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Summit of the Americas Center
History and Background

The Summit of the Americas Center (SOAC) website, AmericasNet, seeks to be an innovative portal to the evolving realities of our hemisphere. The site embodies an information policy that combines selective and timely news, analysis and comment on Summit implementation, with special emphasis on current trade and integration processes; our Financial Systems Inclusiveness Program highlights hemispheric efforts in this direction.

Throughout the cycles of multilateral discussions and subsequent implementation, SOAC Staff and Researchers present a selection of information on the ups and downs of the hemispheric integration process and the overall Summit of the Americas context as seen through the eyes of observers and participants from around the Hemisphere. Numerous such pieces now appear on SOAC’s AmericasNet. Periodic digests of selected articles and commentary from press and academic sources, as well as governments and non-government organizations will highlight particular pivotal issues and trends as the countries of our Hemisphere work to hammer out a new international trade regime amid continuing challenges for democratic governance.

We invite students, professors, researchers, legislators, government employees, businesspeople, and interested citizens in general to search our dynamic repository for official and unofficial Summit documents, calendars, publications, events and much more. Understaniding these dynamic hemispheric processes is central to everyone wishing to comprehend and analyze the fast-evolving processes of globalization. The services of AmericasNet aim to increase understanding throughout our Hemisphere of the social, economic, political and cultural trends that increasingly bind together the future of everyone from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.

The Summit of the Americas Center was established by the Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University, with the backing of the state of Florida, to monitor the initiatives of the Summit Process. A central element of the center''s mission is to provide independent analysis of the impact on Florida of trade liberalization, political changes and trends, and other aspects of hemispheric integration and globalization.

AmericasNet, SOAC''s internet-based information facility, documents this ongoing process. In its research, conferences and publications, SOAC seeks to depict the broadest vision of hemispheric integration-not only as an economic process, and not simply as reflected through periodic declarations and agreements. The integration process is real and human, at times disorderly and haphazard, whose trade and non-trade tracks intersect and diverge. SOAC believes all involved must avoid divorcing the complex institutional processes and multilateral dialogues from the real needs of the region''s citizens. In our view, inter-American summitry cannot become an end in itself, but rather must be a faithful reflection of the ever-greater links among the Western Hemisphere''s people, searching together for common solutions to problems that no longer respect physical borders.

SOAC seeks to be a force in the education of public and private leadership in Florida and beyond about the benefits, challenges, and opportunities, associated with the movement toward greater trade liberalization. The center engages in a wide array of activities related to assessing key summit action sectors (i.e. Customs, Trade in Services, and Financial Issues) and the role of Inter-American agencies (i.e. OAS, IDB), as well as Florida''s potential roles in furthering cooperation in this hemispheric integration process. To meet these strategic goals, SOAC presents and participates in a variety of conferences, workshops and other vital events.

In addition, through SOAC''s lecture series, conferences and seminars, the center assesses current political, economic and social issues in key Latin American countries. Participants in our events have included distinguished North American, Latin American, European and Asian academics, as well as journalists, government officials and NGO representatives, leading discussions of the main challenges and progress toward democracy in the region.

We hope that our site will serve a wide audience as the best information and education entry point and portal to the exciting and far-reaching hemispheric-wide integration processes continually unfolding. Our internet-based information system is a free and valuable resource to governmental and non-governmental organizations in the Americas and for over a decade has already directly benefited Florida by gathering, disseminating, and linking to the trade-related information that will be critical to assessing the impact of hemispheric integration on our State. Direct access to Florida-related information on each of the presented issues is provided through "Florida Outreach" links on the left side menu.  


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