OAS Sec Gen Almagro visits Maxwell, discusses democracy, human rights

OAS Secretary General AlmagroOn Friday, April 7, the Maxwell School welcomed Secretary General Luis Almagro Lemes of the Organization of American States (OAS) for a discussion of “The Challenges of Democracy and Human Rights in the Americas.” Amid a tumultuous time for the region, the Secretary General traveled to Syracuse to discuss both the general role of the OAS in facilitating political dialogue and cooperation throughout the region and the current political challenges facing countries such as Venezuela, Paraguay, and Ecuador.

Secretary General Almagro’s visit and the discussion were sponsored by the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs and the Program on Latin America and the Caribbean.

The visit was also an opportunity for the OAS and Maxwell to explore deeper ties and to discuss the development of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would establish mechanisms for supporting professional education at the Maxwell School for individuals at organizations and governments within the region.

During his formal talk with the Maxwell community, the Secretary General spoke of his commitment to the study of public administration and international relations, noting that democracy "demands good governance and strong institutions."

Sec Gen Luis AlmagroThe Secretary General met with key leadership during his visit, including a meeting with David M. Van Slyke, dean of the Maxwell School, and other faculty. He also attended a meet and greet with Maxwell students who are currently studying relevant regional issues. 

A career diplomat, Almagro served as Foreign Minister of Uruguay from 2010 to 2015, and has extensive regional and international experience. In addition, he was elected Senator in the national elections in Uruguay in October 2014. In 2014, Foreign Policy magazine named him a Leading Global Thinker, one of ten decision-makers in the world who have been granted this international distinction.

Almagro now represents the OAS, which is the world’s oldest regional organization that unites the 35 independent states in the Americas with the goal of achieving "an order of peace and justice, to promote solidarity, to strengthen collaboration, and to defend sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence."