Summit of the Americas

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Summit of the Americas

The Summit of the Americas, coordinated by the Organization of American States (OAS), is an inter-American conference that occurs every few years, bringing together the heads of government from thirty-four participating democratic nations of the Western Hemisphere to discuss areas of mutual concern and to advance dialogue on development in the region. In the years following the signing of the OAS Charter in 1948, inter-American conferences consisted of few participants and served as a system for developing inter-American law. These initial meetings laid the groundwork for multilateral cooperation and hemispheric integration and sought to reinforce the Alliance for Progress. During the cold war years they occurred infrequently, making consensus and cooperation difficult. By the first Summit of the Americas in 1994, a common understanding had developed that democracy and market economies require multilateral cooperation for regional development to be sustainable and equitable. To encourage this cooperation, representatives from each of the thirty-four countries meet prior to each summit to develop the agenda and final documents coordinating the declarations to be agreed upon by the participant countries during the summit. Each summit held since 1994 has addressed a unique set of initiatives and themes predetermined during the summit process. Included in the achievements of the summits are the drafting of the Declaration of Principles and the development of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

See alsoOrganization of American States (OAS) .


Summits of the Americas Secretariat, Organization of American States. "The Summit of the Americas Process." Available from

                                    Maggie K. Hummel