Shannyah Adelaida Rujano Castillo
Compiled from La Prensa
Freedom transcends personal action: it implies collective action. Those who fight for everyone’s freedom are true heroes.
I call heroes who year after year come together to empower Panamanian youth and influence social, environmental, educational, health and public policy issues through the Latin American Citizen Action Laboratory (LLAC).
The Ascanio Arosemena Theater opened its doors to young people from Central Panama, East Panama and West Panama, Colón, Comarcas and the Province of Darien.
It was the closing of a day that began in Chiriquí and Azuero in the regional university centers in the first days of October.
We had the opportunity to hold a conversation with the Panama Canal Administrator, Dr. Ricaurte Vásquez.
Dr. Vásquez began the conversation by recalling our history and the events that led to the beginning of our Republican life. The construction of the Panama Canal triggered a series of events that led to us being a Republic today. From this historical fact derives the responsibility we have as Panamanians to take care of it and develop a sense of belonging.
There were issues that did not leave my mind and that make me analyze introspectively, asking myself questions such as: what is our purpose in life? What truly inspires us? Why do we do what we do? Deep but necessary questions in all stages of our life. I highlight the call for attention to take charge of our responsibilities: Panamanians have a bad habit of blaming others for his failures and avoiding his responsibility: this ties us to failure.
All these profound ideas came out of the answers to equally profound questions, asked by young participants. It is inspiring to see how the youth of our country are really interested in our present and future, especially in relation to the Panama Canal, an international reference, which makes Panama a country with global duties.
Listening to the words of the Channel administrator showed us his passion for his work and even more, his desire to empower youth.
Activities like these make Panama great, because youth have a lot to say.
We not only got answers: we left inspired to do and be more for the good of all, of course, remembering the words that Nivia Castrellón always expresses: “We are not looking for stars, we want constellations” and “Nothing replaces collective intelligence”. We are a youth concerned about their future, about education, about health, and who are willing to take action, contribute and improve their quality of life and that of many more. They are guys who have truly brilliant ideas, proposals that can be implemented on a large scale and that have the potential to greatly change the reality of our country.
I must applaud the work that Young People United for Education and the Panama Canal does in opening the doors to young people, listening to their voices and giving importance to their opinions.
More than anything, he highlighted the importance they give to Panamanian education.
I wish there were more organizations like them: Panama needs more people to inspire, fight for education and take action. I am left with the phrase of the administrator Vásquez: “Life will give you a little less than your expectations, so your expectations should always be high.”
Let us have high expectations and dreams to make Panama a great country for everyone.
The author is a participant in the Latin American Laboratory for Citizen Action 2021.