JCI News 2012 JCI Conference of the Americas
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JCI members gathered in Curitiba, Brazil to share their passion for positive change on local and global levels. 


The 2012 JCI Conference of the Americas kicked off the JCI Area Conference season, featuring outstanding programs, powerful partnerships and an exemplary community service day. More than 670 delegates from 36 different countries in the Americas and around the world exchanged ideas and strengthened their commitment to positive change. 


Sharing Ideas for Positive Change 

This year’s Conference of the Americas focused on developing ideas and converting them into actionable steps to make an impact not only in Curitiba, but also in the delegates’ home communities. Held immediately before Opening Ceremony, the First Timers program featured a red carpet and enthusiastic board members cheering on the new JCI event attendees.


At the JCI Morning Show, delegates shared their best ideas for the 100th Anniversary of the Junior Chamber movement and learned about advancing the UN Millennium Development Goals (UN MDGs) through the JCI Active Citizen Framework. Following a presentation from Maria Aparecida Zago Udenal Executive Coordinator of We Can Paraná of the Federation of Industries of the State of Paraná, a few lucky delegates won special prizes in the JCI Morning Show Raffle. 


At the General Assembly, attendees were treated to presentations on upcoming JCI events, JCI Nothing But Nets fundraising progress and JCI Operation Hope. Pan-American Health Organization Senior Advisor, Christopher Drasbek summarized the interactions of JCI members with pilot projects in Brazil, Suriname, Peru and Uruguay and their alignment with the JCI Active Citizen Framework. Dr. Rodrigo da Rocha Loures, Former President of FIEP also described the progress of projects advancing the UN MDGs in Brazil.


The high spirits and enthusiasm continued late into the night at both the Nations Night party and the Brazil Night Party. Nations Night surprised attendees with dance performances of Samba, Capoeira and other traditional Brazilian dances while delegates rocked all night to Brazilian rhythms at the Brazil Night Party. 


Giving Back to the Community

At the Conference this year, delegates turned their passion for change into action by going out of the meeting rooms and into the community to tackle local problems head-on. Nearly 120 people from Curitiba and more than 550 Conference delegates, took part in eight different events, one for each of the UN MDGs:


UN MDG 1: Ending Poverty and Hunger

  • Participants constructed a community organic garden to encourage locals to grow their own food and combat hunger. 

UN MDG 2: Universal Education

  • Delegates painted and restored a home school district creating a more pleasant environment for the students to encourage greater attendance. 

UN MDG 3: Gender Equality

  • Trained professionals offered breast cancer tests to local citizens while delegates raised awareness of the disease and encouraged women to seek preventative mammograms. 

UN MDG 4: Child Health

  • To lower the incidence of infant mortality, delegates reached out to mothers in Curitiba to promote breastfeeding and proper childcare practices. 

UN MDG 5: Maternal Health

  • A series of lectures and workshops were offered to educate residents on the dangers of child and teen pregnancy, with learning materials being distributed to nearly 60 young community members. 

UN MDG 6: Combat Disease

  • Leptospirosis is a common bacterial disease in South America carried to humans by rodents. To keep the city clean and prevent this disease, an educational program was offered to teach locals the correct disposal of garbage. Members also distributed awareness material and surveys about the disease. 

UN MDG 7: Environmental Sustainability

  • Delegates planted 200 native trees and picked up trash along the silted areas of a nearby river to restore plant and animal life. 

UN MDG 8: Global Partnership

  • JCI members, local students and parents participated in a cultural exchange wherein students learned about diversity, responsibility and leadership. Members also donated books to encourage future learning on tolerance. 

“The people in the community could not believe that we were actually there to help them. For the first hour they were in shock and just stunned with happiness that we were taking the time to provide what they needed,” said 2012 JCI President Bertolt Daems.


“The best part was that we left a footprint in the community. The members saw the problem and were so invested in the issues that they were brought to tears. And when they watched the video of their work afterwards, everyone stood and cheered and was overwhelmed with pride that we actually turned our Mission into concrete action.”


All eight projects found substantial support from the Curitiba community. Many influential local citizens including political, civil and business sector members participated along side the JCI members. Together, citizens of Curitiba were empowered to take ownership of the challenges in their community and act to create solutions.


Each 2012 JCI Area Conference and the 2012 JCI Global Partnership Summit will feature a community service day where JCI members can touch the lives of local citizens of the host cities. The 2012 JCI Africa and the Middle East Conference in Casablanca, Morocco starts on May 23. The 2012 JCI Asia-Pacific Conference begins on June 7 in Hong Kong and the 2012 JCI European Conference starts on June 13 in Braunschweig, Germany. 


For those who attended the 2012 JCI Conference of the Americas, share your favorite memories on the JCI Facebook page


Register today for the 2012 JCI Global Partnership Summit, June 25 to 27 in New York City. 

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