The Human Side of the Americas Roundtable

By:Veronica Figoli Issue: Biennial of the Americas 2010 Section:The Americas Roundtables Human Side of Things

As I to write these words, it has now been a few weeks since the presentation of the tenth and final event of The Americas Roundtable. Mercifully, I finally have had a little more time on my hands to rest, which I greatly appreciate, and yet I also feel melancólica (melancholy). I look at pictures, and memories flood my mind. It is bittersweet to say goodbye to the most incredible project I have experienced so far in my professional life -- The Americas Roundtable of the Biennial of the Americas.

I moved to Denver five years ago. Although I loved the city from the moment I arrived, I’ve always wanted it to be a bit more international. I feel so privileged to have been involved with this project and to see my dream come true – to have meaningful and elevated conversations about the Americas in the city I now call mi casa. But it is not about the content or the work that we did on The Americas Roundtable that I want to tell you about today… I want to tell you about the people.

We brought to Denver the largest aggregation ever of government leaders, non-profit leaders, journalists, health professionals, and other dignitaries, celebrities, and citizens from across the Americas. We had former presidents of nations; cabinet officers from the U.S., Mexico and Colombia; a Noble Peace Prize laureate; multiple directors of NGOs, a very talented singer and song writer from Colombia who’s actively involved in philanthropy, and a wide assortment of members of the U.S. and international diplomatic corps… y pare usted de contar (and you stop counting.)

Although grateful for the gathering of such esteemed experts, the greatest part for me was getting to know these individuals as human beings. Many times, we forget that behind the big titles and big responsibilities, there is a real person who has virtues and flaws. Backstage at The Americas Roundtable, we had unforgettable moments. We told stories of our countries, we listened to former presidents as they shared their challenges and their triumphs. We were stressed, we laughed, and then we laughed again.

What an incredible opportunity I was given by the organizers of The Americas Roundtable, but most importantly by nuestro jefe (our boss), Jim Polsfut, a determined leader who guided us through this journey with steadiness and vision.

As a professional, I recognize the importance of hard work and tangible results. But as a person, I recognize the value of the human relationship. Alliances and life-long friendships were built out of these experiences.

To all of you who were part of these unforgettable memories…¡Gracias!

Verónica Figoli Director of the Americas Roundtable