I’ve been a member of the Partners of the Americas’ family since my participation on the Youth Ambassadors program in spring 2010-- five years ago. By that time I had just turned fifteen, and I was a junior in High School in Caracas, Venezuela. Now it’s been almost two years since I’ve been living and studying at university in Montpellier, in the south of France.
Give a young person the chance to travel, and they’ll likely never be the same. I saw this firsthand in the conversations I had with former Youth Ambassadors (YA) and YouthLead SENA participants in a recent 10-day trip to Colombia focusing on productive work meetings with stakeholders such as the U.S. Embassy, Partners Chapters, Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA), Universidad del Norte and other schools.
It's been approximately five years since I came out to myself as a gay man. It was precisely during my masters studies in the United States, when I was first exposed to a truly open and diverse environment, that I was able to overcome all of my fears and hesitations to admit it. Because of this, when I first learned about the Legislative Fellows Program run by Partners of the Americas, I was doubtful of the impact that this program could have in my personal and professional life, since I'd already “lived the American experience”.
Youth are often referred to as “the future,” or the next generation of leaders. At Partners of the Americas, we firmly believe that youth are leaders in the present. They are dynamic members of our society who actively contribute to the economic, cultural, and social development of our communities.
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I’m a big admirer of the work that Partners of the Americas does, and I've had a long connection to the organization through my service in the Peace Corps in Paraguay. I’d like to tell you a story about an amazing youth from my community in Paraguay that has accomplished much with the help of Partners.