Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.
I have been fortunate to have a broad education. I studied school in Peru, went to college in the US, and worked in Germany despite my parents’ limited resources. I have worked with truly inspiring youth leaders and met with like-minded change makers from around the world. I have been lucky to travel to unique locations and received an interdisciplinary education while living in the developed world. Given the enormous opportunity I have had to turn my aspirations into real experiences, my own story has been the best advocacy I use. Prior to founding my institute, I have always advocated through international education to promote social inclusion, cross-cultural understanding, and peace building. As Ambassador Donald Steinberg, President and CEO of World Learning, once said, "Through international education, students become more effective communicators, more engaged citizens, and learn to think critically about the relationships between local and global issues. These skills are all vital to building peace in a world full of conflict." This year I lived a remarkable experience during a Panel on Youth and Peace building with UNAOC officials. I had the honor to meet the UN Secretary-General, H. E. Ban Ki-moon who taught me a great lesson about youth empowerment as we - the youth - have become drivers of change . Last April, I was selected to attend the 2015 UNAOC-EF Summer School, a youth leaderships program focused on core management competencies such as communication and strategic thinking. This selection was based upon youth leadership and entrepreneurial achievement. I submitted an application and wrote about my organization and desire to foster social cohesion and cross-cultural understanding and the difficulties involved in helping students in my community to achieve their dreams and enhance their lives through access to international education. After being selected from nearly 13,000 applicants, only 75 participants won a trip to New York City for one week to put our leadership abilities into practice. It was a remarkable experience to be with UNAOC officials along with other business practitioners who shared our common goal: making the world a better place. Through my career as a mentor and teacher, I have taken many initiatives and served many as a role model including students, parents and fellow teachers. As I empower my students with opportunities to experience the real world, I show the community how these interactions are conducive to a more meaningful life. The power of international education goes beyond the development of global competencies. Its real power extends to building cohesive communities who are able to face challenges and solve problems sustainably.
Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?
Even though I am the only decision maker at my institute, I seek help and provide help at every corner. Approaching our challenges with like-minded people has deepened my understanding of our challenges and has enabled me to look at the best practices from diverse angles. From former teachers who have volunteered at the institute to our alumni who is abroad, I am currently interacting with a community of teachers and youth leaders with whom I will be able to relate to and cooperate with at any time in the future.
This year I was invited to join the Intercultural Leadership Network from the UNAOC and the BMW Group, a network of 200 members and 70 mentors for civil society organizations where young leaders are working on addressing cross-cultural tensions and fostering collaboration and social inclusion. Since I joined the network, I have met an incredible group of change makers from around the world. Through this other platform, mentors volunteer their time and skills to provide guidance, training, in response to the specific needs of participating organizations and projects. I constantly share ideas about my institute and desire to foster social cohesion and cross-cultural understanding and the difficulties involved in helping students in my community to achieve their dreams and enhance their lives through access to international education. Whether it is with local or foreign teachers, I discuss and exchange views, practices, hopes, and dreams about the various challenges that the 21st century education faces on a daily basis.
At the moment, I am at the initial stage of replicating my project through Leonardo Párraga, an educator and social entrepreneur from Colombia who is trying to empower the youth of Bogotá. His foundation BogotArt is an organization giving a voice to youths through cultural and artistic tools. The idea is to extend educational and cultural opportunities for the brightest artists in Colombia. By developing programs that promote student mobility, our mission is to advance international education in Latin America. Colombia currently has the biggest share of students going to study into the United States after Brazil, according to the Open Doors 2014 Report on International Educational Exchange. This ambitious project would foster a wider access to quality education for more students in Latin America. Despite the fact that we are in two different countries, our initiatives have started to drive change and internationalization in our communities. Our long-term goal is to grow the number of global citizens in the Americas.