Community Development

Dream it, Build it

June 18, 2018  • Institute Staff

“We are raising our voices to define and build the Central America we dream of.” That was the mission of the Central America Leadership Initiative’s “Voces de Cambio” meeting held earlier this year in San Salvador, El Salvador. Over 200 fellows from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama came together to reflect on leadership, creativity, and their commitment to making a positive regional impact. The event included seminars, case studies in social change, and other activities designed to motivate fellows from CALI, a part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

One of the most powerful sessions was “The Human Library,” which included one-on-one conversations between fellows and people from a host of different communities: ex-gang members, guerrillas, deported migrant workers, indigenous leaders, and more. The exchanges challenged stereotypes so that fellows could see through prejudices and build empathy. “This event gives fellows the nudge they need to recommit to action,” CALI Executive Director Claudia Salmeron says. The next CALI gathering is scheduled for 2020.