Luis Davila's Weblog


International AIDS Conference Days 2 and 3!
August 7, 2008, 10:03 am
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Hi all,

These past two days have been filled with intense activities and sessions at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. On Tuesday, I spent a lot of time at the global village. I might already talked about this, but the global village is a space at the IAC 2008 where community groups from around the world are sharing their work and creating opportunities for networking. I hope to be able to share video on this soon.

I also attended sessions on funding gaps and opportunities relating to HIV/AIDS and one on the current state of the pandemic in Latin America. This one was very instructive and brought together activists with leaders from international agencies like UNAIDS and the Global Fund working in the region.

 

On Wednesday, I attended a plenary on sexual workers, which for the first time had them discussing their own issues. It was very interesting! I also attended sessions on the linkage between human security and HIV (this one with Mary Robinson) and one on the effect of global trade and bilateral agreements on universal access to treatment. The one on human security was particularly interesting as it presented associative (but not causative) data from UNHCR which links low prevalence levels to high levels of conflict. This would mean that wars keep HIV low, and this rapidly expands in post-conflict zones. This was highly controversial, but the speaker tried to focus on the need to invest heavily on post-conflict areas, instead of speaking about when and/or how the data may more directly link low HIV prevalence to conflict.

I finished Wednesday with a session on young people, including youth speakers from India and Guyana who explained youth-friendly programs in their regions and ways that youth-related commitments in the UNGASS declaration are being implemented (or not).

Tomorrow and Friday are the last days of the conference! I’ll keep you posted!l

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International AIDS Conference 2008 – Mexico City Day 1!
August 5, 2008, 6:36 pm
Filed under: hiv/aids, young people, youth, youth engagement | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Today I attended a few sessions at the IAC 2008. The first one was a plenary discussing the different approaches to HIV/AIDS. It was very informative!

I then spent a lot of time at the conference’s Global Village. This is a huge exhibition space where a multitude of community-based organizations are sharing their experiences working with HIV/AIDS and organizing a lot of participatory activities.

I also participated in a session on how young people are using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to battle the pandemic. I’ll share some videos from this session soon.

Following this last session, I went to an event focusing on the linkage between migration and HIV/AIDS. I thought it was just going to address migration from Mexico and Central America to the US, but the conversation was much richer and included presentations on migration issues in Asia and Africa.

I ended the day with a session on the pandemic’s future. It was run by an initiative called aids2031 which is trying to create a framework for addressing HIV/AIDS in a more sustainable long-term manner.

I’ll keep reporting!



Youth Pre-Conference at Mexico International AIDS Conference
August 5, 2008, 2:46 pm
Filed under: young people, youth, youth engagement | Tags: , , ,

From July 31 to August 2, I was part of a youth pre-conference to the International AIDS Conference. It was great! I hung out with 200+ young people from around the world working on HIV/AIDS-related projects. The conference provided some preparation for the actual International AIDS Conference, which started last night. I helped organize the last youth pre-conference in Toronto, but feel that this one was better in many ways.

I taped some of the content from the pre-conference and hope to add it to some footage from the main conference and share it with everyone soon! In the meantime, please see some quick clips from my time with amazing young people making a difference.

 

Video link 1 –

 

Video link 2 – 



Trip to Huatulco, Mexico!
August 5, 2008, 2:03 pm
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Last week I spent a few nights at an amazing beach called La Boquita near Huatulco, Mexico. We stayed at a very eco-friendly hotel called Bahia de la Luna. The staff was super friendly and the prices were very affordable.

Most of my stay at Bahia de la Luna was spent hanging out at this beautiful Pacific coast beach. I did take some time to check out some of the reservations in the area holding crocodiles and different types of birds.  See the following Youtube videos for details of my stay!

 

Video link 1 – 

 

Video link 2 –

 

Now, I’m at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. More postings on that soon!



Minerva Sound Society – intercultural understanding or just a lot of fun?
March 10, 2008, 11:05 pm
Filed under: young people, youth | Tags: , , , , ,

Minerva Sound Society

Today I found out that my buddy Rob Camstra has a new band in the Netherlands. The name of the band is Minerva Sound Society and it is made up by 10 students in the Netherlands who play a pretty funky sound! They are also a sort of cultural ambassador troupe for the Netherlands, traveling the world and sharing good will. If you are interested check them out! They have videos of their performances in China, Dubai and Nigeria as well as some of their music.

Rob and I know each other from our time playing together in Curacao. We used to have a band named Retrospective, and we did pretty well for ourselves – even though we were just in high school!
Make sure you check out Rob’s band!

Cheers,

Luis



Youth and Social Enterprise

I am currently involved in a social enterprise fellowship called Startinbloc. For those of you who have not heard of this organization, it “educates, empowers and connects emerging leaders to drive positive social change across sectors.” It does so through intensive fellowship programs that provide prospective social entrepreneurs with the tools to become effective in their quest to achieve the so-called “triple-bottom line.”

This type of program also encourages a peer community of social entrepreneurs who share best practices and provide support while in the process of launching a social venture.

As part of the fellowship I was given a business problem that I need to resolve with a group of colleagues, similar to a management consulting assignment. Most specifically, I’m helping a social enterprise develop an effective volunteer program. I hope that my previous experiences at Junior Achievement and coordinating Global Youth Service Day will be helpful!



Obama and young Latinos
February 19, 2008, 10:18 pm
Filed under: latino youth, obama, youth, youth engagement | Tags: , , ,

Wow! Obama won Wisconsin! Now he is off to concentrating in Texas and Ohio. I think that in Ohio the key group is going to be blue collar workers, who are hurting with the current economic outlook. In Texas, however, I think that the Latino youth vote is going to play a significant role in determining who wins. 

Based on previous contests in states heavily populated by Latinos such as New York and California, Hillary seems to have an edge. However, I think that in the case of Texas the election is not going to be based on identity politics, but instead it is going to be a big generational rift. I am a strong believer that Obama gains support from young people after they get a chance to interact with him, but also when they realize how close he is to their concerns and issues.

This is a candidate who is not afraid to call on young people to make some sacrifices, to get involved in their communities, to stop with the same old politicking of always.This guy actually says let’s stop with the political crap and get things done! Young people relate to this! As we can see day after day, young people are becoming more involved in their communities, are volunteering more, and are creating social enterprises that foster the power of ideas to benefit marginalized communities. 

For all of this, I am convinced that Obama will continue to motivate young people, especially Latino youth in Texas who are eager to turn the page, continue their engagement to social change, and finally say: yes we can!