Welcome to the FOCAL archive

The Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) is no longer in operation. This website documents FOCAL's activities and accomplishments throughout its existence. Thank you for your interest in the work of FOCAL.

Inter-American Affairs

FOCAL’s Inter-American Affairs program provided policy-relevant research and analysis on hemispheric issues through a series of projects that included the development of a think-tank initiative, civil society participation, government institutions and elections. Throughout the years it covered topics as diverse as Afro-descendants, democratic crisis, governing institutions, multilateral organizations and hemispheric co-operation with a focus on both state and non-state actors. FOCAL was pivotal in initiating civil society participation at the OAS and in particular in the Summit of the Americas process. Working with a network of local partners, this program increased understanding of Latin America in Canada and promoted Canadian best practices in Latin America.

Over the years, the Inter-American Affairs program worked in collaboration with a number of regional partners including governments, non-governmental organizations, think-tanks, universities, research institutions, multilateral organizations and the private sector throughout Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. Our policy papers and briefs, research papers, meeting reports and opinion pieces have provided insight into important and timely hemispheric issues. This research has informed Canadian policy as well as the work of governments throughout the region. It has provided useful background information and valuable insight, and has improved the general public’s understanding of Canada’s role in the region.

Governance, Development and Public Opinion: A View of the Hemisphere

LBmaps1FOCAL teamed up with Latinobarómetro —a public opinion polling organization based in Santiago, Chile— to create an online mapping tool that explores the link between governance and development by comparing public opinion data with development indicators.

Summit of the Americas

From the first Summit of the Americas held in Miami in 1994, FOCAL played an active role in initiating dialogue and providing analysis and recommendations   . This summit, a meeting of hemispheric leaders held every three years, is the only multilateral forum that includes all democratic governments in the Western Hemisphere. FOCAL was involved in the process until 2011, contributing to the preparation of the 2012 Colombia Summit of the Americas.

Two principal projects were created as part of this program:

Project publications
Inter-American Affairs: Selected Publications

An indigenous woman sits against a wall on a street in Urubamba, Peru.

Economic Growth and Inequality

Guillermo Perry and Roberto Steiner
Policy Brief
July 2011

EN | FR | SP


 The Caribbean and the 2012 Summit of the Americas

Damien King
Policy Brief
June 2011

EN | FR | SP


Colombian_Senate_guards_Joshua_Trevino_smallCitizen security, a challenge for the Americas

Hugo Acero Velásquez
Policy Brief
June 2011

EN | FR | SP

lapopWhat troubles citizens of the Americas?

Elizabeth J. Zechmeister and Mitchell A. Seligson
Research Paper
January 2011



A View of the Hemisphere



Explore the link between governance and development.