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UVM Prize for Social Development


MEXICO CITY (December 1, 2006) — Fifteen young leaders were recognized for their outstanding social change initiatives at the 'UVM Prize for Social Development' ceremony held on November 9th at the Polyforum Siqueiros Cultural and Mural Center in Mexico City, Mexico. Sponsored by the Universidad del Valle de Mexico (UVM) and supported by the International Youth Foundation and the Sylvan/Laureate Foundation, the UVM Prize for Social Development recognizes youth-led social projects that are having a significant impact on their local communities. The 15 young people from 9 different states and Mexico City honored at the ceremony will benefit from two training sessions, online learning modules, and a $2,000 stipend.

 "Every day, in some place in our country, a young person works on a specific cause, develops a new project, and decides to be part of a group of people who support others," said Ricardo Serrano, a UVM Prize winner. "This is exactly the spirit of solution seeking and generosity that has gathered us all here today." The awards program represents a unique collaboration of the Sylvan/Laureate Foundation, the Universidad del Valle de Mexico, the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and its YouthActionNet program. YouthActionNet is a Nokia-supported initiative that invests in the power and promise of young people to create positive change at the local and global levels. The event attracted a wide range of leaders in the academic, NGO, and corporate community, including executives from the Mexican Center of Philanthropy and national private university associations, such as FIMPES and ANUIES, reflecting the spirit of partnership that has fueled the program's growth and outreach across the country.

Explained Douglas Becker, Chairman and CEO of Laureate Education, Inc: "In addition to honoring the 2006 UVM Prize winners, this ceremony is a celebration of the first YouthActionNet social entrepreneurship program to be developed within the Laureate International Universities Network. Within the Laureate family, he added, "UVM stands out for its 45-year track record in educating and forming youth and for its leadership in social development programs."

"These 15 young Mexicans whom we celebrate here today are stunning examples of the kinds of problem solvers that every community needs," said IYF's President Bill Reese, who also recognized the extraordinary "time, talent, and support" of the nearly 40 organizations who have contributed to the program. They include: Ashoka, CINEMEX, Endeavor, Impulsa, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, LatinAsia Tradition Solutions, New Ventures, Rostros y Voces, Lucent Technologies-Mexico, Martec Porter Novelli, Procura, the Televisa Foundation, and the Scouts Association, among others. More than 250 youth-led projects initiated the application process for the UVM Prize for Social Development, which aims to strengthen the culture of community service among Mexican youth.

The projects that were selected address key social issues, including the environment, affordable housing, the elderly, and women's rights. In conclusion, UVM's Institutional Rector, Dr. Cesar Morales, confirmed UVM's commitment to promote a holistic education based on social values. "Institutions of higher learning in Mexico have a great responsibility to promote this culture of service in youth," he said, "which contributes to the development of the entire country."

For further information and a list of the award-winning projects, please visit or contact Katherine Zuga at

About the Universidad del Valle de Mexico
Founded in 1960, the Universidad del Valle de Mexico (UVM) has more than 60,000 students and 23 campuses. In a survey conducted by Readers Digest, UVM ranked as one of the top ten private universities in Mexico. For more information, visit About the Sylvan/Laureate Foundation Established in June, 1997, the mission of the Sylvan/Laureate Foundation, broadly defined, is to seek and support the best practices in education and training. The Sylvan/Laureate Foundation is supporting the expansion of IYF’s YouthActionNet's leadership development initiatives by launching the first YouthActionNet Institute in Mexico. Please visit About the International Youth Foundation Founded in 1990, IYF collaborates with businesses, governments, and civil society organizations that share a common desire to improve the life conditions and prospects of young people. Together, IYF and its partners build effective, sustainable, and scalable programs that positively impact the lives of young people in 70 countries. To learn more, visit About YouthActionNet Launched by the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and Nokia in 2001, YouthActionNet promotes and strengthens the role of today's youth leaders. Through a dynamic website, awards programs, advocacy, training, and networking opportunities, YouthActionNet offers young leaders ideas, resources, and connections to like minds around the world. For further information, visit