On May 16 and 17, 2011 Mexican American leaders from across the United States gathered in Washington, D.C. to attend the First Mexican American Leadership Initiative (MALI) Conference. With keynote speeches and comments provided by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mexican Ambassador to the United States Arturo Sarukhan, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros and many others, this historic event gathered for the first time a critical mass of Mexican American leaders for the purpose of fostering more constructive responses and partnerships between the societies of the U.S. and Mexico.
Entitled The Challenge of Shared Responsibility, the First MALI Conference focused on crafting workable solutions to the current drugrelated crisis for the benefit of people living on both sides of the border, specifically focusing on ways in which Mexican Americans leaders may facilitate more significant engagement between the United States and Mexico and in doing so help to strengthen Mexican civil society at this critical time. Toward this end, the MALI Conference not only included two roundtables on “US/Mexico Shared Responsibility” and “Civil Society Engagement” but, significantly, it also concluded by public recognition and/or financial awards for five projects targeted at helping at risk youth and distressed communities.
The MALI Civil Society Awards
The MALI Civil Society Award is given to Mexican-based non-profit organizations which excel at the promotion of civil society engagement. These organizations contribute to innovative social development by focusing on systemic change and measurable results in one or more of the following categories: education, youth, civic engagement, and community cohesion.
Awardee: CASA Promoción Juvenil, A.C.
CASA Promoción Juvenil works in marginalized communities throughout Ciudad Juárez to strengthen youth leadership. In 2010 as part of a broader effort with other partners such as the International Youth Foundation, CASA Promoción Juvenil produced a four-week summer youth camp experience for 12 to 14 year-olds, along with a year-long follow-up, designed to return youth to active school enrollment.
Awardee: Fundación Infantia, A.C.
Fundación Infantia seeks to provide at-risk youth and victims of human trafficking with expertise that will improve their employability through the Youth Career Initiative — a collaboration among international hotel chains to provide job opportunities, vocational training, and life skills.
The MALI Bridge Builders Recognitions
The MALI Bridge Builders Recognition is given to non-profit organizations working in Mexico or between the United States and Mexico. These organizations distinguish themselves by their significant contribution to strengthening civil society in Mexico, often utilizing deeply-rooted transnational collaboration in the process.
Asociación Mexicana de Uniones de Crédito del Sector Social (AMUCSS)
AMUCSS provides micro loans and micro savings accounts in economies classified as highly-marginal or very-highly marginal. The organization works in over 350 municipalties and 1,500 communities throughout Mexico, involving thousands of citizens annually.
Federación Zacatecana, A.C.
Created in 2009, the Federación Zacatecana offices in the capital of Zacatecas and serves as a liaison between communities in the State of Zacatecas and the United States. The Federación fosters local outreach and leadership in Zacatecas in order to increase community participation and to collaborate with local, state, and federal government, all in an effort to achieve more accountable and effective co-investment with sending communities.
The U.S.-Mexico Foundation would like to thank the generous sponsors who made this conference possible: