Toward Assisi . The workshop designed by Amaya that helps young people integrate
by: Paola Del Vecchio, Avvenire
The young Iberian economist has received several awards for her innovations. She will participate in September in The Economy of Francesco: “I aim to foster a community that dreams big.”
She describes herself as curious, eclectic and decisive. And in her 20s, Amaya Vizmanos, one of Iberia’s great business talents, is driven by a powerful and contagious energy that is an inspiration to many of her generation. Her ambition? “To be an agent of systemic change, to try to find new solutions for the inclusion and integral development of people,” she assures from Pamplona, where she was born. Her aspiration is “to promote a community that dreams big, thinking in the best for people, and that rediscovers curiosity and the desire to work for the future and for the common good.” For this reason, Amaya will be in Assisi in September to participate, along with young people from 70 countries, in The Economy of Francis, responding to the Pontiff’s invitation to bring forth ideas and dreams for radical change in the economy. At the University of Navarre Amaya is completing a double degree in Law and International Economics. An educational path that he supplements with a third academic itinerary in the humanities at the Distance University of Madrid. He explains his choice as follows, “Curiosity moves me. I chose law to understand the rules of how society works. Economics to understand how economic systems act and people’s behavior in managing scarce resources. Humanities, to understand the human being.”
Amaya is part of the University Francisco de Victoria’s School of Leadership and the Women Lead to Inspire program, which supports excellence in the field of strategy consulting. And she also appears in the ‘Business & Economics’ category of the Nova 111 Students list, which identifies “profiles ‘under 35’ who have already achieved unique successes and show the potential for a positive and relevant impact in the future.” An example of its outcome is the incubator of so-called Generation Z projects, the Xirimiri Lab, which Amaya Vizmanos launched when she was just 18 years old with two friends, incorporated into the consulting service of the Pamplona City Council’s Youth House. “The concept,” she explains, “is that of ‘xirimiri,’ the thick, light rain of the Basque Country, which makes the field bloom in spring, but also ends up soaking you. In the same way, drop by drop,” he notes, “the lab generates a support network for young people to help them connect and integrate with each other, learn about the realities that exist in the region, pose challenges and solve problems, and undertake social and innovative initiatives.
The Xirimiri Lab offers free global and multidisciplinary training with seminars and conferences. And it aims to become a kind of youth think tank for associations, organizations and institutions, and thus contribute to public policy. But that’s not all. True to the spirit of ‘adapt and be flexible in adversity, to turn it into opportunities,’ Amaya was also the first to realize its vision, during the pandemic confinement. “While we were confined, I was thinking that a year earlier I was preparing for the selectivity, the university entrance exam. And I was reflecting on the difficulties that all high school seniors must experience in preparation for the exam, under such difficult conditions. So I imagined a way to help them,” he recalls. Said and done. The economist created in Instagram the movement @yoteayudoconlasele, I help you with selectivity, and then a web, which netted more than 724 university volunteers, willing to tutor the 6,000 high schoolers, who signed up and benefited.
An experience that grew with even after the lockdown beyond the strictly university sphere, and that has availed Amaya the ‘Innovactora Junior 2020’ award. Do they weigh so many accolades at only 20 years old?, we ask her. “For me the important thing is to do as much as I can day after day,” she replies. “I believe that life has given me many gifts and my responsibility is to share them with those who have not had the same opportunities.” Active, dynamic and supportive, Amaya is also a traveler who accumulates many community experiences abroad: “I participated in a cooperative trip to Uganda during my freshman year of high school, and then to Ethiopia the following year,” she recalls. “But one of the most enriching was the walking route through the Pyrenees, which I did in the summer of 2019 with people at risk of social exclusion from all over the world. It’s where I touched on how we are all the same, we seek the same affection, we are moved by the same desire to share life, the same transforming gaze.”