About the Authors: Suzanne Hall, Public Diplomacy Advisor for Canada and Mexico in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and Tina Huang, U.S. Department of State Intern, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Office of Public Diplomacy.
View Secretary Clinton's video address to AYM summit participants.
For Oscar Morales, Founder of Un Millon Voces Contra Las FARC in Colombia, a peaceful challenge against crime and violence is only a sms away. One text, one click, one million mobilized in a collective voice for positive change. From cellphones to virtual communities, young leaders are creating onramps for millions of citizens to engage against narco-violence in their backyards, cities and nations. And this is only the beginning. From October 14th to 16th, over 100 young leaders, entrepreneurs, policy makers and academics from over 20 countries spanning from Lebanon to Brazil to Sri Lanka gather in Mexico City for the 2009 Alliance for Youth Movements (AYM) Summit to explore ways to advance grassroots movements seeking positive social change through 21st century technology and tools.
This morning, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual, U.S. Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero and Mexican Secretary of Government Fernando Francisco Gómez Mont Urueta ushered the opening day of the AYM 2009 Summit addressing young leaders working to end violence throughout Latin America and around the world. Katie Dowd, State Department New Media Advisor, commented, “I hope these young leaders can empower this generation and generations to come to continue testing the boundaries of technology to effect social change.” Following the opening remarks, Alejandro Marti of SOS Mexico and Elias Kuri of Iluminemos Mexico took the podium and shared their success stories as pioneers of citizen participation and mobilization for peace and security in Mexico. Lee Brenner of Fast Forward Group added, “Bringing together some of the leaders and innovators in social media and social change is inspiring, and it helps develop the creative juices that can make real change!”
Today’s events featured a plethora of panel discussions on new media technologies to amplify the cause, the role of 21st Century women leaders, social media and good governance, and social media as a tool to promote human rights. Panelists included young leaders and entrepreneurs who have become the global agents in the technological pathways toward peace-building and social change. For Rodrigo Nogueira of Viva Favela, an AYM delegate from Brazil reaching out to kids living in the favelas (slums), “Last night and today, I have met people from around the world who all share the same passion. I thought I was alone. AYM offers the chance to empower people to produce changes in real life, not virtually.”
AYM 2009 is sponsored by Causecast.org, Facebook, Gen Next, Google, Hi5, Howcast Media, MTV, MySpace, PepsiCo, Univision Interactive Media, Inc., the U.S. Department of State, WordPress.com and YouTube.
You can watch the live streaming video as key speakers at the AYM Summit address some of the pressing issues of today and answer your questions. Follow participants and speakers throughout the day on Twitter with #aym09. Log on and join in. More updates to come.