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Presidents of Panama and Costa Rica and OAS Secretary General Close IV Youth Forum of the Americas

  April 9, 2015

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, took part today in the conclusion of the IV Youth Forum of the Americas and the awarding of prizes for the innovation competition TIC Americas, together with the Presidents of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, and Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís, in the framework of the Seventh Summit of the Americas, which begins tomorrow in Panama City, Panama.

The President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela told the young participants that “you have planted the seed for the success of the Summit of the Americas” and urged them to participate in public service to improve the conditions of life for all the citizens of the Hemisphere. “You are part of a new generation of young people who are called upon to make yourselves heard, to be taken into account in decision-making that affect the region and your own future,” he said.

“Therefore I ask that we assume the commitment to change lives in the forgotten places, that we unite efforts so that all the young people in the Americas have access to basic services and a good education that allows them to advance in their human development,” said President Varela. “Politics requires the participation of everyone,” he said, “in particular young people, who become agents of change and transformation.”

“We know that the development and prosperity we enjoy today are not equal. Therefore you, the next leaders of the Americas, have the responsibility to contribute to making the future of the region one in which the bonanza reaches everyone without distinguishing between classes, and in which the unity of the Americas is consolidated,” said the Panamanian President.

The President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís, said that he saw in the young people at the event “the reign of diversity. I see young businesspeople, scientists, artists, artisans, young indigenous people, afro-descendants, young people from rural areas, and urban areas.” And that is important, said the Costa Rican leader, “because the needs of a young scientist working on a doctorate at a high level university are not the same as those of a young mother with children from several fathers that has to face a problem of disability.”

“If we don´t understand this extraordinary diversity that is the reality of young people we cannot be politicians capable of articulating the policies that they need to accelerate their opportunities,” said President Solis, who highlighted the need for governments to invest in programs of health and education and that generate opportunities for employment.

The Youth Forum of the Americas, said the Costa Rican President, is “a demonstration of the importance of investment in youth – in social, cultural, and educational areas,” and moreover urged those in public administration to “place young people at the center of agendas, promoting the role that they have to play in all areas.”

For his part, Secretary General Insulza recalled how the TIC Americas program has grown since its beginning in 2007, a period in which more than 13,300 projects were presented involving more than 31,000 young people from across the Hemisphere. “As this is an international competition, that recognizes and awards business plans, represents a heritage that benefits not only young people, but the entire population of our Hemisphere, because some of them are effective instruments of job creation and of economic development in our countries,” said the Secretary General.

In addition, the leader of the hemispheric institution told the participants that “you are the expression of an enormous number of young people in our region, you have the enthusiasm and the capacity that allows for the conversion of good ideas into good business, that will allow you to generate your own jobs and give you independence, and the satisfaction of seeing how your creativity and your efforts translate directly into results to satisfy the immediate needs of your societies.”

The Secretary General recognized in particular the young Cubans who participated in the meeting, in what constituted “the first activity of Cuba in this Summit of the Americas.” The OAS leader, who concludes his mandate on May 25, finalized his address by saying “if there is one thing that is true tonight it is that this is the last time I will participate in this Forum as Secretary General, and I wish you the best of success in your lives in your work, in your efforts and that we continue to innovate, something that is so necessary to the progress of our Americas.”

During the closing session of the Forum the Eco-Challenge 2015 and TIC Americas 2015 prizes were awarded, and the participants delivered to Presidents Varela and Solís the Declaration of Commitment of the Young People of the Americas, which will be presented to the Heads of State and Government of the Americas.

The innovation competition for young people TIC Americas is organized by the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), a non-profit entity created in 1999 that works in cooperation with the OAS General Secretariat to promote the social and economic development of the young people of the region. The final session included the participation of the Executive President of YABT, Luis Viguria; the Founder and President of the Board of YABT, Roy Thomasson; and the Executive Director of PepsiCo LatinAmerican Foods, Laxman Narasimhan.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video news of the event will be available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-126/15