Washington D.C., June 20, 2023 – The Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) held the Young Americas Dialogue, a hybrid event with the participation of hundreds of young people from across the region as part of the 53rd Ordinary Period Sessions of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), where leaders from the Western Hemisphere and young people discussed solutions and actions that are being developed based on youth participation and entrepreneurship.
The Opening Ceremony was attended by the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro; the Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the OAS, Ambassador Francisco Mora; the Chairman of the YABT Board of Directors, Luis Nino; and YABT Executive Director, Valerie Lorena.
In his speech, Ambassador Mora mentioned “The participation of young people in events like this, the OAS General Assembly and the Summit of the Americas process, is essential and critical.” For his part, Secretary General Almagro highlighted “Youth training cannot be a concept of an abstract pipe dream. We must capture, process and act, and open integration dynamics.”
Luis Nino in his message expressed “young people, be sure of our support. Your energy and innovation are needed to carry out this dialogue.”
Then, Luis Viguria, CEO of YABT; and María Moreno, CEO of USA for IOM; chaired the Presentation of Emprender en Movimiento, communicating the alliance between both organizations and highlighting the importance of having a focus on the economic empowerment of young migrants and refugees.
Viguria stressed “what we are looking for from the YABT is to make our region and our society more inclusive, more equitable, in which all young people have equal rights and access to opportunities…”. For her part, Moreno added “we are pleased to announce that we are going to begin a formal collaboration with YABT to develop an Innovation Challenge, which will benefit around 600 young people”.
Later, Valerie Lorena moderated the “Conversation on Citizen Participation, Diversity and Youth Commitments”, addressing the role of youth in the implementation and progress of the commitments of their participation in the series of political dialogues. The Director of the OAS Summits of the Americas Secretariat, María Celina Conte, held an enriching conversation with youth delegates: Andres Botero, Danilsa Pena, Oriana Zanotty Meza, Priscila Zúniga Villalobos and Walter Ottoniel Simon. “It is important that commitments are nourished by diversity (…). You have unique experiences, diverse knowledge…”, said Conte.
The agenda continued with the Session “Entrepreneurship and Innovation”, where the 8 Finalist teams of Eco-Challenge 2023 – TIC Americas special category of sustainable innovation – had their first presentation to the international community about the innovative solutions they lead which are making a positive impact on their communities. They were accompanied by Flavia Araujo, Leader of Corporate Affairs of PepsiCo Latin America Beverages, who witnessed the Elevator Speech of each Finalist, offering them a special message on behalf of the company.
The Closing Ceremony was attended by the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Néstor Méndez; who highlighted the role of youth as a social actor, at the same time that “youth play a fundamental role in achieving freedom, innovation and progress towards a promising future”.
Lourdes Argueta, Salvadoran, Youth Spokesperson, presented the Youth and Commitments Report towards the 53rd OAS General Assembly, highlighting the need to strengthen democracy, especially on issues that ensure fundamental freedoms and guarantees. The report proposes schemes, methodologies and actions to reduce inequalities, which speed up democratic and institutional processes, as well as the creation of support networks that play an important role for young migrants and refugees. The full report can be downloaded HERE (only available in Spanish).
The Vice President of the YABT Board of Directors, Yadira Pinilla; gave the Closing Remarks, pointing out that “The resilience of our countries not only depends on human development, but also on being able to generate in our young people the necessary capacities and aptitudes to be able to carry out new models of entrepreneurship, new spaces for participation and decision-making…”
The recommendations and next steps of this process will be presented by a youth spokesperson in the Dialogue of Representatives of Civil Society Organizations and Social Actors with Heads of Delegations, the Secretary General and the Assistant Secretary General, at the 53rd General Assembly of the OAS.To check out different Dialogue moments, please visit the website: https://yabt.net/dialogo-de-jovenes-de-las-americas/