Friday, November 16, 2012

Central American Youth Leadership Conference

What happens when young professionals from seven different youth leadership foundations come together?

Something great!

Standing Right to Left: Marisol, Gari, Lucy, Gladys
Below Right to Left: Samuel, Michele, Cesar, Hector

This past weekend OYE Honduras organized the Central American Youth Leadership Conference. Financing and organization for this event came from Michele Frix and Seattle International Foundation. The passion of Seattle International Foundation and Michele to empower Central American youth energized and drove the conference.

Organizations invited to the conference included Comunicandonos and Ashoka Central America from El Salvador, Global Visionaries and IncideJoven from Guatemala, Teensmart from Nicaragua, and tours truly OYE Honduras. Representatives from each organization made fast friends in Aeropuerto Internacional de El Salvador, where they serendipitously met. Hunched over laptops practicing their presentations many participants realized they were sitting within feet of each other, and after brief introductions the rest was history.

Conference members exchange contact information and plan future actions
 The five youth representing their NGOs and Michele did not waste time with formalities. By the time Sam, OYE’s Development Coordinator, picked the participants up from the San Pedro Sula Airport they were old friends.  Perhaps “old friends” is not the best choice of words as many of these same participants commented on how pleased they were to see such young representatives attending the conference. The average age of the conference could       not have been more than 25!

Beyond the immediate friendships formed, the conference highlighted many commonalities between the organizations. Before, after, and during the conference youth empowerment and development were discussed in depth.  Each NGO introduced its own expertise, knowledge, and experience to the conference. While it was inspiring to see the various ways different NGOs approached the theme of youth empowerment, the consistencies between NGOs was even more enlightening. Each NGO shared the powerful notion that our youth are not only the future but also the present, and so should be leaders not just tomorrow but today. The NGOs agreed that youth development needs to have communal support and a communal impact. Finally, a general conclusion from the conference suggests that youth development is an integrated process that involves formal education, personal development and space to express oneself. In light of this conviction, the NGOs involved place significant focus on art and communication projects.
Walter present's KM2 Solution's unique Corporate Social
Responsibility plan and Social Media tools

At a final reflection of the conference all representatives agreed that not only was it a fun event, but it planted an important seed for future collaboration. The first project that invites of Central American Youth Conference will realize together is a regional news bulletin.  Within the week we expect to have drafts of news updates and important development events from each of the participating NGOs. OYE’s magazine coordinator Jarly Yanez will synthesize the articles and design the regions first youth news bulletin. Each foundation is looking forward to pioneering this international network of youth development.

Find out more about the participants by viewing their sites:


Michael Solis said...

So happy to see this event come to fruition! Great job Sam and everyone at OYE...and a huge thanks to Seattle International Foundation for making this happen.

Justin Eldridge Otero said...

Felicidades a todos los participantes de la conferencia! Gracias a Sam, el equipo OYE y los demas que apoyaron por sus esfuerzos an ayudar juntar un grupo de jovenes talentoso y visionarios! Adelante Jovenes!! Orgullo Catracho!

OYE Honduras said...

Gracias Michael y Justin! Its important to mention the hard work Michael contributed to building this relationship with Seattle International Foundation. Thanks Michael, and good luck in Nicaragua.