Peru’s young people took to the streets last week and made their voices heard. Peaceful protests were met with police aggression and two people, Inti Sotelo Camargo and Jack Brian Pintado Sánchez, were killed. By Monday of this week, a new President, Francisco Sagasti, was chosen by congress to lead the country. President Sagasti has held many roles in his career, including leading FINCyT, a government fund to support initiatives in science and innovation.
Here are some lessons we learned the past week:
Listen to young people and take them seriously. The protests were led primarily by young people, many of whom were expressing their political views en masse for the first time. It’s time for the leaders of the country to move outside their bubbles and look for ideas and potential in fresh areas.
Technology can be a necessary and powerful tool. During the protests, timely information was spread through Twitter and Tik Tok. This was essential because some major television networks did not cover important events. These mobile applications and others in Peru are putting more power in the hands of ordinary citizens.
A few people can effect big change. As Margaret Mead said, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” We are now more motivated than ever to help build the Peru that Inti and Jack would have wanted.