Maty, 19, Mexico
Maty grew up in Mexico amid poverty and corruption, an environment which left her looking for a better way. However, it wasn’t until the atrocities in 2006 when Israel and Hezbollah waged war in Lebanon, that she knew what to do. “I realized that I needed to take action. I realized that I needed to help make peace.” Maty created “PEACE–MATES” to spread her message. The program, which focuses on finding peace through ending conflicts, educates through interactive art, music, and theater workshops. These events occur at all different times and for all different ages ranging from class time to weekends; from kindergarten through 12th grade because Maty understands the importance of getting kids involved as early as she was when she was inspired. The “PEACE–MATES” workshops have influenced approximately 3,000 young minds and Maty has received dozens of personal thanks, something she is extremely proud of. “They thank me for awaking their interest in such an elemental and delicate subject. It is a great feeling.” In addition to interviewing and moderating discussions between respected, influential leaders, Maty’s strong work ethic and passionate devotion to her cause has garnered her a relationship with Mexico’s Secretary of Education and the department has been supporting her and helping her promote and spread her message throughout the nation’s school systems. Maty has also interviewed and moderated discussions among various influential leaders, something that motivates her and drives her to reach her vision of what she sees education as nowadays.