Santiago Youth Conference

Chile | 12-14 July 2013

The cold auditorium of a public technical school in Santiago, Chile, was warmed for three consecutive days by the energy and spirits of some 500 youth from Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Some had travelled by plane, as border crossings over the mountains during the winter time are unreliable; others had travelled by land for almost three days, crossing the snow-capped Andes and picking up friends along the way. All had one thing in common: they were joyful, excited, and eager to discuss with their peers the true meaning and potential of the period of youth.

The day before the conference began, those present visited the site where the future House of Worship in Chile is being built––a tangible symbol of the connection between the spiritual and social aspects of life. Inspired by this experience, the youth discussed during the conference sessions how they could make a positive contribution to every space in which they interact with others, such as within the family, with friends, in school, and at work. A youth from Uruguay explained that “being engaged in studies or work does not mean that one cannot participate or contribute to the betterment of society.” Another one shared that “we have to live a life of service to others.”

“In the work that we are doing we are all learning and growing together, united.”

A participant at the conference

The conference was full of joy and enthusiasm. Inspired by their lively discussions, every group presented musical pieces, dances and skits that illustrated some of the concepts they were learning about. Some youth from the Mapuche and Toba communities also shared traditional songs and dances. Continental Counsellors Daniel Duhart and Beatriz Carmona, who represented the Universal House of Justice at the conference, addressed the youth on various occasions and shared with them many encouraging thoughts. At the close of the conference nobody wanted to leave. Singing and discussions continued late into the evening. “The conference has changed the way I see reality,” said one of the participants, “I used to think that everything had to be done individually, but now I see that we have to think about social progress in order to achieve personal progress, and that we are not alone.”


  • The youth divided into groups based on the region they came from. Each group was named after one of the qualities identified by the Universal House of Justice in its 1 July 2013 message to describe the characteristics of youth
  • At the end of the conference, a youth from Paraguay observed: “I arrived here not knowing most of the youth, but right away I felt welcome and was considered a friend by all those whom I encountered”
  • Given the low temperatures, many of the youth found comfort by sitting near the available heaters during the workshop sessions or playing sports during the breaks


  • Many travelled to the conference by bus, crossing the Andes mountain chain

  • Traveling to the conference together gave the participants an opportunity to strengthen bonds of friendship

  • Youth from Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay shared their views on the role of their generation in society

  • The conference took place in the auditorium of a school

  • One of the participants shares his insights during a workshop session

  • A group photograph was taken at the end of the conference

  • Many enjoyed their breaks and warmed up by playing sports

  • The participants planned ways in which they could systematically contribute to the well-being of their communities upon their return home

  • Each of the groups came up with artistic presentations to illustrate the concepts they explored

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