Letter from the President

Complex issues often become clearer when embodied in a personal story.

Last spring I participated in the Partnership for Change conference in Oslo, Norway, an annual gathering of social entrepreneurs, government leaders, and international development experts, where the theme was “Empowering Youth.” How, we wondered, can we strengthen our efforts to enable young people to live constructive, meaningful lives in such turbulent times?

Months later I was still grappling with this question when I attended an EDC panel about preventing youth violence and heard the story of Milthon Medina, a young man living in Honduras. Medina shared how one of EDC’s workforce development programs helped him rise above the poverty and violence that afflicted so many of his peers and threatened to consume his own life. Now a teacher, he has taken full advantage of the opportunities presented to him to make a better life for himself.

There’s a clear message in this story that opportunity is the dividing line between waste and hope. Given education and a chance for a productive, meaningful life, Medina and his peers will be able to address the significant challenges facing the world’s youth—and indeed all of us. Absent education and other positive pathways towards career and health, this promising generation could become a well of aimlessness and strife.

In this annual report you will see how EDC is creating opportunities for education, health, and economic stability for the next generation of citizens, workers, and leaders. The evidence of our success is written in individual stories around the world—from Pueblo, Colorado, where a school community has confronted bullying in innovative ways, to Liberia, where our efforts to link basic health and vocational training are helping young people live healthier, more productive lives.

EDC’s progress is particularly notable given the current environment of fiscal and political uncertainty. Our continued success and significance are primarily due to the commitment and farsightedness of EDC’s talented researchers, technical experts, implementation specialists, and support staff, domestic and international. EDC’s new strategic plan, adopted in 2013, will position us to make an even more significant impact over the next five years.

Helping the billion-plus youth worldwide achieve their potential will be one of EDC’s core goals for years to come. We owe it to the generations that follow us to provide the opportunity, skills, and self-confidence to write a positive story.

Luther S. Luedtke
President and Chief Executive Officer