-Colombian participants to analyze the triangulation of the relationship. (Click here to read more and see a video of how the forum addresses media stereotypes and politicized reporting.)

Lima Mayor Susana Villarán, Peru forum member Felipe Ortiz de Zevallos, and U.S. forum member Hattie Babbitt discuss the importance of working with cities and municipalities when looking for alternatives to the current drug policy in the Andean countries.

Forum members jointly evaluated the dialogue forum initiative and affirmed that the effort had been a success, in that it demonstrated the value of constructive dialogue through jointly addressing common concerns. The project was based on the theory that changes in individual perceptions and understanding are the catalyst for political and social change. Thanks to efforts of the forum, such as visits by U.S. participants to the Andean countries as well as ongoing in-country and cross-country dialogue, the fourth dialogue meeting clearly showed a dramatic increase in mutual understanding and trust between U.S. and Andean participants and a new sense of a shared identity as Andeans. (Click here to read the meeting report – PDF.)

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Briefing Book:
Fourth Meeting
Lima Peru
Aug. 2-3, 2011
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