Embassy, Civil Society Host Indigenous Forum

On December 4-5, the U.S. Embassy and civil society organization Investigación, Organización y Acción Comunitaria Altepetl convened 30 young leaders representing 15 Mexican states and 28 pueblos originarios in an Encuentro Nacional de la Juventud Indígena. At theEncuentro, the young leaders discussed their concerns and aspirations and developed proposals and recommendations to benefit young indigenous people across Mexico.  They also shared experiences with Cherokee, Navajo and Tewa counterparts, who presented about cultural, education and health issues affecting their communities in the United States.

The Embassy plans to incorporate the ideas shared by the young indigenous leaders into future educational and cultural programs, and to encourage more indigenous students to apply for educational and professional exchange programs, such as Fulbright scholarships.

In her remarks, DCM Laura Dogu said “As we work to build bright futures in both our countries, we must understand each other, and that’s what our Embassy’s public diplomacy, or people’s diplomacy, is all about.  It’s about making connections, especially between our young people, who are our future leaders…our public diplomacy would not be complete without a broad understanding of the views and aspirations of Mexico’s indigenous youth.”

The Encuentro was the culmination of three regional forums held in Oaxaca, Palenque and Mexico City.  On December 5, the participants presented their proposals and recommendations to representatives from government institutions, non-governmental organizations, academia and international foundations whose programs focus on indigenous youth.  In turn, these representatives shared information about the resources they offer.

Mexican states represented included Chiapas, Chihuahua, Distrito Federal, Estado de México, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Michoacán, Morelos, Puebla, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Veracruz and  Yucatán.  Ethnic groups represented included Chatino, Chinanteco, Hñähñu (Otomí), Huave, Maya, Maya Yucateca, Mixe, Mixteco, Náhuatl, P’urhépecha, Rarámuri-Tepehua, Tsental, Tsotsil, Zapoteco and Zoque, among others.

For more information, including the profiles of some of the participants, visit our Facebook page and Foro Jovenes Indigenas Facebook page.

For questions about this initiative or the Embassy’s outreach to indigenous youth, please contact 5080-2000 and ask to be transferred to the Press Office.