With the presence of the UDLAP president, Dr. Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista, academic and administrative authorities, and representatives from the United States Embassy, the eighth edition of the Young Indigenous Leadership Program was concluded. “With this generation, there have been 243 Mexican students who have been in the program, giving them access to greater opportunities to continue strengthening their abilities” mentioned Ms. Young Lee, the Deputy Cultural Affairs Officer of the American Embassy.
During the closing ceremony, Ms. Young Lee reminded this new generation that many other participants of this program have become prominent professionals who continue to work in improving their environment. And she added: “Dear scholars, you were selected to participate in this program because of your academic merits, as well as the commitment you have to your communities. You take with you new tools to continue standing out as students and in the future as professionals; you are a true example to follow.”
This program has been possible thanks to the collaboration of the United States Embassy in Mexico and UDLAP, the support of Dr. Derbez, the faculty, administrative group and the young UDLAP students who accompany the participants during their activities. The UDLAP Business Council has also aided with effort and contributions that for the past eight years have made this program ever richer in content and reach.
The participant Eliber Gómez Abadía congratulated each of his classmates for the important work they have carried out in their projects, “…from the revitalization of Nahuatl, the important work that is curtailing migration and maintaining our cultures alive, safekeeping our biological diversity, they are without a doubt projects focused on wellbeing, or jlekilaltik as we tojol-abales say.”
“It was almost a month of learning new realities, getting to know different ways of living, and seeing the world. Without a doubt, we have all contributed the worldview and ancient of wisdom of our communities. The tools that the Young Indigenous Leadership Program has given us, initiates a new generation of leaders who will inspire, listen, understand, seek alternatives, and support their people. This is a generation that searches for, and I’m sure will find and make, the positive change that we need” stated Eliber Gómez.
On the other hand, the participant from Guatemala, Claudia Carolina Iguit Chivalán, also dedicated words of encouragement and reflection about the work carried out in the program. “Today we do not celebrate our goodbye, we celebrate our union that has been forged in these four weeks of uncountable experiences and learning, and that our friendship may become an unbreakable link to continue working as a team and provide solutions to the different problems we face, because I know that working as a team we will achieve bigger and better results, no matter how far we may be” she stated.
Finally, Dr. Laura Elena López, academic coordinator of the program, closed the activities by presenting the eighth generation of young indigenous leaders. “Like every year, we have worked hard with 20 people from different states and one participant from Guatemala, who learned to propose viable solutions to problems they have themselves experienced in their communities.”