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Youth Prepare to ‘Ignite the Americas’ in Canada

KINGSTON, JAMAICA – Dozens of young people from across the western hemisphere will converge in the city of Toronto, Canada this September for Ignite the Americas, a youth arts policy forum.

Ignite the Americas is an initiative of the Inter-American Committee on Culture (ICC), which is a body of the Organization of American States (OAS), in cooperation with Canadian Heritage. North American, South American, Central American and Caribbean youth who use the arts and culture as tools for advancing economic growth and social justice are encouraged to apply to be delegates for their respective countries.

Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean, Gavin Hutchinson, explains the delegate selection process as promoting equal influence for all OAS member states.

“We are looking for two of the most passionate young minds from each nation to participate in this initiative,” said Hutchinson. “At the end of the forum we will be making policy recommendations to OAS officials and we want to ensure that all thirty-four member states have a say in our collective cultural future.”

The eligible nations are Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Hutchinson, co-host and co-producer of ‘Reasoning,’ the Jamaican radio talk show on NewsTalk 93 FM that promotes the tagline, “For the youth, by the youth,” expresses his optimism about Ignite the Americas which will take place on September 15-21, 2008.

“Nothing like Ignite has ever been done before as far as I know. It is being fully coordinated by young people. I am only 25 years old and I am not even the youngest on the team!” he stressed. “When a multinational organization of this calibre places so must trust in the youth, it is surely history in the making and only good things can result.”

For more information about Ignite the Americas, visit www.ignitetheamericas.ca. Interested young people can apply directly from the website; the application deadline is August 1, 2008.

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