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Cabinet Members, Global Business Leaders, and Celebrities Support Development in Latin America and the Caribbean through Annual Meeting of Inter-American Development Bank in Miami
Apr 01, 2008 (12:04 PM EDT)

MIAMI, April 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The 49th Annual Meeting of the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB), which will be held in Greater Miami April 4- 8, will bring together high-level government officials, star CEOs and international celebrities, among them U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez.

"I am pleased to participate in an event that is bringing world-class business and government leaders together. With such close commercial and social ties to Latin America, Miami is the ideal venue for this meeting," Gutierrez said. The Annual Meeting of the IDB is the premier forum on Latin American finance, trade, and economic development.

Secretary Gutierrez will deliver a keynote address as part of a panel on competitiveness in the Americas, which will highlight the IDB's role in building member nations' capacity for maintaining and expanding economic activity in an environment of rapidly changing trade conditions.

Others participating in the competitiveness panel include Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete Lopez, president of Telefonica Latin America; Juan Cento, president of FedEx Express Latin America and Caribbean Division; Danilo Astori, Minister of Economy of Uruguay; Rui da Costa, Managing Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of Hewlett Packard; Manu Bhaskaran, a member of the Knowledge Panel at MasterCard; and Andres Velasco, Minister of Economy and Finance of Chile.

According to Jorge L. Arrizurieta, Chairman of the IDB Miami 2008 Host Committee and former Alternate U.S. Executive Director of the IDB, the panel on competitiveness is one of many groundbreaking events scheduled for the Annual Meeting. Others include a seminar on private philanthropy, an event on youth as agents of change, a panel on infrastructure, and a seminar on confronting natural disasters.

"This historic event will again allow Miami to unite the private and public sectors of Latin America and the Caribbean, further highlighting our role as a business center for the region," Arrizurieta said.

A forum on the role of private philanthropy in development will feature a keynote address from Microsoft founder Bill Gates and remarks by IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. Preceding these appearances, Alberto Ibarguen, President and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will moderate a panel of high-level executives including Emilio Azcarraga, Chairman of Televisa; Christina Gold, President and CEO of Western Union; and Bill Rhodes, Vice Chair Citi. Cesar Alierta, Chairman of Telefonica International, will make a presentation.

"The IDB wants to become the region's preferred partner in private sector development, bringing additional benefits such as mobilization of private bank funds, improved corporate governance and compliance with environmental standards," said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. "We want to be closer to our customers and build strategic alliances with governments, privates sector companies and NGOs to bring the benefits of growth to the 70 percent of the population who earn less than $3000 a year."

General Anthony Zinni, Vice President of DynCorp and former CENTCOM Commander, will speak on response and preparedness for natural disasters, a priority of the IDB and an important safeguard of human welfare in the region. Joining General Zinni on the panel will be Roberto Velluntini, Sector Manager, Infrastructure & Environment Dept. IDB; Omar Dario Cardona, a consultant for the IDB on natural disaster issues; Lorenza Martinez Trigueros, General Manager of insurance at the Mexican treasury (Secretaria de Hacienda y Credito Publico); Anne Hassberger, Deputy Head for International Financial Institutions, Federal Dept. of Foreign Affairs, Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (Moderator).

"Latin America and the Caribbean are a very important partner," Zinni said. "I am excited to accept the Host Committee's invitation to share my views on how to prepare and mitigate natural disasters. This is of vital importance to the development and growth of the region and ultimately it impacts people the most."

As part of the forum Celebrities and Youth as Agents of Change, the IDB and MTV Latin America will present the U.S. premier of their television program on youth as agents of change. The program celebrates youth whose leadership has made a difference in their community. As part of a roundtable discussion led by Generation Engage, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing political awareness among young people, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson will participate in an iChat dialogue with youth leaders. The President of MTV Latin America, Pierluigi Gazzolo, will speak about the impact of the program.

A panel on opportunities and challenges for private investment in infrastructure in the Americas will bring together a number of distinguished private and public sector leaders, including Robert Mosbacher, President of the Overseas Investment Corporation; Manny Diaz, Mayor of the City of Miami; Felipe Montoro Jens, Head of Project and Structure Finance of Odebrecht; Alberto Aleman Zubieta, CEO, Panama Canal Authority; Carlos Contreras, Executive Managing Director, Caja Madrid; Javier Falces, General Manager, Global Via Infraestructuras; and John Gage, Chief Researcher and Director of the Science Office, Sun Microsystems; Sergio Cabral, Governor, State of Rio de Janeiro; Daniel Scioli, Governor, Buenos Aires; Norman Anderson, CEO, CG/LA Infrastructure; Lic. Federico Patino, Director of the Mexican National Infrastructure Fund.

Contact: Dorothy Kronick IDB Miami Host Committee Naomi Newton The Jeffrey Group

CONTACT: Dorothy Kronick, IDB Miami Host Committee,; or Naomi Newton, The Jeffrey Group,, for the Inter-American Development Bank

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