Eating is an agricultural act. The link between food and culture has been always present. How we pick and mix ingredients, their origin and seasonality define human behavior, helping sculpt culture. In recent years, advanced urbanization and globalization are pushing people away from the origin of their food and creating a gap between it and culture.
Read Our Stories
Edited and Published by: Pamela Picon, Intern, Partners of the Americas
Foreword by: Abraham Cisne, Senior Program Officer, Youth Engagement
Partners is proud to highlight that last year´s Youth Ambassadors (YA) program funded by the U.S. State Department was an enormous success, including challenging innovations and involving Partners chapters that haven´t hosted in a long time. The 2014 YA program involved 45 very competitively selected participants from both Venezuela and Colombia who, after a week in Washington, DC, were hosted in three states: Arkansas, Tennessee and Florida. Youth participants ages 15-17 were selected through a process that considered merit, limited income and no previous travel abroad. The program focused on leadership, service/volunteerism, mutual understanding, and long-term engagement. Its sub themes included the environment and public safety.
Partners’ Youth Ambassadors Program, a U.S. State Department sponsored cultural exchange program, brings together youths of limited means and/or with limited international experience, ages 15-18, to build understanding among countries, increase leadership skills, and prepare them to be positive agents of change through volunteer service. In 2012, eleven Guyanese youth and two adult Guyanese mentors participated in the program. While in the U.S., they were engaged with local government and civic organizations, built relationships with host families and youths, and participated in skills-based training that enabled and empowered them to mobilize their communities towards positive change. The youth were empowered to build mutual understanding among countries, enhance leadership skills, be conscious minded, expose themselves to cultures in and out of the country, work and relate with each other, be positive agents of change through volunteer service and replicate what they have learned.
I’ve been a member of the Partners of the Americas’ family since my participation on the Youth Ambassadors program in spring 2010-- five years ago. By that time I had just turned fifteen, and I was a junior in High School in Caracas, Venezuela. Now it’s been almost two years since I’ve been living and studying at university in Montpellier, in the south of France.
Give a young person the chance to travel, and they’ll likely never be the same. I saw this firsthand in the conversations I had with former Youth Ambassadors (YA) and YouthLead SENA participants in a recent 10-day trip to Colombia focusing on productive work meetings with stakeholders such as the U.S. Embassy, Partners Chapters, Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA), Universidad del Norte and other schools.
I arrived in Indianapolis on a warm morning on Sunday, September 28th. I remembered that morning. I was anxious because everything there was new for me. In my first week, I stayed with former U.S. Legislative Fellow, Aaron Short, and his wife Sarah and their daughter Cheyenne, who made me feel a part of their nice family. I shared beautiful moments with these great people, I learned about their ideas, feelings and beliefs, and I think they learned about my way of thinking too. Interacting with them that week and the rest of my trip was special. They gave me the possibility of trying different kinds of dishes like chili soup, flat bread pizza, and delicious desserts! They made a bonfire for me on my first weekend and invited their Latinos friends, just to give me a warm welcome. I tried the famous s'mores for the first time and I really loved them! Chocolate with marshmallow is a great mix!
Professsor Rosaly Benchimol, who taught at the University of Amazonas and contributed many years of service to the Amazonas Chapter of Partners, passed away on January 17. Professor Benchimol was a leader in the business community of Manaus. She was a founding member of an association of businesswomen in that city and helped the organization to grow.
It's been approximately five years since I came out to myself as a gay man. It was precisely during my masters studies in the United States, when I was first exposed to a truly open and diverse environment, that I was able to overcome all of my fears and hesitations to admit it. Because of this, when I first learned about the Legislative Fellows Program run by Partners of the Americas, I was doubtful of the impact that this program could have in my personal and professional life, since I'd already “lived the American experience”.
Youth are often referred to as “the future,” or the next generation of leaders. At Partners of the Americas, we firmly believe that youth are leaders in the present. They are dynamic members of our society who actively contribute to the economic, cultural, and social development of our communities.
Child labor in Ecuador and Panama is prominent in the most vulnerable and socially excluded sectors: indigenous and Afro-descendant populations. These two populations account for a high incidence of poverty, social exclusion, employment and lack of education, which also explains why they are most at risk of child labor. The numbers are stark.
Partners of the Americas was saddened by the death of Clinton C. Crocker, founder and president of the New Jersey-Haiti Partners, who passed away on Oct. 9, 2014 at the age of 86. Born in Norfolk, VA, Sept. 7, 1928, moved at an early age to Schenectady, NY. Clinton attended and graduated from Westminster Choir College with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then earned a Master of Arts from Kean College.
My name is Gracia Violeta Ross. I am from Bolivia and I have been living with HIV since 2000. I am the National Chair of the Bolivian Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (REDBOL), which remains the strongest HIV advocacy organization. In October 2014, thanks to the Legislative Fellows Program supported by the State Department and with the administration of Partners of the Americas, I did my fellowship at AIDS United, an HIV organization based in Washington, D.C. that focuses on domestic policy-making in the United States.
This week, Partners of the Americas joins people around the world in remembering the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010. As we commemorate the horrific event, we also hope to offer readers some insight into the current situation in Haiti.
A Ganar (Vencer in Brazil) is a youth workforce development program wrapped up in a soccer ball. By utilizing soccer and other team sports to help youth in Latin America, ages 16-24, find jobs, learn entrepreneurial skills, or re-enter the formal education system, A Ganar combats the serious problem of youth unemployment.
Here, Paul Teeple, Partners' Sport for Development Director, answers a few important questions about A Ganar and its innovative approach. Read on!
In 2004, a former teacher at Iowa State University, Dr. George Beran, first recruited me for a Partners project. The project consisted of consulting farmers associated with an agroecological school and what may have been Mexico’s first consumer-supported agriculture (CSA) effort. I have actually been visiting the Yucatán Peninsula since 1994, when my wife began research in Quintana Roo State. We fell in love with the food, the music, and the great people – you know how it goes.
2014 has been a productive year for Partners' Agriculture and Food Security (AFS) Unit! Under the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program, 78 volunteers traveled to eight countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to work with close to 40 producer groups, NGOs, universities, and other hosts. They provided training in areas as diverse as business plan development, honey harvesting, animal nutrition, marketing of organic products, and much more, and directly assisted over 6,000 people.
“I believe in the power of sport, and great facilitators, to change lives.”
One of my favorite parts of my job is meeting with our amazing A Ganar Phase 1 facilitators. These are the people who work day and night leading field and classroom sessions with youth in some of the toughest neighborhoods in our hemisphere. These facilitators make sport come to life and use it to literally save lives. They open their hearts to youth. They risk their own lives traveling to and from sessions and working in environments that can explode in violence at any time. Some of the youth we work with are dangerously close to gangs, often only one or two steps away from being full-fledged members. For these reasons and more, I always say that our facilitators are the most important members of our A Ganar staff.