WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
1 Oct 2015 | Video

Creating New Opportunities for Central American Youth


Father Francisco “Paco” Iznardo, SJ Coordinator of the Social Apostolate for the Jesuits of Central America
William Reese, President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Youth Foundation


Marc Hanson, WOLA Senior Associate

 Friday, October 2
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
1666 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20009


In Central America, many young people live in communities where gangs are pervasive and violence is widespread, while quality education, job training, and entry-level jobs remain nearly unattainable. As WOLA has documented, violence combined with severely limited opportunities generates a sense of hopelessness that drives many thousands of young people to flee their communities in search of a better life. Connecting young people to new economic opportunities can help to reverse these trends in Central America. We welcome Father Francisco “Paco” Iznardo and William Reese for a conversation about promising programs that connect youth with employment and more hopeful futures.Father “Paco” Iznardo is the Coordinator of the Social Apostolate for the Central American Province of the Society of Jesus, where he has collaborated with several organizations and since 2006 has directed Puente Belice, an organization that provides youth opportunity and violence prevention programs in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

William Reese is President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Youth Foundation. Previously, he was President of Partners of the Americas, the largest citizen-run, voluntary organization working to promote economic and social development in the Western Hemisphere. He has also  served as Chairman of the USAID  Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid, and has served on the boards of a host of other leading NGOs working on development and human rights in the Americas.