The State Secretary for Ibero-America, the Caribbean and Spanish in the World, Juan Fernández-Trigo, yesterday inaugurated the 17th edition of the Young Ibero-American Leaders programme, organised by the Carolina Foundation, with the collaboration of Banco Santander, through Santander Universities.
In this edition, 25 young Ibero-Americans, selected for their outstanding academic records, are taking part. For two weeks, they will have the opportunity to meet with senior public administration officials and executives from the country’s main private entities, in an agenda which, in addition to Madrid, will include visits to Brussels and Bilbao.
In this edition, the programme aims to address, debate and reflect on the three transitions that are emerging in response to the consequences of the pandemic and its effects on all areas of society: digital, ecological and socio-economic. Both the European Union and Latin American countries have articulated a series of commitments to address these transformations, many of which were already included in global agreements such as the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to the Carolina Foundation.
The Young Ibero-American Leaders programme has been held annually since 2002 and in its sixteen previous editions more than 650 young people have participated.
At the opening ceremony, held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fernández-Trigo was accompanied by José Antonio Sanahuja, Director of the Carolina Foundation; Hugo Camacho, Secretary General and Managing Director of the Carolina Foundation; Antonio Suárez-Pumariega, Vice President of Santander Universities; and Victoria Zuasti, Director of Global Scholarship Programmes and Corporate Agreements at Banco Santander.
José Antonio Sanahuja welcomed the participants and stressed the importance of holding a new edition of the programme at a time of crossroads, when it is necessary for the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean to work together, promoting a shared space for policy dialogue, regulatory convergence and productive transformation for the reconstruction of the social contract, which requires a “triple transition”, socio-economic, digital and ecological, involving both regions.
For his part, Antonio Suárez-Pumariega highlighted the great potential of the participants and the high-level agenda that for two weeks will allow them to learn first-hand about the challenges facing Spanish and European institutions and large corporations. She added that the programme is in line with Santander’s mission and its support for education and entrepreneurship.
The State Secretary of State reviewed the different phases that relations between Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union have gone through, and encouraged the young participants to ensure that decisions about the future they want to enjoy are underpinned by democratic relations where inclusion, solidarity, equality of men and women, fair redistribution of wealth and the rule of law are their hallmarks.
Yesterday, the young participants in the programme also held a meeting with the general director and vice-president of Fundación Repsol, Antonio Calçada, and will visit Telefónica’s headquarters, where they met with the manager of Public Affairs, Renata Dutra, and the director of Wayra Spain, Andrés Saborido.