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IDB holds seminar on youth entrepreneurship and volunteerism during annual meeting
01 April 2004

Lima: Public and private officials and other experts addressed several hundred youth delegates today in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank to discuss ways to promote entrepreneurship and volunteerism among young people, whose contributions were described as vital for the development of Latin America and the Caribbean.

"Volunteer activity is now a powerful world force," said IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias. "It is estimated to be the eighth largest economy in the world in terms of gross domestic product."

"Although volunteers in the region are a potent force, there is little awareness of their importance in Latin America, where they lack the support of public policies and opinion," Iglesias added. "The combination of aggressive public social policies of the highest quality, supported by volunteers who are becoming ever more articulate and numerous, offers great promise for the future of the region."

Peru’s first lady, Eliane Karp de Toledo, addressed the inauguration of the conference, titled "Latin American and Caribbean Social Capital in Action: Young Entrepreneurs and Volunteerism."

Karp said youth issues had become part of public policy in Peru with the creation of the National Youth Commission in 2002. She stressed the importance of diversity and inclusion for formation of cultural capital, in which different peoples contribute their viewpoints and social and political organization. She added that youth are strategic players in a new vision of social development: equity and cultural identity.

The youth event, being held 25 until 26 March, was organized by the Peruvian government; nongovernment organizations; the IDB Inter-American Initiative on Social Capital, Ethics and Development, and the IDB Youth Development and Outreach Program (IDB YOUTH). MasterCard International is a co-sponsor.

During the conference international experts and youth leaders are describing best practices and successful experiences in promoting youth enterprise, volunteer work and social entrepreneurship.

Among the scheduled speakers were Argentine Education Minister Daniel Filmus; president of the Alberto Hurtado University of Chiloe, Father Fernando Montes; the advisor to the president of Brazil and co-founder of Brazil’s Zero Hunger program, Frei Betto; Bernardo Kliksberg, general coordinator of the IDB Ethics Initiative; director of the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University,

Lester Salamon; manager of the Multilateral Investment Fund, Donald Terry; director of the Center for Social Development of the University of Washington in Missouri, Michael Sherraden; and the president of the Volunteer Institute of Brazil, Milu Villela.

Also, Servulo Anzola Rojas, of the Technological Institute of Monterrey, Mexico; Ad de Raad, director of United Nations Volunteers; Andrés Thompson of the Kellogg Foundation; Felipe Portocarrero of the Universidad del Pacífico of Peru; Bruce Harris, director of Casa Alianza; Roman Viulla Escusa, president of Iboeramérica Emprende; Roy Thomasson of the Organization of American States; Karal Hartinger de Prazak, president of the Centro Nacional de Voluntarios of Peru; and the president of the Comisión Nacional de Juventud del Perú, Carmen Vegas.

Among several projects to strengthen volunteerism, the IDB Ethics Initiative -- with the support of the Andean Development Corporation and in conjunction with numerous universities -- is implementing a curriculum to promote volunteerism in universities. After two days of discussions, the youth seminar will be followed by a day of volunteer activities by participants in Villa El Salvador, a municipality which has been recognized as model for fighting poverty. The municipality won the Prince of Asturias Prize of the King of Spain, among other distinctions. At the close of the seminar and other activities, youth entrepreneurs will receive prizes, and a delegate from the youths that participated in the seminar will address the Board of Governors of the IDB.

En español

From: Inter-American Development Bank