Ambassador Jean Manes
Monday, July 7, 2018, 8:00 A.M., CIFCO
Remarks by Ambassador Jean Manes at the “Supérate Alumni” Event
July 7, 2018
* This is a courtesy translation. Only the original Spanish version should be considered authoritative.
It is a real joy to be here with all of you. There is no better way to start the weekend, than in the company of talented, committed and passionate young people like you.
This morning a part of the community of more than 2300 ex-alumni is meeting. But beyond being an Alumni, you are a force that is changing El Salvador.
Like, for example, Iliana Renderos. Iliana has been president of the El Sauce Integral Youth Development Association since 2015, and has managed to obtain a donation to build the Community Center for the Construction of Peace and Solidarity, a space with the appropriate and necessary conditions to carry out activities in favor of childhood and youth.
Or, for example, Saraí Durán, who is part of a non-profit organization called Red Visión Juvenil. The organization was born in 2009 with a presence in 13 national institutes in the country, and to date it has benefited more than 5,000 young people, working to eradicate youth violence from the perspective of a culture of peace with values.
These are just some examples of what the Supérate Alumni are doing in El Salvador.
Imagine how many communities could change if all of the 2,300 took action. If each one of you manages to inspire one more person, we would have 4,600 Salvadorans willing to work for the country. This is where the value of a leader lies, in inspiring others to take action as well. You have the potential to be catalysts for the change that El Salvador needs, but to achieve it you have to act. Like a Facebook post, or retweet a tweet, that’s not taking action. The internet and social networks are great tools and without a doubt they allow us to meet challenges that we face as a global community; But a tool is not an action, and solutions require effort and work.
I have two daughters, Connie and Candela. Candela is studying environmental policy, and one day she was complaining to me about how her university cafeteria wasted food. Every day, the university threw away food that was not sold during the day. Food that was in perfect condition. And then I asked him: and then Candela, what are you going to do about it? Because complaining is easy, everyone can do it, with their friends and family, on Facebook and Twitter. But the real question is: what are you going to do?
Candela is now on the student council, because it is the only way for her to negotiate with the university. She had to run and be elected as a representative, and is now discussing with the university the option of distributing leftover food to shelters and homeless shelters.
Complaining is easy, but the solutions lie in actions.
You now have the tools, knowledge and skills you need to find solutions to the challenges that El Salvador faces, and on behalf of our Embassy I assure you that you can count on our support. But you are the leaders. You are the protagonists of this story and the path that we are going to follow together depends on you.
This great celebration is only a beginning, the real work begins now. It doesn’t matter if you start small. What matters is that you start. What matters is getting up every day and going out to do something. So ask yourself, what can I do today to fix this problem?
And then go out and do it.