North American Forum | About

Founded in 2005, the North American Forum is a community of Canadian, Mexican and American thought leaders, whose purpose is to advance a shared vision of North America, and to contribute to improved relations among the three neighbors. They come together annually to explore the interactions among the mutually reinforcing goals of security, prosperity and enhanced quality of life. The purpose of the NAF is to create the political and conceptual basis for increased cooperation among countries and across sectors. The NAF identifies actions that governments and private actors can take to help build societal resilience so that the three countries can avoid shocks when possible—be they natural or man-made—and withstand and rebound from shocks when necessary. NAF members are selected based on their commitment to the NAF’s goals and their ability to effect positive change.

Presiding over the forum are three Co-Chairs: Gary Roughead, 29th Chief of Naval Operations, US Navy, Pedro Aspe, former Mexican Finance Minister, and Thomas d’Aquino, Chief Executive, Intercounsel Ltd. Admiral Roughead assumed the US Chairmanship in 2014 after the seminal leadership of former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, who was US Co-Chair from 2010 to 2013.

Admiral Gary Roughead Thomas d’Aquino Pedro Aspe
Participants and Outputs

A core group of participants from Mexico, Canada, and the United States are invited each year, along with experts able to contribute to that year’s agenda. While this core group is comprised of non-governmental actors, by and large, they have feed-back loops to their respective governments. Senior representatives of all three governments are also among those invited. While these experts are drawn from all sectors, including the media, the majority of the meetings are held off-the-record, following the Chatham House rule. Beginning in 2008, some of the sessions with keynote addresses by elected public officials have been opened to the press.

The Co-Chairs do not intend to make public pronouncements advocating specific policy approaches on the NAF’s behalf. Rather the outputs of the NAF will be ideas and approaches that are individually pursued by participants at their own initiative and in their own name.

Selected Keynote Speakers since 2008
  • General Jonathan Vance, Chief of Defence Staff (2015)
  • Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario (2015)
  • Bob Hamilton, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources (2014)
  • Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs (2009)
  • Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade (2009)
  • Gary Doer, Ambassador of Canada to the United States (2011)
  • Peter MacKay, Canadian Minister of National Defense (2012)
  • Marie Lucie Morin, National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister (2009)
  • Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment (2009)
  • Michael Wilson, Ambassador of Canada to the United States (2008)
  • Pedro Joaquin Coldwell, Secretary of Energy (2014)
  • Agustin Carstens, Governor of the Bank of Mexico (2010, 2011, 2013)
  • Ernesto Cordero, Secretary of Treasury (2010)
  • Pedro Joaquin, Secretary of Energy, Government of Mexico (2013)
  • Eduardo Medina Mora, Attorney General (2009)
  • Enrique Peña Nieto, Governor of the State of Mexico (2010)
  • Aurelio Nuño, Education Coordinator of Transition Team, Government of President-Elect of Mexico (2012)
  • Arturo Sarukhan, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States (2011)
  • Juan José Suárez Coppel, Director General PEMEX (2010)
  • Luis Tellez Kuenzler, Secretary of Communications and Transport (2008)
  • Luis Videgaray, Secretary of Treasury (Finance), Government of Mexico (2013)
United States
  • Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy (2014)
  • Robert Zoellick, Chairman, International Advisors, Goldman Sachs, Former President of the World Ban Group (2014)
  • Samuel Bodman, Secretary of Energy (2008)
  • George W. Bush, President (2008)
  • Ashton Carter, Deputy Secretary, US Department of Defense (2011, 2012)
  • Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Director, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and Stanley Morrison Professor of Law, Stanford University (2013)
  • Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense (2008)
  • Arun Majumdar, Director, Advanced Research Projects Agency, US Department of Energy (2011)
  • John Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State (2008)
  • General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2009)
  • Carlos Pascual, Ambassador of the United States to Mexico (2010)
  • Daniel Poneman, Deputy Secretary of Energy (2011)
  • Tom Ridge, First Secretary, US Department of Homeland Security and Former Governor of Pennsylvania (2009)
  • Robert Rubin, Director and Chairman, Citi Executive Committee, Former Secretary of the Treasury (2008)
  • Paul N. Stockton, Assistant Secretary of Defense, for Homeland Defense (2010)
  • James Woolsey, Venture Partner, VantagePoint Venture Partners; Former CIA Director (2009)
Former Co-chairs
  • Peter Lougheed, Former Premier of Alberta
  • William J. Perry, 19th United States Secretary of Defense
  • George P. Shultz, 60th United States Secretary of State