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Shannon K. O'Neil

Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies

Expertise

Latin America, Mexico, Brazil; policy reform; security; trade; energy; immigration.

Bio

Shannon O'Neil is Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher. Her expertise includes U.S.-Latin America relations, trade, energy, and immigration. She is the author of Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States, and the Road Ahead (Oxford University Press, 2013), which analyzes the political, economic, and social transformations Mexico has undergone over the last three decades and why these changes matter for the United States. She also directed CFR's Independent Task Force on U.S.-Latin America Relations: A New Direction for a New Reality.

Dr. O'Neil has testified before Congress on U.S. policy toward Mexico and she is a frequent commentator on major television and radio programs. She has also spoken at numerous academic, business, and policy conferences. Her work has been published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica, Americas Quarterly, Política Exterior, Foreign Policy, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, among others. Her blog at shannononeil.com analyzes developments in Latin America and U.S. relations in the region.

She has lived and worked in Mexico and Argentina, and travels extensively in Latin America. She was a Fulbright scholar; a Justice, Welfare, and Economics fellow at Harvard University; and has taught Latin American politics at Columbia University. Before turning to policy, Dr. O'Neil worked in the private sector as an equity analyst at Indosuez Capital and Credit Lyonnais Securities. She holds a BA from Yale University, an MA in International Relations from Yale University, and a PhD in Government from Harvard University.

Featured Publications

All Publications

Testimony

Refocusing U.S.-Mexico Security Cooperation

Author: Shannon K. O'Neil

In her testimony before the Senate Subcommmittee on Western Hemisphere and Global Narcotics Affairs, Shannon K. O'Neil discusses the United States' bilateral security relationship with Mexico and argues that a strong and safe Mexico will have positive benefits for the United States, while a dangerous Mexico will have repercussions far beyond the southern U.S. border.

See more in Mexico; United States; Regional Security

Expert Brief

Mexico

Author: Shannon K. O'Neil

In this chapter preview from Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons From Democratic Transitions, Shannon O'Neil charts the gradual decline of Mexico's "perfect dictatorship" and its replacement by a relatively strong democracy with a growing middle class.

See more in Mexico; Democratization

Teaching Note

Two Nations Indivisible

Author: Shannon K. O'Neil

In this book, CFR Senior Fellow Shannon K. O'Neil explains that beyond the narrative of violence that dominates the headlines is a more hopeful Mexico with a globally competitive economy, a rising middle class, and increasingly influential pro-democracy voters—a country the United States should see as a partner, not a problem. Teaching notes by the author.

See more in Latin America and the Caribbean; Drug Trafficking and Control; Border and Port Security

Ask CFR Experts

After immigration reform, how would the large and newly legal Hispanic population influence U.S. politics?

Asked by Isolda Navarro

Immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship would have sweeping effects on the lives of the estimated eight million undocumented Hispanics living within the United States. But it would not have an acute, immediate effect on U.S. politics.

Read full answer

See more in United States; Immigration; Latin America and the Caribbean

Recent Activity from Latin America's Moment

CFR Events

Guest Event ⁄ New York

North America: Time for a New Focus Report of the CFR-Sponsored Independent Task Force on North America

Speakers:

David H. Petraeus, General (U.S. Army, Retired); Chairman, KKR Global Institute; Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency; Task Force Co-Chair, Robert B. Zoellick, Chairman, International Advisors, Goldman Sachs & Co.; Former President, World Bank Group; Task Force Co-Chair, Shannon K. O'Neil, Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Task Force Project Director

Presider:

Maria S. Bartiromo, Anchor and Global Markets Editor, Fox Business Network
October 1, 2014 1:00-1:30 p.m. - Lunch
1:30-2:30 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

Watch

General Meeting ⁄ New York

Presidential Inbox Series: Latin America

Panelists:

Shannon K. O'Neil, Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States, and the Road Ahead, Arturo A. Valenzuela, Senior Adviser for Latin America, Covington and Burling LLP; Professor of Government and Foreign Service, Georgetown University; Former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Presider:

Sergio J. Galvis, Partner, Sullivan and Cromwell LLP
May 29, 2013 12:30-1:00 p.m. - Lunch
1:00-2:00 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Roundtable Meeting

Realizing Democracy: Lessons from Mexico and Brazil

Speaker:

Shannon K. O'Neil, Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Director, Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations
May 23, 2013

This meeting is not for attribution.

Listen

Academic Conference Call

Energy Innovation in Brazil, China, and India: U.S. Policy Implications

Speakers:

Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations, Shannon K. O'Neil, Douglas Dillon Fellow for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Irina A. Faskianos, Vice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations
February 2, 2011

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Conference Panel Session

Beyond NAFTA: Raising Cross-Border Competitiveness

Speakers:

Jorge Mariscal, Partner and Director of Investment Research, Rohatyn Group; Adjunct Professor of International Affairs, Columbia University, Shannon K. O'Neil, Douglas Dillon Fellow for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Juan E. Pardinas, Director of Public Finance, Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO)

Presider:

Ana Paula Ordorica, Journalist, Televisa/Grupo Imagen
November 10, 2010

This meeting is not for attribution.

ListenWatch

Conference Panel Session

Regional and Multilateral Responses

Speakers:

Adam Isacson, Director of Programs, Center for International Policy, Francisco Thoumi, Tinker Visiting Professor of Latin America Studies, University of Texas

Presider:

Shannon K. O'Neil, Douglas Dillon Fellow for Latin America Studies, CFR
November 18, 2009

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Academic Conference Call

Latin America Policy in the Obama Administration

Speakers:

Shannon K. O'Neil, Douglas Dillon Fellow for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Irina A. Faskianos, Vice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations
April 2, 2009

This meeting is not for attribution.

Listen

Roundtable Meeting

Closing the Gaps in Latin America in a Time of World Crisis

Speaker:

Julio Frenk Mora, Harvard School of Public Health

Presiders:

Laurie Garrett, Council on Foreign Relations, Shannon K. O'Neil, Council on Foreign Relations
February 26, 2009

This meeting is not for attribution.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ New York

Foreign Policy Inbox: U.S.-Mexico Relations

Speakers:

Barry R. McCaffrey, President, BR McCaffrey Associates LLC; Adjunct Professor of International Affairs, United States Military Academy; Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy (1996-2001), Shannon K. O'Neil, Douglas Dillon Fellow for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Scott Malcomson, Foreign Editor, The New York Times Magazine
February 20, 2009 12:30-1:00 p.m. - Lunch Buffet
1:00-2:00 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Press/Panels