A second youth retreat with WPDI – Chiapas in our hearts!

Editor’s note: Today we are happy to feature a guest post by Paola Ponce. She is Manager for External Communications at Ericsson Mexico, as well as a Brand Ambassador for Region Latin America and Caribbean. She writes today about our partnership with the Whitaker Peace Development Initiative in Chiapas, Mexico.


From August 21 to 23, Ericsson participated in a retreat held by the Harmonizer Group in Chiapas, led by the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI). This meeting built on another meeting in May that my colleague Dodi Axelson wrote about here as well. This meeting was as amazing as the first; in only one weekend, 32 young people infected us with not just their enthusiasm, creativity and commitment but their immense love for Mexico and their communities.

Our mission at the retreat was to provide training in ICT and the principles of the Networked Society. We wanted to inspire the youth to use connectivity not just in each of their social projects but also for the rest of their lives.

The big surprise when I arrived was the amount of questions the participants had for us. Even after dinner we were bombarded with questions on how to use the cloud, how to build a webpage and how to leverage their projects, not to mention more questions about web security, managing projects and more. The curiosity of this group was incredible. For them, adopting the technology was almost natural; it just required a little passion and our support to start them on the road to achieving great things.

I gave them some advice about my own experience in the Networked Society, on how it has changed not only mine but everyone’s life and the way it can improve societies, bring communities closer and let the world know about other cultures and other ways of thinking.

Between yoga classes, training in conflict resolution and technology for three days, we were very tired, but invigorated so that it felt like vacation. Near the end of the retreat, I asked a typical Tzotzil greeting, “How is your heart today?”. And with great joy, one of the students responded: “Today my heart belongs to Ericsson!” On my way to the retreat, I had thought I was going to teach but actually I learned even more! This project really filled my heart with joy and passion.

Even though the retreat is over now, the questions do not need to end. Ericsson is committed to providing ongoing virtual training in the coming months. Today, technology has arrived in the most remote areas of Mexico, but the Networked Society is becoming more tangible each day… technology is at the service of humanity, and the young people of this project are already part of it.

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