This week, more than 110 Ibero-American and U.S. Jewish leaders unanimously endorsed American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Santiago Declaration, reaffirming their regional commitment to fight antisemitism, stand by Israel in its war against Hamas, support democratic values and human rights worldwide, and promote continued collaboration. The Strategic Forum for Leaders of Ibero-American Jewish Communities, convened December 3-5 by AJC's Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs (BILLA) and hosted by the Jewish Community of Chile, brought together diplomats, political leaders, and representatives from civil society from 13 countries for discussions on current relations with Israel and rising global antisemitism, among other topics.

Along with high-level meetings with top government officials from the region, the U.S., and Israel, the Forum also featured panel discussions with journalists and emerging leaders. In addition to the Santiago Declaration, AJC’s young professional division, AJC ACCESS, also announced the creation of a Latin America ACCESS Advisory Board to provide support to Jewish young professionals in the region and their communities. 

“This convening of the entirety of the Ibero-American Jewish world under BILLA’s leadership could not come at a more crucial time for the Jewish people. At such a tumultuous time, strengthening the ties between regional Jewish communities will better enable us to address the immense challenges we face as a global Jewish community and those specific to Ibero-America. As we look to build on these partnerships, it is our young, emerging leaders who will carry the work forward toward a more secure future. AJC is and will continue to stand with Latin American Jewish communities,” said AJC CEO Ted Deutch. “I am consistently and constantly inspired by AJC’s leaders, and, in particular the young professionals of  AJC ACCESS.  They give me hope for the future. I am looking forward to working with the new AJC ACCESS Latin America Advisory Board and thank these leaders for all they are doing for their local and global communities.”

The Forum’s participants met with Foreign Minister of Chile Alberto Van Klaveren, U.S. Ambassador to Chile Bernadette M. Meehan,  and Israeli Ambassador to Chile Gil Artzyeli to share their concerns in the wake of the October 7 Hamas terror attack against the Israeli people and the impact on Jewish communities in the region. Attendees also heard from U.S. Department of State Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Aaron Keyak, Organization of American States (OAS) Commissioner to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Fernando Lottenberg, and Argentina’s Special Representative for the Fight Against Antisemitism Fabiana Loguzzo on best practices to combat the global spike in anti-Jewish hate. Journalists from four Ibero-American countries, all AJC Project Interchange alumni, spoke on the current dynamics of Ibero-America’s relationship with Israel 75 years after its founding. A diplomatic reception honored members of Israel Friendship Caucuses in Ibero-American congresses. 

“AJC’s BILLA brought together these Ibero-American and U.S. Jewish leaders at this particularly critical time so that we could share our experiences and together craft courses of action in the face of regional threats, including the growing  presence of Iran in our hemisphere,” said BILLA Director Dina Siegel Vann. “In particular, we sought to better understand the challenges facing the Jewish community and Israel in Chile, and to express our collective solidarity.”

“We greatly appreciate AJC’s BILLA for trusting the Jewish Community of Chile to host its annual Strategic Forum at a moment in time in which we have been victims of the worst tragedy since the Holocaust,” said Ariela Agosin, President of Comunidad Judia de Chile (Jewish Community of Chile). “Getting together to exchange experiences  has been of enormous importance to us and to all participants. Likewise, we are grateful for the support we received from AJC and those communities attending the Forum in front of Chilean government officials. As you know, we face a very unique situation in our country given the presence of a large and influential Chilean Palestinian community that challenges us every day. Thank you AJC and everyone who joined us!”

Following a two-day retreat with 25 Latin American and U.S. young professionals in attendance, AJC ACCESS Global in collaboration with BILLA, announced the creation of a Latin America ACCESS Advisory Board. Members of the board will advise AJC about key issues that are affecting their Jewish communities, and in turn will build a network of emerging leaders to share ideas, initiatives, and support. 

“These young professionals from seven different countries — and more to come — are not only the future of our Jewish communities, but they are the present,” said Dr. Dana Steiner, Director of ACCESS Global. “AJC ACCESS is honored to work closely with these young professionals to ensure that they feel equipped and confident to lead within their communities and integrate more strategically within existing leadership infrastructure on issues such as security, philanthropy, and community engagement.” 

“I have been in various leadership roles in my community, Chile, for some time now, which has undoubtedly been an incredible opportunity in my life—a chance not common worldwide,” said Bartolomé Abramovich, one of the emerging leaders appointed to the Latin America ACCESS Advisory Board. “Meeting new people, updating knowledge of different realities is always rewarding, reaffirming that, as a Jewish People, we are united. I will always be grateful for those who came before us and had the vision to strengthen our communities, and I am proud to build on their work.”


AJC's Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs (BILLA) is a unique initiative that strengthens the Jewish community’s bonds of friendship with growing U.S. Latino communities and the countries of Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. BILLA partners with local Jewish communities and other sectors of civil society to promote relations among their countries, the U.S., and Israel. BILLA is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with additional staff in Miami and a representative in São Paulo.

AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 25 offices across the United States, 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world. For more, please visit