At the end of March, 22 youth leaders from Guatemala and El Salvador, the SERES team, and members of the new directive board gathered together for a weekend to connect, reflect, and work on defining their vision for the future of SERES.
Throughout this weekend, youth leaders elected their representatives to the directive board, one ambassador for each country. In addition, the president, vice president, and treasurer were all selected for the upcoming year.
“What has impressed me about the work and vision of SERES is the relevance that it gives to the local, that it gives a more active role to the youth that form the network of SERES; and more than anything the flexibility that they have, comprehending that each place and each context is different, which is why you can’t give only one, general solution for all of the communities,” says Elizabeth Pellecer Rivera, the new president of the executive board of Asociación SERES. “Moreover, in the history of our countries, I think that the topic of leadership is key in order for things to change.”
Pellecer Rivera discovered SERES in 2015 while focusing on the organization as the subject of her thesis for her master’s degree in international development.
“When I had the opportunity to meet the youth involved, during my thesis and at the General Assembly [this year], I was able to notice that they have a different attitude – different from other youth that I’ve met before, with more initiative and more of a desire to change things,” said Pellecer Rivera. “And although the situation doesn’t change in a day, I believe that initiatives like this one are important in order to achieve change in these countries.”
Below you can get to know a little bit more about the new members of the executive board of Asociación SERES:
President, Asociación SERES
Born and raised in Mixco, Guatemala, Elizabeth Pellecer Rivera obtained her undergraduate degree in eco-tourism from Universidad de Valle Guatemala in 2010, and graduated with a master’s degree in international development studies from Palacký University Olomouc in the Czech Republic in 2016. She now works in health studies, investigating social and communications aspects of the field.
From her experiences working in community tourism and environmental projects, Elizabeth has learned the importance of a local focus in development initiatives, because each context is different, along with the importance of empowerment in achieving sustainability.
Aside from her work, Elizabeth’s interests include traveling, music, and spending time with family and friends.
Vice President, Asociación SERES
Anisa Cifuentes was born and raised in Guatemala City, Guatemala. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology, with concentrations in Sociology and Art and Design, from Purdue University in Indiana in 2006. In 2016 Anisa graduated with a master’s in human resource management and organizational development from Universidad Galileo.
She currently works as the Education Manager at Glasswing International, directing educational programs in Guatemalan public schools. In 2013 she co-founded Café Pendiente Guatemala, the Guatemalan branch of an international initiative which mobilizes people buying coffee at participating businesses to purchase an additional coffee to be given to someone in need. Her professional and academic experience has been focused on the social action and non-profit sector.
Anisa is also a certified yoga instructor for children and adults since 2015.
Treasurer, Asociación SERES
Dr. Miller is an Adjunct Professor at Framingham University, Consulting Partner with Empowerment Unlimited and an internationally renowned education and facilitator. She is also currently serving as President of SERES Global.
Upon retiring from Colegio Maya, where Dr. Miller was the director for 9 years, she made a decision to evolve her retirement into an invitation to be more present, more human and more full of grace and thankfulness.
Sherry has been a passionate advocate for SERES since first meeting the founder in a small coastal community in 2012 with two SERES alumni. Since then, she has supported SERES growth and development with her tireless energy, her deep belief in helping youth find their voices and empowering them to lead their communities, her passion for Appreciative Inquiry and Appreciative Leadership and her hope to be a part of caring for our planet in the best possible ways we can.
Elected Youth Ambassador Representative, Guatemala
Axel Salanic is a SERES youth leader and local ambassador from Cantel, Quetzaltenango.
He currently is a student of Pedagogy at the Universidad de San Carlos in Quetzaltenango, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. He is part of the Municipal Youth Council of Cantel, and has a certificate in music. In Axel’s opinion, “there is no better tool for combatting social and natural problems than sustainable development.” He first found about SERES in 2015 and has been part of their programs of empowerment and leadership as a youth ambassador since 2016.
Axel is very interested in learning about historical and social processes in Guatemala. He dedicates his free time to reading and practicing the piano.
Elected Youth Ambassador Representative, El Salvador
Yeymy is a SERES youth leader and ambassador from Suchitoto, El Salvador. Currently she is participating in different processes and spaces in various institutions and organizations, such as the municipal government of Suchitoto, the intersectional environmental roundtable, the rural youth network of Cuscatlán, and ADES. She studied at the superior technician level in tourism management and development at the Universidad Católica de El Salvador.
She is especially interested in organic agriculture, entrepreneurship, and popular education. She discovered SERES in 2012 when she participated in an Actívate Congress, and later on the youth sustainability summit which she also participated in that same year. She’s been involved in different congresses in Ahuachapán, Panchimalco, and Suchitoto, and has worked in supporting action plans of other groups in other departments and communities. Ultimately she went through the process of becoming a SERES ambassador and was elected by the ambassador network to be the 2017 Salvadoran youth representative to the Asociación SERES executive board.
Apart from her work, Yeymy likes playing soccer and working with children.