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A message from Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue...

April 7, 2014
Washington, DC

Dear Friends,

We note with great sadness Peter Bell’s passing last Friday in Boston.  

Peter embodied the spirit of the Inter-American Dialogue.  He was one of our founders and served as co-chair of the Board of Directors.  He remained fully engaged in the Dialogue after becoming co-chair emeritus.  He never missed the most important meetings.  

It is hard to overstate Peter’s role in shaping the Dialogue over the past three decades.  He generously shared his judgment, wisdom, and high ethical standards -- and did so with great modesty.  He was committed to Latin America and more constructive Inter-American relations, based on mutual trust and respect.


Peter’s career began in Latin America, where he served with the Ford Foundation in Brazil and Chile.  He was a tireless champion of human rights during military rule in both countries.  In 1980 he became president of the Inter-American Foundation, which supports grassroots development.

Peter’s concern for helping the poor and disadvantaged was also manifest in the United States and throughout the world.  He was president of CARE USA and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and served on the boards of many organizations dedicated to advancing human rights, social justice, and humanitarian concerns.

Peter’s passing is a tremendous loss for the Dialogue -- and for so many who had the good fortune to work with him and were touched by his unselfish and caring nature.  We honor his myriad contributions that made the world a better place. 

We will miss him acutely.  We are inspired to work even harder to advance the values that Peter represented and taught us. 

Michael Shifter, President
Inter-American Dialogue