Economic Development

Opportunity Rocks

June 5, 2019  • Institute Staff

At 18, Wanner Johan Gaviria addressed the violence in his hometown of Cali, Colombia, by creating a neighborhood peace and reconciliation group. He is one of 24 global leaders between 18 and 30 who participated last December in the Institute’s inaugural Global Opportunity Youth summit in Philadelphia, co-hosted with YouthBuild International and Global Development Incubator. The event was part of the new Global Opportunity Youth Initiative, seeded with a grant from Prudential Financial and launched by the Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions. The initiative follows the model of the Opportunity Youth Forums across the United States: use youth voices, vision, energy, and knowledge to respond to the crisis of 350 million young people around the world who are underemployed or unemployed, and not in school. Many developing countries, even those enjoying strong economic growth, cannot come close to creating the amount of jobs needed to meet the numbers of young people moving from school to work. “One key strategy is to listen to and learn from others,” Gaviria says. “A leader is not one who knows but one who learns each day.” The initiative will continue to identify strategies that can increase jobs and improve livelihoods for youth in partnership with select communities around the world.