Memories: IV Young Americas Forum

The IV Young Americas Forum (Forum IV) took place on April 8th and 9th, 2015 in Panama City, Panama under the auspices of the VII Summit of the Americas. The Forum IV’s main objective was to provide space for young people to discuss and share their recommendations on the themes of the IV Summit of the Americas. This enabled the drafting and adoption of the "Youth Declaration", which was delivered to the governments and presented to the international community.

This process was based on two pillars: Implementation and Participation. The implementation pillar was developed through the Talent and Innovation Competition of the Americas (TIC Americas), in which 2,734 young people from 35 countries submitted projects that responded to the themes of the Summit.

For the participation pillar, YABT facilitated space and support for the youth to carry out national and regional dialogues, aimed at providing recommendations and actions on the themes of the VII Summit of the Americas. In eight months, 39 on-site dialogues were conducted in 19 countries of the Hemisphere, involving 2,650 young representatives of associations and youth organizations. In addition, a virtual mass consultation in Spanish, English and Portuguese collected 1,492 young people recommendations.

To get more detailed information about the activities that took place in the IV Forum below:

Preparatory process

  • Official activities towards the VII Summit

    Over the past eight months, more than 5,000 young people have joined in the preparatory process of the VII Summit of the Americas through the IV Young Americas Forum (IV Forum) facilitated by the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT).

    The official launching of the IV Forum took place on October 27, 2014 in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama.

    Thereafter, the lines of participation were onsite and virtual dialogues and massive online consultations, both in local, national, regional and/or hemispheric framework. These activities focused on the VII Summit of the Americas main theme "Prosperity with Equity: The challenge of cooperation in the Americas" and its 8 subtopics: education, security, health, migration, citizen participation, democratic governance, environment and energy.

    Supporting Materials: 

    To read the press release on the launch of the IV Forum, click here
    To learn more in detail about the virtual consultations click here
    The list of onsite dialogues is available here
    The infographic of the IV Forum process impact is available here
    The Progress Report presented to the SIRG is available hereThe official photos of every dialogue are available here

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IV Young Americas Forum

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  • Opening Ceremony

    The IV Forum started with welcoming messages from the representatives of the Government of Panama, the Organization of American States, the World Bank, PepsiCo and the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT). By cutting the ribbon, the International Expo of young leaders and entrepreneurs together with YABT social partner organizations was inaugurated. The authorities and guests visited the Expo, learned about projects and interacted with young people.


    H.E. Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, Vice-President of the Republic of Panama
    H.E. Alcibiades Vasquez Velasquez, Ministry of Social Development, Republic of Panama
    H.E. Albert Ramdin, Assistant Secretary General, Organization of American States
    Anabela Abreu, Country Manager, World Bank
    Leonel Ruiz, General Manager, PepsiCo Latin America Beverages – Central
    Valerie Lorena, Executive Director, YABT

    Supporting Materials:

    Watch the video here
    Watch the Vice President and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Panama speech during the IV Forum opening here
    The official photos are available here

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  • TIC Americas Evaluations

    32 teams from 17 countries participated in the finals of the entrepreneurship competition TIC Americas that was held in the framework of the IV Forum.

    The finalists belonged to four categories: Social Innovation, Economic Innovation, Cultural Entrepreneurship of the Americas, and Eco-Challenge. The finalists from the first three categories participated in this first round of evaluations.

    The winners of the X Edition of TIC Americas were MedRegis (Barbados) and PlataformaSaude (Brazil), both representing Social Innovation in health; Agrocentral (Jamaica) and TeachLr (Venezuela) responding to Economic Innovation on food security and education, respectively; and Mayan Pitz (Guatemala) on Cultural Entrepreneurship of the Americas.

    Supporting Materials:

    The official photos of the evaluation are available here.
    The finalists profiles are available here.

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  • Working Groups

    The 356 participants of the IV Forum’s Working Groups were divided into five groups in which they discussed, evaluated and agreed upon recommendations on the various themes of the VII Summit resulting in the Declaration of Youth. Delegates participated in the Working Group that they deemed most interesting when applying for the IV Forum.

    The distribution of the Working Groups was as follows:

    - Education (in Spanish), with 156 young people representing 20 countries
    - Security and Migration (in Spanish), with 83 young people representing 16 countries
    - Environment and Energy (in Spanish), with 56 young people representing 15 countries
    - Citizen Participation and Democratic Governance (in Spanish), with 71 young people representing 12 countries
    - Prosperity with Equity and the other 8 themes (in English), with 17 young people representing 10 countries

    Supporting Materials:

    The official photos of the evaluation are available here.

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  • Speech by the Mayor of Panama City

    The young delegates and partners were part of a lunch with the mayor of Panama City, José Isabel Blandón Figueroa, who gave a presentation on smart cities. The mayor stressed the importance of involving the youth in innovation policies as they are the main users of cell phones and social networks to monitor and improve existing services in Panama City.

    Supporting Materials:

    The official photos of the evaluation are available here.
    The official video is available here

    Read more
  • Panel “Learning from Experience: The Importance of Reinventing Yourself”

    In this panel, young leaders and entrepreneurs used their personal experiences of taking risks and failing to illustrate how they reinvented themselves and turned their ideas into success. Each of the participants elaborates on how commitment and determination are key factors to overcome the drawbacks and disadvantages that the young may encounter throughout their professional and personal path.

    Today more than ever it is easier to transform an idea into reality through entrepreneurship because we are the most educated and best connected generation and we have access to information technology. However, 75% of new businesses fail in their first two years of life. In that sense, Latin American society in general still grapples to embrace the culture of failure and the lessons that can be derived from it.

    Carolina Freire, Founder of Voluntario de Panamá, Panama

    César Barría, Athlete and World Guinness Awardee, Panama
    Álvaro Nuñez, Founder and Leader, Recicla Electrónicos México, Mexico
    Lina Cataño, Founder, Utópica Casas Flotantes, Colombia
    Federico Arellano, Founder,, Mexico

    Supporting Materials:

    The official photos are available here
    The panelists’ profiles are available here

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  • Panel "Tomorrow's Leaders Speak Up: Intergenerational Dialogue between Today’s and Tomorrow’s Leaders"

    The dialogue began with the screening of a video produced by UNDP, in which young people and adults demand answers to their needs collected through MyWorld survey. The objective of this panel was to promote and strengthen the rapprochement between the different spaces, actors and institutional agendas as part of the process to address youth demands within the framework of the VII Summit of the Americas and the upcoming Development Agenda Post-2015.

    Tomorrow’s leaders presented the results of an online survey, spelling out the concerns of young people. They concluded that many of these organizations make public policies for youth but do not include them in the decision-making process. They also highlighted the need to consider the inclusion of the "diversity of youths" when promoting a public policy regarding this theme.

    Martina Buchal, One World Young Ambassador, said "Young people are ready to move forward and make changes, the question is whether they (people, governments, agencies) stand with us."

    In response, today’s leaders stressed that the youth had been defined as priority to achieve development and emphasized the importance of youth participation in the development of the post-2015 agenda.

    Noelle Richard, United Nations Development Programme

    Martina Buchal, Global Ambassador, World Merit/One Young World
    Dali Angel, Leader, Global Indigenous Youth Caucus
    Christopher Walcott, Founder, International Movement for Change
    Jessica Faieta, Director, United Nations Development Program for Latin America and the Caribbean,
    Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary General, Iberoamerican General Secretariat
    Sherry Tross, Executive Secretary for Integral Development, Organization of America States
    Ahmad Alhendawi, Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, United Nations

    Supporting Materials:

    The official video is available here
    The official photos are available here

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  • Panel "The Role of Technology and Innovation Enabling Entrepreneurship"

    The vice-president of Dell Latin America, Raymundo Peixoto, opened the panel with a presentation, sharing with the audience how DELL transformed itself from a start-up to a globally recognized company.

    Young entrepreneurs and senior executives from Dell and the United States Chamber of Commerce highlighted the importance of innovation and technology in creating high-impact companies in the region either with a commercial and/or social focus. Also, young entrepreneurs emphasized how the adversities they faced in carrying out their projects helped them to improve their prototypes and scale their businesses.

    Matt Rooney, US Chamber of Commerce
    Stefany Cohen, Epicentro 150, Panama

    Raymundo Peixoto, Vice Presidente, Latin America, Dell
    María Teresa González García, Founder, Un litro de luz, Mexico
    Ricardo Terán, Founder, Nube Data and Agora Partnerships
    Daniel Gomez, Founder, Solben and GovFaces , Mexico.
    Juan José Pocaterra, Co-Founder, Vikua, Venezuela.

    Supporting Materials:

    The official photos are available here
    The official video is available here
    The panelists’ profiles are available here

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  • Panel "The Meaning of Entrepreneurship for Global Companies and Networks Creation"

    Georgina Núñez started the panel discussion by comparing MSMEs’s productivity levels across OECD and Latin American countries. She stressed the need and importance of Latin American firms to adopt an organizational structure that faciliates synergy between sectors and long-term sustainability.

    The representatives of PepsiCo, cbc and Postobón unveiled their initiatives to promote sustainable development in the communities they work in. Moreover, they highlighted the Eco-Challenge as a clear reference of a public-private partnership between PepsiCo, cbc, Postobón and the Young Americas Business Trust that supports environmental entrepreneurship among the youth of Latin America and the Caribbean.



    Georgina Núñez, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean      


    Gabriela de la Garza, Sustainability Director, Pepsico Latin America Beverages
    Rosa María de Frade, Corporate Affairs, Central American Bottling Corporation –cbc–
    Paula Restrepo, Sustainability Director, Postobón S.A.

    Supporting Materials:

    Official video available here
    Video from the Summit's channe available here
    The official photos are available here

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  • Open Dialogue with Jorge Familiar, World Bank Vice-president for Latin America and the Caribbean: Opportunities and Challenges in the Region

    TIC Americas and IV Forum youth delegates had the opportunity to hold a conversation with Jorge Familiar about how the World Bank is supporting the youth in the Americas in the areas of employment, education and entrepreneurship.

    WB Vice-president Jorge Familiar stressed the importance of promote a hands-on dialogue with the youth, especially because the IV Forum participants are the future social workers, governors and entrepreneurs who shape the path to countries’ development and prosperity. Also, Jorge Familiar highlighted the importance of listening and involving the youth in the development agenda; he pointed out that one of five young people neither works nor studies and that the youth unemployment rate is three times higher than the national average.

    Supporting Materials:

    World Bank's official video available here
    The official photos are available here

    Read more
  • Eco-Challenge Evaluations

    For the finals of the Eco-Challenge held in the framework of the IV Forum, the best 18 teams from 10 Latin American countries were nominated.

    The Eco-Challenge finalists presented solutions for 4 environmental challenges: (1) the sustainable industry of coconut shell; (2) environmental education; (3) collection and massive recycling of post-consumer PET; (4) and access and reuse of water.

    The winners of the Eco-Challenge 6.0 were: L.O.O.P. (Peru), Cocumo (Venezuela), EVA (Brazil), AllGreenUp (Chile), Eco-Vida (Nicaragua) and Water Pacifics (Colombia). All these winners put forward solutions that used approaches to the Summit's subtheme, environment.

    Supporting Materials:

    To see the finalists of this challenge are available here
    The official photos of the Eco-Challenge 6.0 evaluations and Expo are available here
    The official photos of the Eco-Challenge private lunch are available here

    Read more
  • Adoption of the Youth Declaration of Commitment and Action Plan

    As a prelude to the presentation of the Youth Declaration of Panama to the presidents, five young delegates from Panama, Cuba and Chile presented the main contributions on the issues of Democratic Governance and Citizen Participation, Education, Migration and Energy and Environment, to the Elected Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), H.E. Luis Almagro. Mrs. Valerie Lorena, Executive Director of YABT, moderated this presentation.

    In his speech, H.E. Luis Almagro, said: "It is an honor to participate in the presentation of the working committees that you have made. You are truly the human capital of the Americas, are the major social, cultural and economic assets in the Americas. You represent the potential of the Latin American and Caribbean society, hemispheric society ultimately; much more rewarding, much more intelligent.''

    Supporting materials:

    The official press release is available here


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  • Leadership Links + Social Good – Further actions, Opportunities and Platforms for elevating the results of the IV Young Americas Forum

    This panel sought to discuss and present strategies to increase and disseminate the results and the Youth Declaration beyond the VII Summit of the Americas. As part of the IV Forum’s follow-up, Ignacio de León announced a cooperation agreement between the Inter-American Development Bank and the Young Americas Business Trust to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and employment in the Caribbean, generating more and better opportunities for global market access.

    Mr. Ardito Baletta, Former President of the Republic of Panama and former Vice President of the World Bank, shared his vision on the role of the youth in the post-2015 development agenda. Finally, young leaders and panelists had the opportunity to interact as the World Bank presented its youth employment program entitled Solutions for Youth Employment # S4YE.

    Supporting Materials:

    The official press release is available here
    The video of the panel is available here

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  • Official presentation of the Youth Declaration of Commitment

    Lorena Julio and Valerie Lorena, on behalf of the IV Forum’s youth, handed over the Panama 2015 Youth Declaration of Commitment to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, and the President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis, within the framework of the VII Summit of the Americas.

    This Declaration is the product of almost a year of work. It involved more than 5,000 young people from the OAS’ 35 Member States, including Cuba through 39 local, national and regional dialogues and three virtual consultations.

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  • TIC Americas and Eco-Challenge Awards

    The finalists’ projects were developed in response to the subthemes of the Seventh Summit of the Americas and divided into four categories: Economic Innovation, Social Innovation, Cultural Entrepreneurship of the Americas and Eco-Challenge.

    Here is the list of the 12 winning teams:

    Economic Innovation



    Social Innovation

    Plataforma Saude


    Cultural Entrepreneurship of the Americas

    Mayan Pitz


    Eva – Servico Do Agua


    Life Out of Plastic L.O.O.P.

    All GreenUP

    Eco-Challenge Central America


    Eco-Challenge Colombia

    Water Pacific

    People’s Choice Award


    Supporting Materials:

    The official photos are available here
    The official winners announcement is available here

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Impact and results

  • Civil Society and Social Actors Forum: Presentation of the IV Forum's Results

    Lorena Julio (Argentina) and José Clautier (El Salvador) presented the Youth Declaration on behalf of the young delegates of the IV Forum during the Civil Society Forum. The Heads of State of Colombia, United States and Panama were present.

    Supporting Materials:

    The Youth Declaration is available here
    The official press release is available here
    The official photos are available here

    Read more
  • Outcome: Next Steps

     At the end of the IV Forum, the Americas youth adopted the "Youth Declaration of Panama 2015”, which addresses every mandate of the Summit of the Americas. Young leaders presented this document to the representatives of the Civil Society and Social Actors Forum, where the presidents of the United States, Panama, and Colombia participated.

    YABT will continue to support young people in the Americas in implementing the action plan and incorporate the Youth Declaration of Panama in regional and global processes and platform, such as the +SocialGood of the United Nations Foundation, the annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund "Towards Lima", the UN Youth Summit, and other fora.

    Supporting Materials:

    To read the Youth Declaration of Panama click here

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