YABT in the Spring Meetings of the World Bank

Washington, D.C., April 21, 2016 – In the framework of the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) with Junior Achievement Americas co-organized the session: “Youth Employment, Key for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” It took place at the Civil Society Policy Forum on April 14 in Washington, D.C. giving continuity to the special participation that, year after year, YABT has in high-level events developed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The Spring Meetings had the participation of high-level speakers: Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, was a special guest to talk about her girls’ access to education campaign: Let Girls Learn. Bill Gates, Co-President of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, participated in a panel about new perspectives for financing development. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary of the United Nations, together with Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, celebrated the partnership that exists between the organizations.

The event co-organized by YABT aimed to address how people are collaborating on youth issues to work in the scope of the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically those focused on poverty, inequality, decent work and economic growth.

The dialogue was developed as part of Leadership Links, an initiative by YABT to provide unique experiences to young people to promote their professional development by participating in important activities worldwide. Leadership Links consists of tailored agendas for young professionals, with the objective of encouraging them to connect with experts and to gain exposure and recognition by being nominated to attend and speak at international events, conferences and panels. The program also offers practical tools for creating professional ties effectively with representatives from other NGOs, international organizations, the private sector, governments and media.  

The panel had the outstanding participation of Luis Viguria, CEO of Young Americas Business Trust, Asheesh Advani, president and CEO of Junior Achievement Worldwide, Ana María Torres, Co-Founder of Hilo Sagrado LLC, and Dorothy J. Stuehmke, Program Officer of Citi Foundation. The moderation of the event was conducted by the young entrepreneur Trina Taluka, Co-Founder of Kranti and Venture Manager of Ashoka, India.

“Tackling youth unemployment is a way to successfully address the other Sustainable Development Goals. The young people of today are full of innovative solutions; we see it every day worldwide. In this day and age everyone has the right to fight for a cause and youth has a central, active role. Young people are the key players that will achieve a better future for all,” expressed Luis Viguria, CEO of YABT.

Luis Viguria is the CEO of Young Americas Business Trust. Luis is an international professional with more than 14 years of experience working with young people and entrepreneurs from all over the world. He combines his solid knowledge of the international development sector with a high level of experience and ethics in the field. Viguria commented: “Working with young people is a must, all sectors should participate, governments, the private sector, civil society.” He later added in respect to the role of youth and entrepreneurship: “Before, young people wanted to work for the best companies, now they want to create businesses that positively change the world. Young people are aware of their potential, they find solutions but they need support.”

“Now that young people are interested in entrepreneurship, how can we support them? How can we personalize programs to satisfy their needs?” asked Asheesh Advandi, CEO de Junior Achievement Worldwide, before the audience.

Asheesh is a lifelong social innovator with a passion for entrepreneurship in all of its forms. At the beginning of his career, he founded CircleLending, a company that pioneered the management of person to person loans on social networks and that was acquired by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group in 2007. His experiences as an entrepreneur and founder were chronicled in the case studies at Babson College and Harvard Business School.  

Dorothy J. Stuehmke, Program Officer of Citi Foundation, referred to a survey performed by 5,000 young people in order to create an index about youth in 35 cities. The survey indicates that “young people are optimists; that they believe in technology and entrepreneurship. While some results arose from some good governments in the creation of youth policies, like Johannesburg or Toronto, we can’t only rely on governments to solve problems,” expressed Stuehmke.

Dorothy leads a team that coordinates the efforts of awarding the grants of the Citi Foundation in financial inclusion, economic opportunities for youth, and urban transformation for more than 80 countries outside of the US. Dorothy also manages key global partnerships, specifically in the area of financial inclusion.

Ana María Torres, is the Co-Founder of Hilo Sagrado LLC. This foundation seeks to rescue the cultural heritage of Latin American Communities, by empowering women entrepreneurs through capacity building and the modernization of production facilities to develop sustainable textile production, promoting the use of clean energies, ethical trace and social wellbeing.  She also leads the Talent and Innovation Competition of the Americas of the Young Americas Business Trust, the largest hemispheric competition for young entrepreneurs.

During her speech Ana María asserted: “Young people are aware of social and economic impacts, so the most powerful tools today are accessing knowledge centers and experts, participating in innovation labs to develop new products and to satisfy the local and global demand.”

Trina Talukdar, Co-Founder of Kranti and Venture Manager of Ashoka India, commented that for young people, “youth unemployment occurs due to the deterioration of the quality of jobs, population growth outpacing job growth and the mismatch of skills.”

Trina began to work in Kalighat, one of the oldest and largest red light districts in Asia, at 18 years old. Her interaction with sex workers fueled her passion to spend her life working on gender empowerment. By age 22, she co-founded Kranti in Mumbai. This organization identifies the potential of girls that have been trafficked as agents of social change, understanding that they have survived the worst social adversities and that they have the passion and understanding to resolve these social problems.

The event was broadcasted live via Periscope and FacebookLive with more than 500 visits on: Facebook YABTDC - Twitter @YABTs with the hashtag #SMCSO16