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Honor Committee
Maria Geraldes
Directora Geral da Fundação da Juventude
First job: hostess at industrial fairs, mainly textiles and shoes, with language skills in English, French, Spanish and German, at the age of 23. In 1986 left to Lisbon to be an adviser of the First Secretary of States for Youth Affairs, having as main responsibilities the dossiers about the EEC/EU and Council of Europe. Till 1989 represented the Portuguese Government in several international forums on education, employment, training, professional mobility, culture, arts, entrepreneurship and voluntary work, and made part of different committees of experts at the well as the European Commission at the Council of Europe. In 1990, entered to the Youth Foundation council body (a newborn private institution expertise on youth matters at a national level), being invited to accept a full time job, as General Director, in 1991. Within the Foundation, which mission is to support and promote the integration of young people in the professional field, launched several innovative programs, mainly in the areas of employment, science, setting up enterprises, culture and arts and social intervention, being, simultaneously, volunteer in some organizations, like the Red Cross and a children’s hospital in Porto. In 2004, was again invited by the government to be the chairperson of the public body, responsible for the youth field, in Lisbon, where she remained for more than 3 years, having a continued interest in the areas of employment, professionalization and autonomy, participation and mobility of the youngsters. By April 2007, the challenge of managing new buildings/structures under the responsibility of the Youth Foundation, made her decide to go back to Porto and re-enter the organization she helped to raise. Since then new projects are on the run, with national impact and several international partnerships, namely “Palácio das Artes – Fábrica de Talentos” (Palace of the Arts – Talents’ Factory), whose doors will be formally open in 2009. For detailed information on the Youth Foundation, please go to www.fjuventude.pt