Spotlight: Ambassador of Argentina to the U.S., Martín Lousteau
How does your Embassy work to grow and strengthen international relationships?
The Embassy of Argentina in DC is undoubtedly our country’s primary connection to the American government, its policymakers, the business community as well as the American people in general.
Bilateral political relations between Argentina and the United States started 190 years ago and are based on shared principles and common interests. There is a broad agenda of bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the U.S. over many fields including science and technology, energy, including nuclear energy, non-proliferation and research for peaceful and scientific purposes.
On space issues, we have a solid relationship with NASA, having even jointly launched and placed in orbit 4 earth observation satellites. In addition, ongoing cooperation and work at bilateral and multilateral level is being undertaken on human rights issues, with particular emphasis on the LGBT agenda in which Argentina is proud to be one of the pioneers. Also worth highlighting is the cooperation and exchanges in education, Argentina being the third regional destination for US university students (after México and Costa Rica).
The bilateral agenda also builds on the importance of further strengthening the ties between other branches of government and society as well as provinces and municipalities. In this regard, interaction is specially promoted among members of the legislative and judicial branches, civil society players, business community, NGOs, universities, think tanks and centers focused on analysis of both countries. Cultural and scientific bilateral exchanges are also actively fostered.
Furthermore, we carry out promotion activities to increase and diversify Argentine exports to the United States and attract productive investments to the country. These activities aim at strengthening bilateral economic and trade ties by facilitating communication between representatives of the public and private sectors; promoting investment opportunities; and promoting inbound tourism to Argentina, among many others goals.
Also highly relevant are our efforts to promote Argentine arts and culture through activities that help convey the diversity and richness of our country, including presentations by Argentine artists living both in Argentina and the US. Many activities are held throughout the year, such as art exhibitions open to the public, tango classes, films and concerts at the Embassy, as well as in the six General Consulates of Argentina in different cities of the U.S. The Embassy also promotes Argentine arts and culture in cooperation with recognized U.S. institutions such as the Kennedy Center and the Washington Ballet.
All these activities are not only key for our country but they also help to develop and strengthen Argentina’s relationship with the US which, we are confident, still has many opportunities for growth.
As Ambassador between your country and the United States, what has your greatest accomplishment been and/or what do you most hope to accomplish to strengthen sub-national diplomacy?
The 21st century is characterized by international relations developed not only by sovereign States but also by a myriad of governmental entities other than national governments, a phenomenon many describe as “paradiplomacy.” In this vein, cities, provinces and federal states make important efforts to promote their trade, investments, cooperation and alliances in different fields, such as climate change and education to name but a few. Both the US and Argentina are federal countries and have strong states and provinces and we can see how many of them want to relate directly with their counterparts, by, for instance, moving forward with sister cities agreements.
As Ambassador of Argentina to the US, my aim is to be able to assist our provinces in these areas and many other. We receive many of our governors who come here looking for investments, to promote tourism to their provinces and to promote trade and educational cooperation between their universities and those in the US. The Embassy has been always there to support their efforts and will continue to do so.
Have you worked with a sister city program in the past?
Not yet, but I know that there are almost 20 sister cities relationships of Argentine cities with others in the US. Even though some of these relationships are more active than others, I believe we have a very good starting point. There is room for much more improvement and there are certainly plenty opportunities for cities of both our countries to work with each other in areas where there are shared interests.
Sister Cities International’s mission could not be more accurate. Promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation — one individual, one community at a time — is as valid today as it was 60 years ago when the organization was created.