Ana Carolina Silva, one of the representatives from Portugal in the Young Ibero-American Leaders Program, is in favour of greater integration between Spain, Portugal, and Ibero-American countries.

At just 22 years of age, this brilliant Economics student at the Catholic-Lisbon School of Business and Economics was selected by the Carolina Foundation and Santander Bank among hundreds of young people from all of Latin America to be part of the Young Latino American Leaders program. To this end, Ana Carolina Silva, with an exceptional academic curriculum and specialty in international relations, had to prove her personal projects and social skills from among dozens of candidates.

“Having come this far it is an opportunity to meet young people with very good ideas about the politics and societies of Spain, Portugal and all of Latin America”. Being aware of the opportunity she had during a frenetic schedule, she did not hesitate to bring up at the group meetings a topic that was of particular relevance to her: the links between Spain, Portugal, and the Spanish and Portuguese speaking American countries: “It is important that Spain and Portugal strengthen ties with each other in order to approach America. On the basis of their common history and their language, they have the chance to act as a bridge between America and the European Union “.

Her concern is not a coincidence. In fact, most of her peers agree with her when she mentions this need. At a historic moment when the requirements of transnational pacts that allow greater social, technological, and entrepreneurial progress become more evident, it seems obvious, as Silva points out, it’s “almost an act of reflex” to find ties in countries with who Portugal shares culture, history, language, and diplomatic relations: “Today we maintain good relations, but more and more cooperation is needed”.

Despite the tight timetable, which brought her to the main political headquarters of the European Union and to be received by the monarchy, let her exchange opinions with other promising young political and social scientists from countries like Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and El Salvador. They spoke about the challenges facing their generation: inequality, immigration, social marginalization, and climate change. “Many problems are common to all our countries, so it is important that we communicate with each other and explain the different ideas we have to solve them”.

Ana Carolina, like many other young people in the program, is critical of behavior that earlier generations have carried out in different countries, and highlights that collective equality and progress must be the greatest challenge faced by her generation. “Progress must be collective, it must be part of a process in which we all contribute, and it has to be based in knowledge. It is the only way to overcome the challenges that we will face in the future “.