Facilitation of Cultural Exchanges & Matchmaking
12 Jul 2023

EU-Latin America and the Caribbean Forum “Partners in Change”: Meet the Young Opinion Leaders

In an increasingly connected world, youth, civil society, and local organizations have been playing a key role in the relations between the European Union (EU) and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

Within this framework, the EU is organizing an EU-LAC Forum, which will bring together youth, civil society, and local authorities. The forum is scheduled to take place at Maison de la Poste (Tour & Taxis) in Brussels, Belgium, on July 13th and 14th, 2023, and will have a strong focus on youth – including a “Youth Day” on July 13th. The event will be hybrid (online and in-person) with key sessions in the afternoon so that people in Latin America and the Caribbean can participate.

Registration link here

The EU-LAC Forum is organized in the context of the EU-LAC Days – the side events that anticipate the EU-CELAC Summit on July 17th and 18th, 2023, a historic occasion to bring together European, Latin American, and Caribbean leaders to renew and strengthen relations between the two regions after almost a decade of absence of bi-regional dialogue at the highest political level. The summit will be held under the theme “Renewing the bi-regional partnership to strengthen peace and sustainable development”. The program includes plenary sessions and panels focusing on topics such as inequalities, education, health, culture, gender, youth, human rights, democracy, sustainable economy, and digital transition.

In this regard, and in partnership with the European External Action Service (EEAS) the Cultural Relations Platform is inviting five Young Opinion Leaders from Latin America to attend the “EU-Latin America and the Caribbean Forum: Partners in Change” as part of the #OurVoicesOurFuture campaign, which highlights the inspiring engagement of young people in addressing issues of great concern in today’s world. By establishing such a connection, the Cultural Relations Platform aims to promote cultural exchange, celebrate the partnership between the EU and Latin American countries, and foster dialogue and understanding between the two regions.

From climate leaders to human rights advocates, social justice and inclusion activists, meet the 5 invited Young Opinion Leaders and find out about their work, projects, and inspirations:

Francisco Vera Manzanares (Colombia)

Climate activist since the age of six, he has founded and developed a network of students that implement environmental education in their schools. The network started in Colombia and has now members in countries of the LAC region and Europe. He has published the book “Que es el cambio climático” and has a fix slot in a popular TV show in Spain to speak about environmental education.  

More information is available on Francisco’s Official WebsiteFacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Gladys Urquía Ardón (El Salvador)

Activist for social justice and inclusion, Gladys comes from a humble family. She is the founder of the NGO “Esperanza SV”, a project that aims to help patients with chronic diseases. Gladys is also a UN Youth Spokesperson.

 More information is available on Gladys’ Instagram and Twitter.

Tomas Fenati  (Argentina)

An economics student and digital content producer, Tomas makes engaging explainer videos about geo-political and economic pressing questions. He has 1,5 million in Tik Tok and is the anchor of a Spotify podcast of the EU Delegation in Argentina called “Conexión UE”.

More information is available on Tomas’ InstagramTwitter and Tik Tok.

Julieta Martinez (Chile)

Julieta Martínez is a young Chilean entrepreneur and social activist, focused on environmental advocacy. She is the founder of the social platform Tremendas and, among other awards, in 2019, was named ambassador of the Youth Task Force Beijing+25 by UN Women.

 More information is available on Julieta’s InstagramTwitter and Tremenda’s Twitter.

Ricardo Pineda (Honduras)

Ricardo Pineda is a climate action and decarbonization leader from Honduras. He is a Fulbright fellow, an EDD Young Development Leader for the European Commission and a former UNICEF Foresight fellow for Latin America. 

Ricardo is a sustainable development engineer from Tecnológico de Monterrey, and a former climate negotiator for Honduras towards the United Nations. Now, he is the cofounder and director of Sustenta Honduras, one of the largest youth-led organizations in the region working on adaptation and capacity building towards climate change.

More information is available on Ricardo’s Official Website and Instagram.