Ambassador Jean Manes remarks at the Youth Center for Software Development Inauguration
It fills me with great joy to be here this morning and to hear stories like José Mauricio’s.
Sometimes we, as government officials, look at numbers to see the impact of our programs. But we must remember that when we say that this project will benefit 945 young people, we are referring to people like José Mauricio, a young man who not only took the opportunity he received in the Oportunidades program, but a man who has decided to replicate it. And also kids like you who are here in the front row with your blue shirts on. Because the true measure of the success of an initiative is whether it makes a difference in your life and the lives of your families and communities.
A couple of months ago I participated in a student entrepreneurship contest in which young students presented their business projects. The winner was a student team from Don Bosco University who created an artificial intelligence project that seemed to have the potential to transform the way we use information in our daily lives. Moreover, in this competition 4 out of 5 of the finalists were technology projects; and that demonstrates that young Salvadorans have something important to offer in the world of technology.
I want to congratulate the young people who benefit from this program. We, as governments, can only offer you opportunities. It is up to you what you decide to do with that opportunity. Learn and explore everything that technology can give you. Maybe you are going to become a programmer — I don’t know, maybe videogames are out of fashion already — but maybe a you’ll create new smartphone program to facilitate the learning of languages. Who knows! And that is the message of today: who knows. There are no limits for you. We do not know what you are going to do. The truth is that technology is like that. You will explore and discover new things that none of us at this table could imagine, especially us.
As some of you already know, I have two daughters, a 22 and 20 year old, and they teach me about new technology, as it should be. But, I also believe that there is an important message here. They are starting their first job, both are studying at different universities and are starting with their first job. As we were talking about the type of job they were looking for, and what skills they needed to be competitive in this environment today, we never assumed that their first job is going to be their last job. We had the mindset that their first job is simply the gateway. Surely they will have a second job, a third job, each time climbing higher. It is the time to learn different things, to continue with their studies. This is something that you can decide to do as well. And in this sense we have 100% confidence in you that you can do it. Your country needs you, your country needs a commitment from each one of you, and you can change not only your own lives but also that of your families, your communities and your country as well.
* This is a courtesy translation. Only the original Spanish language text should be considered authoritative.