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  • Searching for Ideas on Policies for the Youth in Mexico City, a City Investing in the Youth

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    Park Won-soon, the Mayor of Seoul, having a conversation with the younger generation at PILARES, the social innovation center in Mexico City.

    At 11:30 a.m. (local time) on the 10th, Mayor Park Won-soon, currently touring around Central and South America, visited the social innovation center built in Mexico City PILARES. It is a center tailor-made for the young generation living in underprivileged residential areas with low accessibility to educational services. The center was one of the focal projects pursued by Claudia Sheinbaum, the Mayor of Mexico City.

    PILARES carries the meaning, “Points of Innovation, Freedom, Art, Education and Knowledge.” Various customized education is provided to young adults to have left school and are easily exposed to crime. The tailored education is expected to help such young adults return to school or become engaged in economic activities by starting small businesses. The education includes conflict resolution, psychotherapy, and education on violation prevention, as well as education on gardening and installation of solar-powered heaters. Differently themed centers are being established to fit the traits of the residential areas of the underprivileged communities.

    The PILARES center to which Mayor Park visited was the Frida Kahlo PILARES, which is located in Cuauhtémoc and is a center specialized in art and physical education for adolescents.
    Mexico City adopted education for the underprivileged communities based on the idea that urban/residential area restoration since the earthquake in Mexico in September 2017 and the realization of equal rights among citizens in the city is the hands of the young people.

    By 2020, the city aims to establish a total of 300 centers in 16 boroughs to be used by 700,000 citizens.

    After Mayor Park Won-soon took office, Seoul has been making diverse attempts for innovative youth policies, including the “Youth Allowance” that invests in the youth and the possibilities of young people; the “Youth Field,” an organization directly belonging to the Mayor that oversees youth policies; and the “Youth’s Self-Government,” the first government of its kind in the nation that was made to expand the participation and power of the young generation from setting an agenda and making suggestions to planning the budget.

    Mayor Park Won-soon discussed methods of cooperation and interaction between Seoul and Mexico City at a meeting with Marcelo Luis Ebrand Casaubon, the former mayor of Mexico City, at the headquarters of the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs on the 10th.

    At 10:45 a.m. (local time), the Mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, discussed how Seoul and Mexico City could cooperate and interact with each other at a meeting with Marcelo Luis Ebrand Casaubón, the Secretary of Exterior Relations of Mexico, at the headquarters of the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs. Kim Sang-il, the Korean Ambassador to Mexico, and Bruno Figueroa, the Mexican Ambassador to Korea, also joined in on the meeting.

    At 12:30 p.m. (local time), Mayor Park had a luncheon with five experts in Korean studies living in Mexico at a restaurant in downtown Mexico City. The luncheon was a venue for a conversation on continuous cooperation between Korea and Mexico. Most of the experts were professors or researchers working at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (El Colegio de México) who have long been studying East Asia and the Republic of Korea.

    At 2:15 p.m. (local time), Mayor Park visited the Zocalo, a plaza that is symbolic of Mexico and played the role of a representative space for historical citizen’s policy. With an area of 56,000㎡, it is the second-largest square in the world.

    The Zocalo is located in the center of Mexico City. Its formal name is “Plaza de la Constitución” (Constitution Plaza). As befits its name, a huge Mexican flag hangs in the center of the plaza. The plaza plays the role of being the cultural, artistic, and economic hub of the city. Historical buildings and public facilities are located around the plaza, including the Catedral Metropolitana (Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral) and the National Palace. The commercial area around the plaza is vitalizes and includes restaurants, making it very similar to the Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul.

    While visiting the Zocalo, Mayor Park searched for a diverse array of ideas on how to recruit political, economic, and cultural resources from Gwanghwamun Square so that it can be reborn into a square of history, as well as a square for citizens in 2021, and how to harmonize the square with old and new architectural environments.

    Park Won-soon, the Mayor of Seoul, visited PILARES, the social innovation center, on the 10th. Here, the Mayor is participating in an interview on the youth policies of the two cities, together with Claudia Sheinbaum, the Mayor of Mexico City and the woman who led the PILARES project.

    Mayor Park Won-soon said, “Although different solutions are adopted by different cities, the ideas on policies for the citizens are always right. I anticipate that Seoul will receive a wide array of various ideas through Mexico City’s practical policies that are directly related to the lives of the citizens, such as PILARES, the social innovation center tailor-made for the young generation who have limited access to educational services, and the Zocalo, a space that represents citizen policy.”