Youth Dialogue with Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS

Washington, D.C., April 8, 2016 – The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, held a dialogue today in which more than 500 youth from 26 countries from all over the continent participated to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the establishment of the “Youth Network of the Americas” (Red de Jovenes de las Americas in Spanish) in response to the action plan of the Young Americas Forum in Cartagena.

“Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you. We have a responsibility in leadership that has to do with knowledge. The more we know, the better we can convey things, this makes you all leaders. Leaders when it comes to focusing on the problems within your societies,” expressed Almagro at the beginning of his exchange with the young participants.

The issues addressed by the Secretary General were: young victims of armed conflict and the peace process in Colombia, proposals from the OAS regarding the inclusion of the handicapped and accessibility in the region, strategies to address the problem of gender violence, the situation of indigenous youth in Honduras and Venezuela, youth migration and the promotion of rights for the LGBTQI community, among others.

This reaffirms the commitment of Almagro and of the OAS to work on these issues that are the focus of concern of the youth in the hemisphere.

It is noteworthy that the questions that the Secretary General answered emerged from a participatory and democratic process led by the Youth Network of the Americas through social networks, mainly on Facebook, in a process that involved the participation of hundreds of youth from different latitudes. They managed to compile the main concerns of youth and, through an online voting process, they decided which would be the issues addressed to the Secretary General.

The dialogue also featured words from Luis Viguria, Chief Executive Officer of the Young Americas Business Trust, Carlos Santiago and Clara Berenstein, members of the Youth Network of the Americas. This activity was developed in the framework of the Young Americas Forum, a space created by the Young Americas Business Trust where youth, as social actors, actively participate in the Summits of the Americas processes. This is a process of more than 10 years that is co-organized with the OAS: Argentina 2005, Trinidad and Tobago 2009, Colombia 2012 and Panama 2015 that includes the support of 2,630 youth in 43 National Dialogues and 1,455 virtual meeting. More than 5,000 youth involved.

The national dialogues are established as fundamental spaces for discussion and proposing action plans and strategies for the country. The youth of the Americas are invited to join the process of the Young Americas Forum, and to be part of the solutions to the most pressing problems that the continent is facing.

In this platform, youth have the opportunity to analyze and discuss the challenges in order to propose viable and sustainable solutions, as well as new perspectives that contribute to the processes around the theme of the 46th Assembly General “Institutional Strengthening for Sustainable Development in the Americas.” The results of the dialogues will be presented by the young people in the Youth Dialogue to be held in June within the framework of the 46th General Assembly of the OAS in the Dominican Republic.

To see the photo gallery of the event:

To see the National Dialogues on the Activities Calendar:

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