New York, September 8, 2015 —Americas Society/Council of the Americas and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs will launch the Americas Quarterly (AQ) 2015 Social Inclusion Index on Thursday, September 10, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Roberta Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, will deliver remarks. The opening remarks and panel discussion will observe the beginning of the International Decade for People of African Descent, a 10-year observance declared by the United Nations to raise awareness on issues of racial discrimination, as well as examine the rankings of 17 countries across 22 variables in the AQ Index. This event will be webcast live. Copies of the report will be available in English and Spanish.
The U.S. Department of State engages with historically marginalized populations in the region, including indigenous peoples, people of African descent, women and girls, LGBTI persons, and persons with disabilities, and collaborates with governments, civil society, and the private sector to address the underlying causes of social exclusion.
Speakers at the launch and public panel will include:* Roberta Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Susan Segal, president and CEO, Americas Society/Council of the Americas; Mauricio Vivero, CEO, Seattle International Foundation; Judith Morrison, senior advisor for the Gender and Diversity Division, Inter-American Development Bank; Elizabeth Zechmeister, Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP), Vanderbilt University; Carlos Quesada, executive director, International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights; and Alana Tummino, senior editor, Americas Quarterly, and director of Policy, Americas Society/Council of the Americas (moderator).
Launch and Public Panel: Social Inclusion in the Americas
Thursday, September 10, 2015
9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Registration: 8:30 to 9:00 a.m.
Opening Remarks, Presentation, and Discussion: 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
National Press Club
529 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20045
About the Americas Quarterly 2015 Social Inclusion Index:
Generously supported by the Seattle International Foundation, the Americas Quarterly Social Inclusion Index is a nuanced description of the region that seeks to address the most pressing needs under current economic conditions, looking at social inclusion as more than the reduction of poverty and inequality.
Notable findings of the Index’s fourth edition include:
- Uruguay remains in first place for the second straight year in the Index. The Southern Cone country is a champion in LGBTI rights and access to formal jobs and continues to make improvements in areas such as the portion of GDP spent on social projects, as well as financial inclusion.
- The United States went up two places from 2014 and ranks first across several indicators, including women’s rights and personal empowerment.
- In third place is Argentina, which outranks all countries but Costa Rica and the United States in indicators such as portion of GDP spent on social programs.
- At the lower end of the spectrum, high poverty rates, lack of opportunities, and gender and racial disparities paint a challenging picture for Guatemala and Honduras. That said, El Salvador shows gains in almost all categories. The majority of the countries in the Index improved in access to adequate housing overall—most significantly Paraguay—although in most places, minorities are still at a disadvantage. Poverty is also receding across the board.
- As for access to formal jobs, the picture is mixed: access improved in Bolivia and Ecuador in terms of both gender and race, while it decreased in Colombia and Peru.
- The region’s standard-bearers of women’s rights are the United States, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Argentina, and Colombia.
- When it comes to protecting LGBTI rights, Uruguay and Argentina rank at the top of the pack, along with Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador. The exception in South America is Paraguay, which joins countries in the Northern Triangle, particularly Honduras and Guatemala at the bottom of the scale.
This year’s Index includes 17 countries from the region with scores on 22 variables and is calculated using countries’ census data and data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the UNDP Human Development Report, Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2014 survey, Vanderbilt University’s Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) AmericasBarometer 2014 survey, the World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) database, and researchers Judith Morrison from the Inter-American Development Bank, Joan Caivano from the Inter-American Dialogue, Jane Marcus-Delgado from CUNY, and Javier Corrales from Amherst College.
This event is coorganized with
Americas Quarterly is the premier publication dedicated to politics, business and culture in the Western Hemisphere, with a focus on Latin America. Launched in 2007 and based in New York City, AQ’s award-winning magazine and website appeal to a broad audience interested in the region. Readers include top policymakers in Washington, DC, Brasilia, Mexico City, and beyond; executives at Latin American multinationals and Fortune 500 companies; opinion leaders in universities and the media; and a vast array of general readers who are passionate about Latin America. Editorial board members include former presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Ricardo Lagos, Ernesto Zedillo, and Alejandro Toledo, as well as leading voices from business, journalism, finance, and academia. Americas Quarterly is an independent publication of Americas Society and Council of the Americas, which for more than 50 years have been dedicated to dialogue in our hemisphere.