E.g., 09/30/2023
E.g., 09/30/2023
A Path to Self-Sufficiency: Advancing Venezuelan Refugee Integration in the Americas
June 7, 2022

Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza

A Path to Self-Sufficiency: Advancing Venezuelan Refugee Integration in the Americas

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Luis Almagro, Secretary General, Organization of American States

Nora Preciado, Director, Immigrant Affairs, City of Los Angeles
John Thon Majok, Director, Refugee and Forced Displacement Initiative, Wilson Center

Iván Duque Márquez, President of the Republic of Colombia, in fireside chat with Wilson Center President Ambassador Mark Green

Guillermo Lasso, President of the Republic of Ecuador, in fireside chat with Migration Policy Institute President Andrew Selee

PANEL: A Perspective from Government
Lucas Gómez, Advisor to the President on the Colombia-Venezuela Border
Silvia Espindola, Vice Foreign Minister for Human Mobility, Ecuador
Eduardo Stein, Joint Special Representative for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants, UN High Commissioner for Refugees-International Organization for Migration, and former Vice President of the Republic of Guatemala
Marcela Escobari, Assistant Administrator, Bureau of Latin America and Caribbean, U.S. Agency for International Development
Julieta Valls Noyes, Assistant Secretary, State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Moderator: Benjamin Gadan, Acting Director, Latin American Program, Wilson Center

PANEL: A Perspective from the Private Sector
Paola Buendía, Executive Vice President, National Business Association of Colombia
Dany Bahar, Associate Professor of Practice, Brown University
Tim Docking, CEO, Refugee Investment Network
Juan Carlos Viloria Doria, President, Coalition for Venezuela
Moderator: Diego Chaves-González, Senior Manager, Latin America and Caribbean Initiative, Migration Policy Institute

Peter Laugharn, President and CEO, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Since 2015, Venezuelan refugees and migrants have been displaced in large numbers across Latin America. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 6 million Venezuelans are living abroad, of which over 4.9 million are hosted in Latin American and Caribbean countries. With the increasing numbers of displaced people around the world, the need for more sustainable and efficient solutions to support both displaced people and host communities has never been greater.

In 2021, the Colombian government provided ten-year Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to most of the 1.8 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the country, thereby creating an enabling environment for their integration. Recognizing that regularization is key to long-term solutions, including access to job market, Ecuador also plans to introduce an initiative that would put the over 500,000 Venezuelans it hosts on the path toward socioeconomic inclusion. Because forced migration is both a humanitarian and development issue, tackling its challenges requires the collective efforts of government, development, humanitarian and private sector partners.

The Refugee and Forced Displacement Initiative and Latin American Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, in partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Migration Policy Institute, and the Pacific Council on International Policy, held this public event on the margins of the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. The event focuses on the critical need for successful integration of Venezuelans in Colombia, Ecuador, and the rest of the region. The discussion addresses some of the ongoing implementation challenges, barriers that limit integration, and the critical roles that the public and private sectors can play in delivering solutions and ensuring the success of these bold government initiatives. Speakers discussed opportunities and challenges for refugee employment and entrepreneurship, both vital paths to economic self-sufficiency.



Registration deadline for this event has passed.
Event Co-Sponsor 

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and the Pacific Council on International Policy