Leaders and envoys pose for photos during the 25th Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government in Cartagena, Colombia on Oct. 29, 2016. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Saturday inaugurated the 25th Ibero-American Summit of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries, in the northern port city of Cartagena. (Xinhua/Mauricio Collado)
CARTAGENA, Colombia, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Saturday inaugurated the 25th Ibero-American Summit of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries, in the northern port city of Cartagena.
Leaders and envoys from 22 countries, including Spain, Portugal and Latin American states gathered to discuss education, youth and entrepreneurship, themes tabled by host Santos.
In his opening address, Santos also touched on his government's ongoing peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, noting it would impact the life of young Colombians and future generations.
The peace process suffered an unexpected setback in early October, after Colombians voted against a peace deal signed by the two sides, sending them back to the negotiating table.
"My intention was and is to transform this surprising outcome into a great opportunity," said Santos, referring to the peace deal's defeat in an Oct. 2 referendum.
"We have worked day and night to advance in these inclusive talks with all sectors of society: those who voted 'no', those who voted 'yes' and those who didn't vote," said Santos.
"Who else but our (country's) youth can inspire us to persevere in the effort" to reach a peace deal acceptable to all sides, asked Santos, adding "we have chosen their reality, problems and opportunities as the theme of this summit."
Santos touted several government measures designed to benefit youth, including university scholarships and job-placement programs.