II PANAMERICAN YOUTH FORUM

Coming up the first days of May (6th,7th and 8th), the II Panamerican Youth Forum, is an event to take interest in. The first edition took place in the City of Buenos Aires and this second time it will be in the City of Panama. Organized by Frente Joven, a social institution you may have heard of, the objective of this event is to gather many young men and women, from different countries across America, to hear and discuss about the modern social reality. These young men and women gather because they share a concern for their society. They want to understand the changing world they are living in, they need to know what kind of word they are facing, why its principles changed and evolved, what they should do about it…they need to know where they stand.

More than ever, young people see themselves surrounded by broken families, by broken couples, by broken children, by the reality of persons killed in their mother’s womb, by an evolved definition of marriage where same-sex couples enter… The youth wants to figure out why the laws that claimed to be protective and helpful towards couples and families ended up doing so much harm.
The concerns do not end there. In Latin America, poverty is a major concern. People born in it, as we well know, many times do not have the same opportunities to progress. All these preoccupations and many more are dealt with at the Forum, giving the young men and women who attend it an opportunity to comprehend the social problems their countries experience. Many of them have also many bright ideas in addressing these situations.

Most importantly, this event gives the youth an opportunity to raise their voices to the ones that lead the politics at an international level. An opportunity to tell them that many of us, young people, still trust the unity of family and marriage, still believe in the importance of it and in the need of state politics to strengthen it. We believe that the child should be protected from the very first moment, that our countries should make a bigger compromise to face poverty and to create opportunities. These beliefs are not simple wishes or conceits. They are results of a comprehension of the social reality, of a deep desire for the vulnerable to be protected effectively.

Last year, at the end of the event, we made a Declaration containing all of these concerns. It was taken to the Organization of American States (OAS), to be read there as a manifestation of many young men and women’s preoccupations. The very same OAS said in one of its summits: “Considering that young people are integral to development in our societies, we commit to continue investing in our young people by implementing policies and programmes aimed at (…) opening avenues for leadership” (Declaration of Port of Spain, 2009). Hopefully , bearing this in mind, leaders can listen to these young people, who will gather to express their concern about modern social predicaments.