Press Release


OAS Assistant Secretary General Concludes Youth Conference and Highlights Recommendations

  December 4, 2012

The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert Ramdin, today closed the Conference "Youth in Action for Democracy and Entrepreneurship," which took place at the headquarters of the organization in Washington, DC and concluded with a series of recommendations to be presented to the OAS Member States.

The senior official of the organization stressed the specificity and conciseness of the recommendations of the forum, which he described as "implementable." "The simple fact of being able to come together to exchange views, perspectives, information and experience is valuable, because one of our objectives is to bring communities and young people together," said Ramdin.

Ambassador Ramdin, who tomorrow will present the recommendations of the Conference at a special meeting of the Permanent Council (agenda available here), recalled that the general outlines of the organization’s work with youth were defined at the General Assembly in Medellin in 2008. He said that, in his address to the Permanent Council tomorrow, he will link the conclusions from the Conference to the Declaration of Medellín, which, he recalled "focused on building and strengthening the capacities of countries, both at the level of civil society and youth organizations as well as governments." “We have to work on these issues, and I hope that when I speak tomorrow to the Member States of the OAS I can convey that they have to support us, either through the implementation of legislation, resource relocation, or at the institutional level," he said.

Ramdin emphasized the participation in the event of young people from many nationalities and many organizations that have committed to the initiative. "I have the hope that this exercise of the exchange of experiences has served to build contacts and relationships and maintain this same vitality when you return to your countries, or when you exchange views on the issues discussed."

In this regard, he expressed his hope that the participants in the day's discussions continue "with the exchange of best practices and challenges on the subject of democracy and entrepreneurship through the online Virtual Forum and through the event's website." The Assistant Secretary General also called for participants to submit their comments on the format and content of the 2012 Conference, so that its recommendations can be considered in the future organization of Youth Conferences.

The conclusions and recommendations of the forum (draft available here) urge the OAS General Secretariat to create a permanent technical unit specializing in youth issues, with a cross-sectoral perspective and that promotes the democratic participation of the youth of the Americas. They also recommend promoting a strategy of communication, dissemination and exchange of good practices and programs of the OAS related to youth civic participation.

In addition, the discussion workshops of the Conference suggested developing programs to support youth entrepreneurship in its various phases, and to provide follow-up and development services for youth businesses, with plans for cooperation, the exchange of best practices and synergies between stakeholders. Also, the conclusions call for the incorporation of business training and fostering entrepreneurship at all levels of education, including the development of skills from an early age to create and conduct business in a global world.

Luis Viguria, CEO of the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), who participated in the closing ceremony, highlighted the "commitment of the OAS to youth, demonstrated by the presence of the Secretary General and the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS in the Conference." Viguria also highlighted the participation of representatives of the different sub-regions of the hemisphere and many representatives of governments and private companies. "The content of the panels gave us a concrete example of both young entrepreneurs and young defenders of democracy, and in both cases we had clear evidence that young people are not only aware of the problems, but are developing solutions," he said.

Finally, Viguria emphasized the necessary connection between the two main themes of the Conference, democracy and entrepreneurship: "To be a successful entrepreneur you need an idea, training, follow-up and money. But you also need infrastructure, political stability, democratic stability and freedom of expression, which are the pillars of democracy."

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.

Reference: E-448/12