December 18, 2013

Clinton Global Initiative is Committed to Action: So Are We

By Dina Buchbinder

Last week, the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro hosted a world-class event: the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Latin America, and I was pleased to be part of it.  The Rio meeting was the first of hopefully many CGI conferences designed to debate and discuss solutions to the region’s challenges. Sessions explored topics ranging from the revitalization of Latin American cities to the power of women entrepreneurs, from workforce development strategies to improving education through technological innovation.

One of the most pressing topics on the agenda was high youth unemployment in the region and its impact on persistent cycles of violence and poverty. I am proud to serve on the board of directors of the International Youth Foundation (IYF), which is equipping youth with the skills needed to access employment opportunities and build their own businesses. IYF also recognizes that many of the solutions to today’s problems come from young people themselves, and is actively supporting hundreds of young social entrepreneurs around the globe through its YouthActionNet® program.

I, too, believe that we need to be preparing our youngest citizens to assume active roles in their communities. This year, Deportes para Compartir (Sports for Sharing), an organization I founded in 2006 in Mexico, was invited to share our model and solution with the rest of the CGI community. Deportes para Compartir is a civic educational model that forms better citizens from childhood. We empower teachers with the tools needed to use games and sporting activities to help children think, develop solutions, and act so they can become global change-makers in their own communities.

Over the last seven years, Deportes para Compartir has consolidated its model and is now ready to adapt it to meet needs in other countries. Building on synergies that emerged at the regional CGI conference, we are now looking to export our social enterprise model to Rio as well as the city of Medellin in Colombia. Since both cities face different realities than we do in Mexico, the challenge will be to share the tools we have created to build local capacities and leverage local assets in search of solutions.  The possibility of sharing this model in other contexts is exciting as growing partnerships around the region are bringing our visions for the region closer to reality.

Rio has recently been on the minds of people across the globe with its much anticipated hosting of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. This world focus offers us the unique opportunity to take events that are influencing the city’s collective psyche and leverage them to serve as catalysts for development. I can’t imagine a better way to constructively channel the excitement leading up to these events into social good than by teaching children to be active citizens through sports and play. 

Dina Buchbinder is Founder and Director of Deportes para Compartir and a member of the International Youth Foundation Board of Directors. In 2009, she was selected as a YouthActionNet Global Fellow.

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