Empowering the young in Medellín

Colombian mega star Juanes was at WUF7 today. He did not come to promote his latest hit CD. Instead, he chaired the World Urban Youth Assembly and promoted the project I am a City Changer. This project, sponsored by UN-HABITAT, seeks to identify, share, and spread worldwide initiatives to improve global cities. These initiatives can be private, public, or even individual. So far 275 initiatives have been published on the program's official site.

Juanes' own foundation, Fundación mi Sangre, launched an initiative: Campaña Puedo Cambiar el Mundo (I Can Change the World). Youths from all over the city were asked to suggest actions that could bring change to the city. A total of 13 were selected after debates in which the main themes of WUF7 were discussed. The actions include flash mobs, concerts in traditional rural buses, picnics on the streets, etc. The idea is to empower the youths to take back the spaces that were stolen from them in the turmoil of violence and exclusion that plagued the city for many years.

"The Colombian youths are no longer afraid," said Juanes, "instead, they now feel that they can change the world." It was a joy to watch the self-confident, positive participants in the Youth Assembly as they explained their initiatives. It will be up to them to build upon the achievements that Medellín has accomplished in recent years.

Members of the Puedo Cambiar el Mundo initiative will be present at the Forum's closing event.

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