South American Business Forum places hopes on young to improve region

The South American Business Forum, a non-government organization that for a decade has organized conferences for students in Argentina, has placed its hopes on younger people from the region and other areas planting the seeds of what one day will become solutions for Latin American woes.

"This year the focus will be the challenge of inclusion," Damasia Jurado said. 

Jurado, a 23-year-old industrial engineering student from the Technological Institute of Buenos Aires, is helping organize this year´s SABF conference to be held in the Argentine capital Aug. 6-8.

While one-third of the 100 participants in this year´s event are from Latin America, the rest of the students chosen for this year will travel from areas including North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

"Learning how these foreign students 'see us' as a region and getting them to share some of their experiences in their home countries will help," Jurado said. "The difficulties that Latin America faces vary from financial and political volatility to the lack of adequate security," she said.

Jurado said the effort involves putting together people "with a very open mind who can discuss and participate."

The conference will also look at examples within Latin America of notable improvement and this year the focus will be analyzing the progress of the city of Medellin, Colombia.

Medellin, which three decades ago was infamous for being the epicenter of the violence of cocaine cartels, has in recent years attracted worldwide attention for its development. Medellin was chosen in 2013 by The Wall Street Journal and Citi Group as winner of a contest named "City of the Year," Jurado said.

The speakers for this year include Oscar Ghillione, Javier Ureta, Diego Luzuriaga and Marcelo Elizondo, all known in Argentina for efforts that combine entrepreneurship with social work. Ailson De Moraes, an academic from the University of London, and think tank director Agustin Etchebarne will also take part.

The objective of organizers is for participants "to stand out, to contribute to their societies, communities, countries and to the sustainable development of the world."

The conference will also include workshops to guide students on how to launch their own entrepreneurial activities. Many former participants have already formed companies, Jurado said.