Seeds of leadership: strengthening youth leadership with a transnational perspective

Alianza Americas’ membership in Illinois participated in virtual delegations to El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico


November, 2021 — In the last few weeks, Alianza Americas hosted a virtual delegation “Semillero de Líderes” (“seeds of leadership”), focused on bolstering youth leadership in our member organizations based in  Illinois, United States. The delegation consisted of  three virtual sessions aimed at strengthening youth leadership through a transnational perspective, providing a space for youth leaders from community organizations in Illinois to learn about and reflect on political and social challenges in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. 


Young leaders from our member organizations, Chicago Religious Network, Colectivo de Mujeres Transnacionales, Centro Romero, Centro San Bonifacio y Proyecto de Educación Comunitaria Telpochcalli, participated in the virtual delegations. Participants had the opportunity to engage with  expert voices in the region: Karen Fernández, a Salvadoran journalist, and Carlos Yee, operational director of the Scalabrini Training Center for Migrants in Tijuana.


Participants reflected on how this opportunity to learn more about  the political and social situation in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico was a useful and enriching experience. “Virtual delegations offer a deeper understanding of social and economic policy in Central America and Mexico, and how they relate to the work done by organizations in the U.S.,” said Daisy Hernández, of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network. For Alejandra Menéndez, from Centro San Bonifacio, virtual delegations are an opportunity to “learn and share opinions and generate positive changes in Latino communities.”


At the end of the virtual discussions, the participants discussed concrete action initiatives related to the work of each organization. “We must educate ourselves as organizations to implement actions on gender and human rights issues,” said Hilda Portales, from the Transnational Women’s Collective. “We can organize workshops, train people to give the workshops to their own communities. Education enriches our perspective,” said Alejandra Menéndez of the San Bonifacio Center. 


Youth leaders emphasized the  challenge of connecting and making visible the root causes of the migration of young Central Americans and Mexicans. “How can we offer them more opportunities so that they have other options besides coming to the United States?” reflected Susana Salgado from Centro Romero.


Alianza Americas will continue to develop additional efforts to continue linking its membership with expert voices across the Americas, as part of its advocacy and training programs for migrant leaders.

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