The Social Inclusion initiative was launched in 2010 to address the systemic problem of social, economic, and political exclusion throughout the Western Hemisphere.
With funding from the Ford Foundation, Americas Society, leveraging its relationship with Council of the Americas, aims to strengthen the representation of marginalized groups by coordinating new research and promoting fresh debate on how the public and private sectors can create more inclusive societies in the region. The Social Inclusion initiative involves in-country research, white papers, dedicated issues of Americas Quarterly, and high-level private roundtable meetings and public conferences on topics of inclusion.
The research conducted during the first year of the initiative resulted in white papers on social inclusion in health care, education and youth and market access. For each topic, AS convened roundtables with high-level public and private sector officials to discuss the results and initiatives in these areas.
The second year of research focuses on how to promote labor market access for disadvantaged youth and the policy outcomes of increased political representation of indigenous populations and Afro-Latinos across several countries. Through Americas Quarterly and Americas Society’s website (www.as-coa.org), the initiative will enlist bloggers from new communities to engage in interactive discussions on the AQ website (www.americasquarterly.org) and highlight policies and innovations that advance social inclusion.
- February 2012. Access Political Representation & Social Inclusion: A Comparative Study of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Guatemala and the four individual country case studies. This white paper presents the findings and conclusions of case-study research across four Latin American countries, each with sizable Indigenous and/or Afro-descendant populations. It explores the evolution of Indigenous and Afro-descendant representation in national legislatures and constitutional assemblies and, looking in detail at 12 congressional sessions and two constituent assemblies, measures the legislative outcomes and effectiveness of those representatives in matters of social policy and law.
- February 2012. Access Bringing Youth into Labor Markets: Public–Private Efforts amid Insecurity and Migration. This white paper presents findings on ways to ease access to labor markets—particularly for at-risk youth and returning migrants—in El Salvador and Mexico. It draws attention to private-sector initiatives that promote youth employment through skills training, entrepreneurship and innovative new business models.
- May 2011. Access Taking Youth to Market: Expanding Formal Labor Market Access through Public-Private Collaboration. This white paper presents the initial findings and conclusions of Americas Society’s Ford Foundation-funded research on easing access to labor markets of disadvantaged youth, carried out under the Americas Society’s Social Inclusion program. The goal of this paper is to draw attention to a sample of innovative programs that promote formal employment in Colombia and Peru.
- February 2011. Access Building Inclusive Societies through Access to Quality Education: The Role of the Private Sector. This white paper draws on examples of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in education across the hemisphere and includes a comprehensive set of categories that define the goals, impact, and operation of the universe of PPPs. Americas Society later conducted field research in Brazil and Peru to further understand the tactics and effects of these efforts to expand access to quality education for underprivileged groups, primarily racial minorities, and the poor.
- February 2011. Access Addressing Systemic Challenges to Social Inclusion in Health Care: Initiatives of the Private Sector. This white paper aims to draw attention to a sample of new practices that increase access to quality health care for marginalized populations and spur businesses, governments and nonprofit organizations to commit more to address this issue. The focus is on Colombia and Mexico, where ongoing national efforts have significantly increased health care access for those traditionally left out of the health care system. Lee el resumen ejecutivo del reporte en español.
Learn more about Americas Society's Social Inclusion programming.
Read summaries meetings and roundtable discussions.
- New York: February 2012. “Social Inclusion: Defining and Measuring the Concept.” As a precursor to the Spring 2012 issue of Americas Quarterly dedicated to social inclusion, this panel addressed the need to develop comprehensive measures of social inclusion, taking into account income inequality, unemployment and the skills gap, access to education, health care and affordable housing, and work-life balance.
- Lima: November 2011. “Responsible Investment and Social Inclusion.” As part of the annual Latin Americas Cities Conference in Lima, Americas Society/Council of the Americas convened a panel with several private companies to discuss opportunities for cross-sector collaboration to improve inclusion in education, health care and gender equality.
- New York: May 2011. “Youth Employment in the Americas: Challenges and Prospects.” Americas Society hosted a panel with public- and private-sector experts to discuss employment issues and strategies to reduce the barriers young adults face in entering the job market. The panel also served as the launch of the Taking Youth to Market: Expanding Formal Labor Market Access through Public-Private Collaboration white paper.
- Mexico City: April 2011. “Public-Private Collaboration to Expand Health Care Access in Mexico.” Americas Society partnered with Pfizer Inc. to a host a discussion on how cross-sector collaboration in the design and implementation of targeted health programs can lead to greater buy-in and improved scalability and sustainability.
- Rio de Janeiro: February 2011. "Social Inclusion and the Next Generation: Building Opportunities for At-risk Youth." Americas Society partnered with Viva Rio—a Rio de Janeiro-based nongovernmental organization—to host a discussion on how government and civil society in Rio de Janeiro can create opportunities for at-risk youth, especially in crime-ridden and pacified areas.
- Miami: February 2011. "Education Policy and Reform in Latin America: Innovation, Inclusion, and Public-Private Partnerships." In partnership with Miami Dade College and the City of Miami, this discussion looked at education innovations in Panama and best practices for creating effective partnerships between the public and private sectors to promote the inclusion of traditionally marginalized populations.
- Bogotá: February 2011. "Expanding Youth Access to Formal Labor Markets through Public-Private Collaboration." In collaboration with Instituto Ciencia Política, Americas Society hosted a roundtable discussion to explore ways that governments, the private sector, NGOs, and multilateral institutions can collaborate to expand formal labor market access for disadvantaged Colombian youth.
- New York: December 2010. "Health Care in the Americas: Public-Private Efforts to Increase Access." This discussion revolved around such key questions as the importance of investing in the base of the pyramid, the challenges and successes of public and private sector practices, and the role of technology in bringing health care to excluded groups.
- New York: December 2010. "Americas Quarterly Fall 2010 Launch: Access to Education - Who Has It and Why Does It Matter?" Panelists discussed innovations in education, the role of the private sector, how to close the inequality gap, ways to measure educational performance, and the effects of education on democracy in the region.
- Miami: October 2010. "Americas Quarterly Launch: How Business and Technology Are Expanding Access to Health Care." This discussion centered on the health care sector’s changing landscape with a focus on Mexico, the effect of technology use on health care access, and the importance of inter-sectoral collaboration and partnerships in harnessing technology’s potential.
- New York: June 2010. "Educational Reform in the Americas: Increasing Access and Quality through Public-Private Partnerships." This program explored the role of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in expanding access to primary, secondary, and post-secondary, education with a focus on the Dominican Republic and Panama.