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By Fareeza Haniff in Panama City
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The seventh Summit of the Americas is slated to be officially opened on Friday, April 10 in Panama City and is scheduled to last for two days where US President, Barack Obama and UN Chief Ban Ki Moon are expected to be in attendance.
Guyana’s President, Donald Ramotar however will not be in attendance at historic summit and has opted to send his Foreign Affairs Minister, Carolyn Rodrigues – Birkett.
Both Ramotar and Rodrigues – Birkett are in Jamaica attending the Caricom Heads of Government meeting, where Obama is also present. As the opening of the Summit draws closer, preparations are rife in Panama City; heavily armed police and army personnel are observed from the airport to the Convention Center.
This year’s summit on regional issues takes place amid normalizing relations between the US and Cuba. The event has been held every three years since 1994 and provides a chance for leaders from North, Central and South America to come together and discuss issues affecting the region.
Topics expected to be on the agenda include trade, security and migration. This is the first year that Cuba has been invited to attend the summit following a vote by all the Latin American and Caribbean leaders at the last summit, in Colombia in 2012.
Another topic expected to be discussed is China’s role in the region; Beijing has lent Latin American and Caribbean countries nearly $120 billion over the past decade.
Additionally, U.S. relations with Brazil have been frosty since Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff canceled a state visit to the United States in 2013 over allegations of U.S. surveillance in Brazil.
Meanwhile, some 400 rectors of the most important universities of the region will discuss academic mobility, technology, innovation and sustainable economic development.
The Forum of Rectors academic experiences will be exchanged and will be later implemented in the rest of the countries, so there will be lectures by leading figures from business and education world.
Among the speakers and exhibitors who will share their ideas in plenary sessions and panels will be Canadian academic John Daniel and rectors of state universities from the Brazilian city Campinas, Cuban capital city Havana, Georgetown, in the United States, and the Autonomous University of Mexico.