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The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the Amazon Conservation Team Launch Partnership to Strengthen Indigenous Leaders in the Americas

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(Washington, DC,) The Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) and the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) announce a partnership to strengthen ACT’s Indigenous Leadership Fellowship program, providing new learning opportunities for indigenous students of the Americas in the OAS.

This unique partnership will strengthen and enable leadership development opportunities at global and local levels in coordination with the Externado University in Colombia, as well as with indigenous organizations, such as the Tayrona Indigenous Confederation (CIT) and the Guambia Indigenous Council (CIG).

Program fellows will have the opportunity to better understand the functioning of international cooperation agencies, international conventions, and funding aimed at supporting the rights of indigenous communities. The goal of this program is to create a leadership incubator for young indigenous persons so that they may strengthen their advocacy skills outside their communities and promote issues relevant to their people and community organizations, focusing on ancestral territory and traditional knowledge.

“These partnerships strengthen community work and the spirit of being indigenous, opening the doors for younger generations of indigenous leaders to take the mantle of responsibility through hands-on project management in their communities and international relations experience,” says Isidoro Hazbun, Manager of Public Affairs and Programs Support at ACT.

The awardees will participate in international forums such as the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and will have access to long-term mentorship.  Each year, one or more students belonging to the Externado University’s Multicultural Interactions Program will travel to Washington, DC to conduct this internship, with the objective of fulfilling a graduation requirement.

Within ACT, the goal is for the fellow to support the formulation, research or implementation of concrete projects executed by ACT. The fellow will have the opportunity to travel to other areas of the United States and attend meetings or conferences that are considered relevant to complement the fellow’s learning experience.

In 2017 the OAS General Assembly approved the Plan of Action on the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Plan’s main objective is to contribute to the full recognition, exercise, and enjoyment of the rights of indigenous peoples at the national and hemispheric levels through the support of the Organization of American States and other bodies of the inter-American system.

One of the general objectives of the OAS Plan of Action is to promote an affirmative action policy for indigenous peoples in the Scholarship and Internship Programs of the organs, agencies, and entities of the inter-American system.

In this context, ACT and the OAS have the pleasure to announce a partnership that will strengthen ACT’s Indigenous Leadership Fellowship program, providing new learning opportunities for indigenous students of the Americas in the OAS.

For more information on the Indigenous Fellowship Program please contact:

Amazon Conservation Team Organization of American States
  Isidoro Hazbun Ihazbun@amazonteam.org (703) 522-4684     Roberto Rojas Davila rrojas@oas.org (202) 370 0713

About the Organization of American States:

The Organization of American States is the world’s oldest regional organization, dating back to the First International Conference of American States, held in Washington, D.C., from October 1889 to April 1890. The OAS came into being in 1948 with the signing in Bogotá, Colombia, of the Charter of the OAS, which entered into force in December 1951.

Today, the OAS brings together all 35 independent states of the Americas and constitutes the main political, juridical, and social governmental forum in the Hemisphere. In addition, it has granted permanent observer status to 69 states, as well as to the European Union (EU).

The Organization uses a four-pronged approach to effectively implement its essential purposes, based on its main pillars: democracy, human rights, security, and development.

About the Amazon Conservation Team:

The Amazon Conservation Team® (ACT®) founded in 1996, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that partners with indigenous and other local communities to protect tropical forests and strengthen traditional culture. ACT’s vision is a future where healthy tropical forests and thriving local communities exist in harmonious relationship with each other, contributing to the well-being of the planet. Since its origins, ACT has recognized that lasting change requires a long-term, on-the-ground commitment. Over the course of more than 20 years, ACT has been privileged to work with more than 50 indigenous groups. Currently, ACT focuses the majority of its efforts in the northeast Amazon (particularly Suriname), the northwest Amazon (primarily Colombia), and Brazil.

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