Youth Ambassadors 2012

We announced this year’s winners for Youth Ambassadors in São Paulo on Friday last.  This program keeps getting bigger and better. It attracts an ever larger pool of highly-qualified candidates (this year 7500); pulls in more cooperating institutions (now 64 partners in the recruitment and screening process}; and is acting like a magnet pulling in resources from the private sector. 

This year firms like IBM, DOW and Bradesco promised tens of thousands of dollars more in support. In fact, we are quickly approaching the legal ceiling of PA Brazil’s authorized fundraising for a single project, which is $75,000.  In addition, outside the actual project firms are providing things like mentoring programs, free software, internship and/or job opportunities, and scholarships to the winners and alumni.  This is a program that has captured the imagination of aspiring students all over Brazil and all those who support them.

Some people say that success is achieved through resources and they are right, but theirs is not a dynamic perspective. It is clearly true that good ideas and well managed programs attract resources.

The ceremony of the announcement filled the auditorium at the Alumni BNC in São Paulo. But the crowd gathered to hear Ambassador Thomas Shannon announcing the forty-five winners from among around 150 finalists was only the tip of the iceberg.  We live streamed the event to around 500 viewers, but even this doesn’t tell the whole story.  We know that many BNCs were hosting events with the streaming featured.   The State Secretary of Education in São Luís do Maranhão hosted an event in his auditorium which included eighty teachers, students and parents.  But even this is not all.  For weeks leading up to the big event, events were being held in all the states of Brazil to bring together students and talk about the program.  This is a really big show for a really big project, the culmination of a great process but just the start of another.

After the announcement came the media in proud hometowns all over Brazil. Headlines like “Londrina terá representante no Jovens Embaixadores de 2012” (a Londrina girl will represent the Youth Ambassadors) “Estudante cuiabano representa MT” (A student from Cuiaba will represent Mato Grosso.) or  “Estudante de Araguaina é a nova Jovem Embaixadora 2012” (A student from Araguaina is the new Youth Ambassador 2012) set the tone.

Initial press reports are available below.