Dr. Susan Kaufman Purcell is an independent consultant on Latin American issues based in Miami, Florida. Until recently, she was the director of the Center for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami. During her tenure, (March 2005-December 2015), the Center sponsored public and private programs and meetings dealing with Latin American economic and political issues and U.S.-Latin American relations. Through its task forces and associated publications, the Center helped define and shape the debate over public policies involving the Western Hemisphere.
Prior to assuming that position, Dr. Purcell was Vice President of the Council of the Americas in New York, a not-for-profit U.S. business organization of mainly Fortune 500 companies with investments in Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada. She also served as Vice President of the Council’s affiliate organization, the Americas Society, a not-for-profit educational and cultural institution focusing on Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada.
Between 1981 and 1988, Dr. Purcell was a Senior Fellow and Director of the Latin America Project at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Prior to that, she was a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff, serving under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
Before joining the U.S. government, Dr. Purcell was a tenured professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles. She was also a visiting professor at Columbia University. She holds a BA degree in Spanish and Latin American literature from Barnard College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and MA and Ph.D. degrees in political science from Columbia University.
Dr. Purcell is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Valero Energy Corporation, a Fortune 100 company based in San Antonio, Texas. She also was a Director of the Argentina Fund, the Latin America Dollar Income Fund, the Scudder World Income Opportunities Fund, the Korea Fund, the Scudder Global Commodities Stock Fund, the Scudder Global High Income Fund, the Scudder New Asia Fund and the Brazil Fund. Her past service on non-profit boards includes the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida, the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House and the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, and was also a member of the advisory board of the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She currently is a director of the non-profit Foundation for Management Education in Central America (also known as the INCAE Foundation) and serves on the board of the International Women’s Forum (Miami/Dade and Broward chapter) and of the American Jewish Committee (Miami/Dade and Broward chapter). In addition, she has done extensive consulting on Latin American economic, trade, investment and political issues for U.S. and foreign corporations.
A recognized authority on Latin America, Dr. Purcell has written, co-authored or co-edited eleven books. These include Mexico under Fox (2004), Cuba: The Contours of Change (2000), Mexico under Zedillo (1998), Brazil under Cardoso (1997), Europe and Latin America in the World Economy (1994), Japan and Latin America in the New Global Order (1992) and Latin America: U.S. Policy after the Cold War (1991). She has published over 200 articles on Latin American economic, financial, political and foreign policy issues. They have appeared in journals including Foreign Affairs and Latin Finance. Her op-ed articles on Latin American economic and political developments and on U.S. policy toward the hemisphere have been published in major U.S. newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The International Herald Tribune and The Miami Herald, as well as in influential Latin American newspapers such as Reforma (Mexico) and Clarín (Argentina). She also wrote a column for AméricaEconomía.
In addition to her writings, Dr. Purcell regularly comments on developments in Latin America on television programs in the United States and Latin America, including CNBC, CNN, FOX news, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS and Bloomberg News, and their Spanish-language affiliates. She has also testified on Capitol Hill on issues such as NAFTA, economic sanctions, U.S.-Mexican relations and U.S. policy toward Latin America. In addition, she has participated in private briefings at the White House and State Department prior to visits to Latin America by the President and Secretary of State, and has helped define the U.S. agenda for presidential summits in the hemisphere.