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Feature 081814 Indigenous

Monday, August 18, 2014


U.S. Envoy helps to launch Indigenous Youth Forums in Mexico


U.S. Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne




Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman.  It’s wonderful to join you here today to announce this exciting program the U.S. Embassy is pleased to support, in partnership with Altepetl AC.  Thank you to Oscar Rey and Yurida Mendoza, for your commitment to young people and to indigenous communities, and for being such great partners.  Thank you to the other civil society organizations present here for their partnership and support of this program.


Today is International Youth Day, a day each year when we pause to celebrate the power and the potential of youth.  The Department of State is committed to ensuring that we are engaging not only with the leaders of today, but also with the leaders of tomorrow. Today’s generation of young people is the largest and most interconnected the world has ever seen, defined by energy, talent, and optimism. It is an honor to launch this program with you today as a very special way of celebrating youth in Mexico. 


As you all know, over the weekend we also celebrated for the 20th time the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Next month, the United Nations will hold the first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, in New York.  The conference will be an opportunity to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples, including pursuing the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the Obama administration endorsed in 2010.  The United States echoes UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s call to “Together, let us recognize and celebrate the valuable and distinctive identities of indigenous peoples around the world. Let us work even harder to empower them and support their aspirations.”


Part of the work of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico focuses on creating and strengthening links between the U.S. and Mexican peoples in all spheres of society.  We know that Mexico is a pluri-cultural country; a country of incredibly rich and diverse cultures.  As such, our public diplomacy work would not be complete without efforts to create and strengthen links between both countries’ indigenous peoples and the organizations that support their social development.  This is what this program is about.  And it is why we have a variety of other programs aimed at supporting Mexico’s indigenous populations.


For many years, we have provided educational exchange opportunities for indigenous students through the Department of State’s “Study of the U.S. Institutes,” a program to promote better understanding of the people, institutions, and culture of the United States among foreign students, teachers, and scholars through short-term academic programs in the U.S.  This program sends ten indigenous students each year for a month of study at the University of Arizona.  When we saw the numbers of applications for these ten spots, we realized that we had to do more.  So, in 2011, we partnered with the University of the Americas in Puebla to develop an annual seminar for Mexican indigenous students focused on leadership and mutual understanding.  This year, we were pleased to bring Native American students from the United States to participate in the program, which has reached more than 200 Mexican youth. 


Through our USAID program ‘Scholarships for Education and Economic Development,’ or ‘SEED,’ we have over the past five years supported comprehensive academic and professional development for indigenous Mexican educators. It is a constant delight to speak to these teachers and to see the great things that they are achieving upon their return to their communities.  And, through our English Access scholarship program, we have started the development of materials to teach English in Tzeltal in Chiapas. These are just a few ways in which we are working with partners like you to support the aspirations of all of Mexico’s population.


In sum, the U.S. Embassy is pleased to be a part of this effort, to learn more about Mexico’s beautiful original cultures, about its youth who are the future, and to create a space for indigenous leaders from both sides of the border to meet.  With that, I’ll ask Yurida to say a few words, and then Oscar will provide more details about the program.


Thank you.



Press release, U.S. Ambassador Wayne’s remarks at the launching of the Foros Regionales de la Juventud Indígena de México, Aug. 12, 2014, Embassy of the United States, Mexico City

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