Transforming Futures: The Annenberg Center for Third Space Thinking Partners with the Azteca Foundation to Empower Youth

Earlier this semester, I had an amazing opportunity to meet with esteemed members of the Azteca Foundation, an organization dedicated to fostering the empowerment of Mexico's youth through education, nurturing Mexico's future leaders for a brighter tomorrow. 

For more than 27 years, they have continuously worked to transform Mexico through high-impact educational programs and by working alongside public and private sectors and local communities. Through their three pillars of youth empowerment, environmental sustainability, and community engagement, they empower their students to become multi-dimensional leaders, equipping them with the tools to tackle global challenges and drive positive change in their communities and beyond. 

During our discussion, the Azteca team expressed their interest in collaborating with the USC Annenberg Center for Third Space Thinking. They would like to send a cohort of their brightest students to join our annual Third Space Youth Institute. They firmly believe that equipping their students with essential soft skills through this program will be instrumental in preparing them for success in both the professional and academic world.

Their participation in the TSYI summer program would offer their students the opportunity to deeply engage with the ACE-IT framework for problem-solving. Through this experience, participants will gain access to a toolkit composed of five essential skills needed for their success: adaptability, cultural competency, empathy, intellectual curiosity, and 360-degree thinking. By nurturing these core attributes, TSYI will not only equip these students with the tools to navigate academic and professional challenges, but also prepare them for lifelong roles as adaptable, collaborative, experimental, and resilient thinkers.

I find the Azteca Foundation’s work to be truly inspiring. In addition to sending young individuals to participate in our TSYI program, they also aim to provide fully funded scholarships to students in need who have the academic potential to thrive and excel at esteemed academic institutions like USC. I grew up listening to stories about students’ aspirations for a better life, but due to the severe poverty they faced, they were unable to continue their studies. The  work and the relationships  the Azteca Foundation is establishing with outside institutions and organizations, proves their undeniable commitment to helping Mexico’s youth achieve their fullest potential. 

As a first generation college student and the daughter of Mexican migrant parents, they always instilled in me the importance of receiving a higher education. I grew up listening to my parents aspirations and dreams, and how they were unable to come to fruition due to the economic and social disparities they faced back home. Recognizing the inequities, they decided to leave their home, in hopes to provide their children with better opportunities.

From being the first in my family to pursue a higher education, to winning an Emmy for a documentary that talks about the migrant experience, I am immensely proud of my accomplishments. My parents sacrificed a lot in order for  me to be where I am today, and I truly owe all of my accomplishments to them, their sacrifices, and continuous encouragement. Being a student at USC has offered me the opportunity to not only challenge myself academically, but to grow as a person, and make a difference. It is through these opportunities that  I am able to amplify my experiences as a first generation Latina, and represent my family, our culture, and my community.

This partnership between USC Annenberg Center for Third Space Thinking and The Azteca Foundation marks the start of a lifelong friendship and meaningful collaboration. Through their active participation, the students from the Azteca Foundation will be given similar opportunities to reach their full  potential by attending the Third Space Youth Institute this summer.