He highlighted the importance of breaking those barriers in various areas that were not allowing us to create a new, much brighter, more promising horizon with more hope for new generations.

· Education is the most important tool, the most important resource Mexican youth can have to be successful throughout their lives, he said.

· Of course we have encountered resistance to this and all the other reforms, because it is breaking barriers, inertia, vices and out of date models that were no longer useful, he said.

He highlighted the great inspiration with which the young people of Mexico with different talents, capacities, ideas and ways of thinking, are contributing to the national project we are constructing.

As he led the ceremony at which he awarded the National Youth Award 2016 today, President Enrique Peña Nieto said that the hallmark of the government he leads is, “Breaking paradigms, breaking the models we had, which were preventing us from advancing more quickly”.

“And breaking those barriers in various areas that were not allowing us to create a new, much brighter, more promising horizon with more hope for the new generations” he added.

The president explained that this is why various reforms have been undertaken, to “Ensure that the younger generations have greater opportunities for fulfillment.” They are designed to enable, “Mexico to continue to grow, to open up work spaces for the young people today who are part of this generation.”

He added: “Every time I touch on the issue of reforms I say it with special pride, because it is no minor issue. This administration has managed, with the participation of various political forces, to break barriers through the changes and structural reforms that in the coming years, and even now, are undoubtedly opening up new paths for them, a new space for the present and future generations, in different sectors and areas”.

He said that a reform that places special emphasis on the most important thing of all, the quality of education, is Education Reform. “Education,” he added, “is the most important tool, the most important resource Mexican youth can have to be successful throughout their lives”.

This reform, he said, is designed to, “Give the new generations the opportunity to have more tools, better knowledge and greater capacities to awaken and enable talent to grow in young people through education.”

The president said that of course we have encountered resistance to this and all the other reforms, because it is breaking barriers, inertia, vices and out of date models that were no longer useful.

He said that this government is proud, “That we are working to promote and achieve these reforms, the most important of which is Education Reform, which, “is designed with the purpose of ensuring the quality of the education received by present and future generations”.

President Peña Nieto highlighted the great inspiration with which the young people of Mexico with different talents, capacities, ideas and ways of thinking contribute to the national project we are constructing":

“That is the route we are taking to ensure that Mexico is an increasingly prosperous nation, with more welfare, and quality for its people,” he said.

President Peña Nieto said he felt infected by, “The value and enormous assets there are in every Mexican, especially in youth.” It is, he explained, “A youth that dreams, is critical and dissatisfied with what we have today and wants to contribute to changing and improving the conditions we have today”.

He congratulated the young people who, with that critical spirit, contributed to the construction of a better nation, “Who are not infected by discouragement or pessimism, for which there should be not room in any young person's heart”.

“There should be room for criticism, for rejecting models that do not work and for contributing to improving what we have today, but not to allow ourselves to be flooded with thoughts that lead to catastrophic scenarios and pessimism, because nothing nourishes us nor lightens the heart when you think like that,” he said.

He explained: “I brought a lot of figures to give you. I won't read them out but I will put on my website for you to look at. But today I was more concerned with thanking you for your life trajectory you have achieved at this young age, and the success you have had, which are a great inspiration to us all.”

At the event, held in the Adolfo López Mateos Hall of the official residence of Los Pinos, President Peña Nieto presented the National Youth Award 2016 in the categories of Academic Achievement, Artistic Expression and Popular Arts, Social Commitment, Strengthening Indigenous Culture, Environmental Protection, Entrepreneurial Ingenuity, Human Rights, Contribution to Political Culture and Democracy, Science and Technology, and Disability and Integration.

He also presented certificates and keys to houses to three beneficiaries of the Youth Housing Program in Zacatecas.

At the end of the event, the President took the winners on a tour of various areas of the official residence of Los Pinos, where he had his photograph taken with them.

THIS IS THE FIRST GENERATION IN THE HISTORY OF MEXICO THAT WILL SEE LIFE IN THE COUNTRY WITHOUT EXTREME POVERTY: JOSÉ ANTONIO MEADE

Social Development Secretary José Antonio Meade, said that President Peña Nieto’s commitment to youth, “Is clear and concrete: 3.5 million young people, only those linked to PROSPERA have grants to attend middle or high school or university”.

He added that so far this year, 265,000 young people who had dropped out of school have obtained their elementary and middle school certificates, which will enable them to continue studying”.

He said that the National Youth Award celebrates young people’s social commitment, innovative spirit and entrepreneurship and above all, love for Mexico. "Those who are here are receiving the highest prize granted by the government,” he said.

He recalled that since the award was instituted in 1975, the country has changed profoundly. He noted that indicators such as education, health, social security, housing quality, and basic services have greatly improved. By way of an example, he said that in 1975, 40 percent of the country's housing had no electricity, whereas today, only one of every 100 houses lacks this service.

Meade Kuribreña explained that, “The sweeping reforms undertaken by this administration lay the foundations for the growth and development of the productive years to come”. Although much remains to be done, he said, “This is the first generation in the history of Mexico that will see a country without extreme poverty".

MORE THAN 300 ACTIONS HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED FOR YOUNG PEOPLE BY THIS ADMINISTRATION THROUGH 42 FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES: IMJUVE

Director General of the Mexican Institute of Youth (IMJUVE) José Manuel Romero Coello, said that "with foresight and the right attitude, President Peña Nieto decided, as one of his government’s tasks, to transform Mexicans’ conditions through sweeping changes in substantive aspects of national life”.

He said the reforms, “Give us a horizon in the present and certainty in the future. Nobody had the determination to promote them. They were held back by political calculations. They did not want to bear the costs or encounter resistance”. He said that postponing structural changes, "had high social and economic costs for our country, particularly for the present generation of young Mexicans”.

He said that by dedicating this month to youth, the government has, “Consolidated a new stage of relations with young people”. He explained that over 300 actions have been undertaken by the current administration through 42 Federal Government agencies.

He highlighted some of them such as the mobility schemes through the Young Path Program, financial support, productive training through the Youth Credit and the Young for a Productive Mexico Program, consultancy for the generation of productive entrepreneurial initiatives, access to health services, the National of Announcements, and access to areas of care, prevention and training operated in the 410 Youth Power Centers across the country.

Other actions involve community social service, support for civil society and youth groups, Youth Power Community Kitchens that guarantee access to food of the young population, and the Youth Housing Program, instituted during the current administration.

We are all here to work together and BUILD A BETTER COUNTRY: TANIA EULALIA MARTÍNEZ CRUZ, PRIZE WINNER

Tania Eulalia Martínez Cruz, winner in Category B of Academic Achievement, said, on behalf of the winners, that, “We are here to take part and build a better country, because you have to work for what you love, the earth beneath our feet, and go back where we have planted our umbilical cords at birth, because this is our land, because Mexico is me, Mexico is you, Mexico is all of us”.

After describing what she has achieved with great efforts throughout her life, she said she is an example of investment in public education. “This is when I realize that Nelson Mandela was right to say that education is the most powerful weapon for changing the world, and I hope that many young people still living in social inequality will have the same opportunity as me,” she said.

She said that, “Mexico’s transformation is based on these stories, struggles waged by brave people in pursuit of their dreams, brave people like my grandmother, my mother, my father and the 18 laureates who are here today.”

She stressed the importance of, “Preserving what can be preserved, such as language, our roots and traditions; but also paving the way for many women in our indigenous communities and other rural areas who face much greater challenges”.

All that remains, she continued, “Is to admit that I love Mexico and I love it because I have faith in it, because I know that we not only have human resources, we have human capital, as we can see here today; because I'm a realistic, because I see that Mexico needs us as much as we need Mexico. I love it, because I am a firm believer that we not only need words, we need to actions to build a better nation”.