About us

Youth and Democracy in the Americas is a student founded non-profit organization to promote and provide education on democratic principles around the Americas to construct sustainable development in the region.

Youth and Democracy in the Americas aims to empower the youth's civic involvement in the region to strengthen their democracies by providing them tool and knowledge though educational events and professional activities such as forums, debates, roundtables, seminars, workshops, conferences, and numerous events with scholars, diplomats, youth leaders and activists.

Every year Youth and Democracy in the Americas hosts an annual forum where our student members from the region meet to share their experiences and challenged with their civil involvement, education opportunities and human rights in their countries and learn from our speakers.

Each Youth and Democracy in the Americas chapter in the countries throughout the region will develop their educational events and activities for students to enhance the youth's civic education and involvement.

Our Mission

To provide students and future leaders of the Americas educational and professional activities, to promote democratic values, education, economic development, and social inclusion for the strengthening of democracy in the region through tools and knowledge provided by scholars, diplomats, youth leaders and social activists.

The Annual Forum Youth & Democracy in the Americas

Help educate young generations on democratic principles and how to avoid and overcome challenges that are present throughout the Americas.

Our Founders

Cecilia Navas
Founder & Executive Director

Cecilia is executive director of the Youth and Democracy in the Americas, which she founded Y&D in 2018 with the mission to empower student leaders with the opportunity to expose their challenges, issues and goals of their nations to diplomats, politicians and local government officials. She holds a degree in International Trade and has been involved in community service and social activism. In 2009 she created a noun profit foundation called A TOY AND A SMILE as initiative to help more than 500 poor children in Venezuela. Cecilia as an international student, she served as president of the Florida National University Student Government Association. She has prior experience working in the field of advocacy, human rights and public policy. Cecilia with the support of the Secretary General Dr. Luis Almagro, she created at the Organization of American States an event to honor the fallen young heroes in Venezuela on Youth Day, in February 12th 2018, and 2019 in Washington D.C. and she also produced the regional student Forum Youth and Democracy in the Americas #FacingNewGeretaions with the attendance more than 120 students for the Strengthening of the Democracies of the region at Florida International University. Cecilia is a leading advocate for student voice in the defense of democracy, freedom, and civil rights.

Valentina Palm
Co - Founder & Director

She is a Florida International University student pursuing a degree in Broadcast Journalism and the Communications Director of the FIU Venezuelan Student Alliance. Valentina is also a news reporter for the FIU student newspaper Panther Now. During her college education, she has been a strong advocate for the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela denouncing the struggles of the Venezuelan youth.

Juan C Roberto Arriojas
Co – Founder & Director

Born in Venezuela. Bachelor in Business Administration in Universidad Nueva Esparta. Master in Business Administration in University of Miami (Miami Business School). Graduate assistant in Union Venezolana (UNIVEN) Union at the University of Miami.

Daniel Rodriguez
Co – Founder & Director

Former student of Universidad Catolica Andres Bello and graduate of Bachelors in Marketing in San Ignacio University. Founding member of the Student Ambassadors Group and Former Vice President of The Student Government Association at San Ignacio University.

Our Team

Maria Fernanda

Born in Caracas, Venezuela. Maria Fernanda is a student majoring in Political Science in the DC area. Has been fighting against socialism since she was 15; was a volunteer for Primero Justicia, and was involved in many non- profit organizations in Venezuela. Plans on getting a Master Degree in International Relations and finish her education as an International Law Student.

Miguel Casique

Born in Venezuela, is a former student of the Universidad Central de Venezuela in International Studies, Law student of the Universidad Bicentenria de Aragua, and also communication studies at Montgomery college. He is vice-chancellor of Latin student union, former activist in Venezuela political party Vente Venezuela, and also worked as an assistant to a judge in a criminal circuit court.

Jose Daniel Salvador

He is a Venezuelan student in Montgomery College, Maryland seeking his associate’s degree in International Studies,then he wants to continue his studies at the University of Maryland to obtain his bachelor’s degree. Since the beginning of this year 2019 he has been a representative for Youth&Democracy in the Americas.

Jose Portes

Born in Ecuador was part of a delegation of Miami Dade College that went to Washington DC to promote guns regulations; later on, was elected SGA President of the MDC West Campus. Jose is pursuing a Political Science degree at MDC. He started to work in public service in Ecuador when he was elected SGA President in his Senior year of high school. He also served in his sophomore and junior year of as Minister of Environment and Public Relations.

Simon Molina

Born in Venezuela. Graduated from the Avalon School in 2016. Worked for Vision Democrática. Current International Studies Major in Montgomery College, hoping to transfer to University of Maryland.

Our Youth Ambassador

Maria Luiza Paura

Born in Brazil. She became an Honors student at Miami Dade College. She has always been passionate about economics and public policy and decided to follow it as a career in the USA. Participates in Phi Beta Lambda and Phi Theta Kappa honors societies for college students, and connects business experts and entrepreneurs to her classmates through the Financial Literacy Club. She is also a weekly volunteer tutor for children at a shelter and organize fundraising events for that same institution.

Sean Burke

Born in Panama. 2nd year student of Mechanical Engineering at the Technological University of Panama. As part of his extracurricular work he perform as a Member of the organizing committee of the VIII International Congress of Mechanical Engineering. He provides math tutoring to 7th grade students of the “C.E.B.G La Mesa” School. He lead the UTP Sports Team, with the objectives of creating a sports culture within the university community and promoting coexistence, feedback and communication between students of different careers.

Juan Christiansen

He is Former Minister of Government and Discipline of the student council at Unidad Educativa Javier. Member of Students for Liberty Ecuador. Treasurer at the Student Association of Economic and Administrative Sciences Faculty of the Universidad Católica Santiago de Guayaquil, where he is currently a sophomore year student pursuing an economics degree.

Anais Gonzalez

Born in United States. She graduated with a bachelor degree in history and central American studies from California State university Northridge (CSUN). At CSUN she was part of CAUSA (The Central American Union Students Association) and she currently runs the Scholarship and Volunteer/Social media program at the Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund. She was a panelist for social media activism at Brown University. She currently dedicates her time in advocating for Nicaragua Socio political crisis, through organizing events, and social media. Her activism work has gotten her to speak Liberated Fuentes a colloquium at California State University Los Angeles (CSULA). She has organized several panels involving Nicaragua youth in exile, as well has participated as a panelist with the Film La Sandinistas where she talks about the role of the Nicaraguan women in current crisis, and the human rights violation they face by the Ortega-Murillo regime. Anais has also been featured in fierce mitu, teen vogue, and remezcla . Lastly she is currently working on a project dedicated to the voices of the Nicaraguan civic insurrection. Anais hopes that this project will document many voices, that way Nicaragua will never have the repeat the same history.

Isaac Alonso

Born in Mexico. Winner of the Actions Award in favor of the sustainable development goals of the 2030 agenda, by the Mexican Youth Institute. He is a graduate of the program to boost microenterprise at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Toluca campus. He studied the degree in International Economic Relations, within the Faculty of Economics of the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico. He has worked as a social activist within several civil society organizations, promoting the political participation of youth, entrepreneurship and quality education in Mexico. He was part of the international relations program of the Professional Institute DUOC, of the Catholic University of Chile where he studied a semester of engineering in Foreign Trade in the city of Viña del Mar. In 2017, he was considered one of the twenty emerging innovators from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, by the American Express leadership academy and is part of the international network of social entrepreneurs in Ashoka. Alonso is a representative of the State of Mexico Viral Network, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that works on innovation, entrepreneurship and youth leadership. He is part of the “Kybernus A.C” leadership program of Grupo Salinas. He is currently Ambassador of Youth and Democracy in the Americas in Mexico.

Melanie Intriago

Born in Venezuela, Melanie Intriago Manjoud 20 years old she is a Human Rights Activist and Advocate in Venezuela, She is an active member of Youth and Democracy in the Americas and President of the NGO Salvando Vidas y el Planeta. Melanie is a Nursing Assistant, first aid and rescuer a Social Communication student at the Santa María University. In addition she plays the violin and oboe, and studied music in the National System of Youth and Children's Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela founded by Maestro José She has conducted workshops on effective communication, television presentation with and without telempromter. Melanie currently is opting a Medicine or Nutrition quota at the Central University of Venezuela. Melanie is member of the Vente Venezuela as well.

Rothschild Toussaint

Born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. After an earthquake struck his country in 2010, he and his family emigrated to the United States. Though he struggled with English at first, he picked up the language and is now a student at The Honors College at Miami Dade. Rothschild has always been passionate about international affairs and economics, especially in the power dynamics of wealthy countries in the world. He is a member of Phi Beta Lambda and Financial Literacy Club, which connects business experts to his classmates. He is also a member of Generation United Nations, an organization dedicated to serving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Dedicated to his community, Rothschild is a volunteer with Florida Immigrant Coalition to help educate others on the political issues that affect immigrants in the United States. He hopes to transfer to an Ivy League university or a university in Washington D.C. and continue to globalize the world one day at a time.

María Oropeza

Born in Venezuela. Lawyer. Leader of Vente Portuguesa. She is writer for PanAm Post and Guayoyo. She believe, promote and defend libertarian principles.

Nicolás Bull Río

Chilean, he obtains a business administration degree and magister in innovation and understanding from adolfo ibáñez university. He as well holds a graduate degree in digital marketing from the pontifica catholic university of chile. He is currently the head of cabinet of the regional direction of valparaíso of the national institute of youth. He was also performed as head of cabinet of deputy Pablo kast sommerhoff and previously worked at the foundation for progress, in Santiago de Chile.