Neighborhood Watch: Developments in the Western Hemisphere

february, 2024

07feb1:00 pm2:10 pmNeighborhood Watch: Developments in the Western Hemisphere


(Wednesday) 1:00 pm - 2:10 pm


USF Student Center

200 6th Ave S

Event Details

From the Canadian Arctic to Chile’s Tierra del Fuego, the Western Hemisphere spans 22 countries. Immigration, drug trafficking, intelligence threats, and the rise of populist authoritarian regimes are straining stability and prosperity across this region. What national policies or regional approaches are needed to address challenges in “the neighborhood?”Panel discussion with live Q&A to follow.

Speakers for this event

  • Ambassador Barbara Stephenson

    Ambassador Barbara Stephenson

    Barbara J. Stephenson, PhD, (U.S. Ambassador, retired), is vice provost for global affairs and chief global officer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s oldest public university established in 1789. She is a distinguished diplomat, former U.S. ambassador, international leader and prior dean of the Leadership and Management School at the Foreign Service Institute.

    Stephenson was appointed UNC-Chapel Hill’s first vice provost for global affairs in 2019 and leads the university’s global strategy in support of its core mission of teaching, research, and service to the state of North Carolina and the country. Under her leadership, UNC-Chapel Hill has realized the Global Guarantee, the university’s promise that a global education is available to every student; strengthened relations with strategic global partners; elevated UNC Chapel Hill’s global reputation; and brought the world to Carolina with increased global programming and cultural exchange. As president of the American Foreign Service Association from 2015-2019, Stephenson was a principal advocate for diplomacy, working closely with Congress, the media and globally engaged strategic partners. A regular public speaker, she has appeared on CNN, BBC, Sky News, PBS, at numerous World Affairs Councils across the U.S., and as a signature speaker at the Chautauqua Institute. In 2008, Stephenson was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Panama and later became the first woman to serve as deputy ambassador and acting ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in London, America’s largest embassy in Europe. As advisor to Secretary of State Rice and deputy coordinator for Iraq (2006-2008), Stephenson was recognized with the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award for developing and implementing the civilian surge, the largest deployment of civilians to a war zone since the Vietnam War. From 2001-2004, as the American Consul General in Belfast, Northern Ireland, she helped renew support for the Good Friday Agreement that brought an end to decades of violence.  As Consul General and Chief of Mission in Curaçao (1998-2001), she won support from local and Dutch officials to establish two U.S. Air Force bases to support Plan Colombia. Earlier in her nearly 34-year career as an American diplomat, Stephenson served as special assistant to Under Secretary for Political Affairs Tom Pickering, covering European affairs, including the war-torn Balkans. Other assignments have included desk officer for the UK, political-military officer in South Africa, and political officer in The Hague, San Salvador, and Panama. Stephenson is a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the American College of National Security Leaders, a board member of the World Affairs Councils of America, and a member of the advisory board of Global Ties U.S. Stephenson holds a PhD, MA, and BA in English literature from the University of Florida.

  • Ambassador John Feeley

    Ambassador John Feeley


    John Feeley, US Ambassador (ret’d) The Executive Director for the Center for Media Integrity of the Americas (CMIA), John Feeley is a former U.S. ambassador dedicated to promoting greater mutual understanding between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean. The CMIA is a not-for-profit entity affiliated with the Organization of American States (OAS) that fosters and incentivizes high quality journalism and public interest media in the Western Hemisphere. A skilled negotiator, organizational leader and cross-cultural communicator, Ambassador Feeley collaborates with private sector, media, and not-for-profit partners who seek to understand and solve problems found at the intersection of government, business, and culture. His military and diplomatic experience afford insight into U.S security and rule of law policy implementation, the resolution of commercial disputes, and human rights, media, and democracy issues. During a 28-year State Department career, he served as Ambassador to Panama, Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires in Mexico City, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. As a Deputy Executive Secretary, he worked on the staffs of Secretaries of State, Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, in addition to serving in other Latin American assignments both in Washington and at embassies throughout the region. He was formerly a principal at Gotham Lights LLC, and a political consultant for the Spanish-language media, Univision, providing on-air analysis and publishing opinion columns. He has appeared on CNN, BBC, CBC, NPR, PBS, MSNBC and in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The New Yorker, among other Spanish and English-language media, as a forceful advocate for a respectful, alliance-based approach to U.S. relationships with Latin American governments and societies. Ambassador Feeley serves on the Board of Directors of EnvoyGlobal ( ), a technology enabled immigration services company. He also works with ANDE Rapid DNA ( ), an emerging technology firm that seeks to harness the power of expedited DNA testing for law enforcement, forensic, and humanitarian purposes. Prior to his Foreign Service career, he served as a United States Marine officer and helicopter pilot. He is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a Distinguished Graduate of the National War College.


  • Arturo Aguilar

    Arturo Aguilar

    Arturo Aguilar is a lawyer, investigator, and political strategist with over 20 years championing justice and democracy in Latin America. His passion for service began while his home country of Guatemala was still at war. At just 18 years old, Arturo was instrumental to solving the murder of Bishop Gerardi in Guatemala—one of the post-civil war landmark cases. The case was immortalized by American novelist and New Yorker contributing writer Francisco Goldman in The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop? He spent the next four years working for the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations in Guatemala. Aguilar was Secretary of Strategic and Private Affairs to Guatemala’s first woman Attorney General, Claudia Paz y Paz. A key member during her tenure, Aguilar built key alliances with regional governments in Latin America, Europe, and across all levels of the U.S. government. He was also instrumental in developing a large network of political contacts and allies across different sectors of society. The team made strides in reforming the Public Ministry and in the prosecution of organized crime, including war crimes, resulting in a significant drop in impunity rates, and prosecuted the first ever genocide case in a national court. Aguilar served as Senior Political Officer to the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). The commission has been a driving force in a series of investigations regarding state capture, corruption, money laundering, fraud, and organized crime in the public and private sector; it also helped develop profound legal and institutional reforms in the criminal justice system in Guatemala. Arturo’s most recent post was as Executive Director of Seattle International Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on democracy, rule of law, good governance, and women’s rights in Central America.

  • Charisse Phillips

    Charisse Phillips

    Charisse grew up in Cold War Germany, in a multicultural home.  This straddling of three cultures - German, American and Austrian - taught her how to operate in different cultural contexts and reconcile people with different cultural perspectives.  She eventually moved to the U.S. and obtained a Bachelors with a double major in Government and in Philosophy at The College of William and Mary, followed by a Masters Degree in Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia.  Shortly afterwards she married and also became a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, beginning what would become 40 years working for the U.S. Department of State.  She eventually lived and worked in Mexico, Central and South America, Western and Central Europe, and India while raising two sons.  Through her career Charisse gained expertise in migration; crisis leadership; public speaking and public diplomacy; counternarcotics and law enforcement; negotiation and foreign assistance.  She earned numerous awards for her leadership achievements.

  • Shachi Kurl

    Shachi Kurl

    President, Angus Reid Institute

    Shachi Kurl is President of the Angus Reid Institute, Canada’s non-profit foundation committed to independent research. She works with public opinion data to further public knowledge and enhance the national understanding of issues that matter to Canada and the world. Kurl is often found offering analysis on CBC’s “Power and Politics”, in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, and on the editorial pages of the Ottawa Citizen, among other places. In October 2020, she moderated BC’s only televised provincial election debate, presented by the British Columbia Broadcast Consortium. She spent the first part of her career as political reporter and holds a degree in Journalism and Political Science from Carleton University. She returned to Carleton University as an Adjunct Research Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication in 2022. Kurl is a recipient of the prestigious Jack Webster Award for Best TV Reporting. Along with former Australian and UK Prime Ministers Julia Gillard and Margaret Thatcher, she is an Alumnus of the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. She is a national co-chair of the Canadian Cancer Society. Kurl moderated the 2021 English language leaders debate during the 44th federal election. She also won the Industry Marvel Award from Darpan Magazine in October of that year.

    President, Angus Reid Institute

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