PAN AMERICAN DAY

 

WHAT DOES “PAN AMERICAN” DAY MEAN?

WHAT COUNTRIES CELEBRATE A PAN AMERICAN DAY?

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE PAN AMERICAN DAY?

THE FIRST PAN AMERICAN DAY

PAN AMERICAN DAY IN THE HISTORY

HOW TO PLAN A PROGRAM TO CELEBRATE PAN AMERICAN DAY?

 

 

WHAT DOES PAN AMERICAN DAY MEAN?

Pan American Day is a day established by the governments of the American republics as a symbol of their sovereignty and their voluntary union in one continental community.  Each year, on April 14th, by presidential proclamation or legislative enactment, Pan American Day and Week are commemorated in major cities, towns, and communities.

 

WHAT COUNTRIES CELEBRATE THE PAN AMERICAN DAY?

Argentina

Bolivia

Brazil

Chile

Colombia

Costa Rica

Cuba

Dominican Republic

Ecuador

El Salvador

Guatemala

Haiti

Honduras

Mexico

Nicaragua

Panama

Paraguay

Peru

United States

Uruguay

Venezuela  

 

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF A PAN AMERICAN DAY?

Pan American Day has deep roots going back to the historic date in 1826, when the Congress of Panamá, which I, Simón Bolívar, convoked, was installed with these prophetic words: “This may be called the Day of America”.  “This was the first step toward [my goal] of a “Congress of all the American States”.    

It was just 64 years later when these ideas were crowned with success.  Meeting in Washington, on April 14th. 1890, the First International Conference of American States established the International Union of American Republics, known as the OAS

   

THE FIRST PANAMERICAN DAY

The first Pan American Day was celebrated throughout the Americas on April 14th, 1931.  In Washington, U.S. President Herbert Hoover was the principal speaker at an outdoor ceremony, which included the planting of a tree on OAS grounds.  

Several countries (El Salvador, Guatemala and Haiti) declared April 14th a national holiday.  In these nations, as in other Pan American Union countries, there were diplomatic receptions, public and civil celebrations, school programs and a plethora of proclamations promoting the principles of Pan Americanism.  

One such declaration asserted that in the spirit of Pan Americanism, the nations of the Americas would: “reaffirm the ideals of peace and continental solidarity which one and all profess, strengthen their natural and historic bonds and recall the common interests and aspirations which make the countries of this hemisphere a center of positive influence in the universal movement in favor of peace, justice and law among nations”.

 

PAN AMERICAN DAY IN THE HISTORY

During the 1930’s, the commemoration of Pan American Day became a significant event throughout the American republics.  Education officials and teachers, at all levels of instruction and in all the 21 republics of the Pan American Union, used Pan American Day as an opportunity to increase the awareness of students about the people and cultures in the American nations.  Pageants, plays, music and dance programs, assemblies, parades and contests: all were organized as Pan American activities, marking the passage of April 14th.  

In 1933, the central act in the commemoration of Pan American Day at the Pan American Union headquarters in Washington was the presentation by the Government of Venezuela of a bust of Francisco Miranda, which today –along with the busts of other defenders of the indendence and sovereignty of the member states—graces the Hall of Heroes in the OAS Building.  

In 1935, the Governing Board of the Pan American Union marked the day by signing the Roerich Pact which protected historic monuments and scientific and cultural institutions in times of war (19 years before a similar, but more elaborate convention was to be signed in the Hague in 1954).   

Among the other conventions signed as part of the commemoration of Pan American Day were: Treaty of Central American Fraternity (1934); the Treaty on the Protection of  Moveable Property of Historic Value (1935); the Agreement Establishing the Inter-American Development Bank (1959); and the Agreement for Technical Cooperation between the OAS General Secretariat and the Latin American Organization for Energy (OLADE) (1992).  

On Pan American Day in 1940, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, heralding the hemispheric alliance that was to hold the Americas together during World War II, warned that “the hand that touches one of us, touches us all”.  

In 1966, the Government of Spain selected Pan American Day as the occasion for the dedication of the statue of Queen Isabel of Spain, which was installed in the approach to the main entrance of the OAS Building.  

On Pan American Day in 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, remembering that the “OAS Charter pledges us to individual liberty and social justice”, stressed the importance of a policy based on the promotion, respect and defense of human rights.

 

HOW TO PLAN A PROGRAM TO CELEBRATE PAN AMERICAN DAY?

Whether you are seven years old or seventy, a teacher o student, a civic leader or president of an organization, you may take part in celebrating the ALL AMERICAN DAY.  Experienced leaders and promoters do not require directions in organizing.  However, if you have never participated in a program or organized one, let me tell you how to go about it. 

The ideal program is one that is planned for the entire community, utilizing all available local resources. A successful community program calls for at least three key committees: an Organizing Committee, Program Committee, and Publicity Committee.  Leading members of the community representing different professions and interests may be invited to become sponsors, either active or honorary.  

If yours is a college or university town, you may find students and professors from one or more of the other countries of the Hemisphere.  Ask them to join one of your committees and take part in the program.  Invite consular officials in the area to be guests of honor at public functions and to address meetings.  Former residents of Latin America and recently returned travelers can make valuable contributions to programs by showing movies, slides, photographs, or handicrafts they may have collected on their trips.

 

Public Functions of a community program

a)     Ask the governor of your state and mayor of your city to issue a proclamation of Pan American Day and Week a month or two in advance.

b)    Inaugurate Pan American Week observances with a ceremony at the City Hall or a community center.

c)     Arrange an outdoor function, such as the planting of a “Peace Tree” or “Peace Garden”, or a flag exchange ceremony to symbolize inter-American friendship.

d)     A good climax for the week’s activities is a Pan American fiesta, banquet of ball.

e)     The most attractive public event is a pan American Day parade, including a motorcade of 24 floats representing the 24 member nations of the OAS.  

Religious Institutions

Because inter-American friendship is rooted in a deep sense of spiritual unity and brotherhood, it is particularly appropriate to commemorate the spirit of Pan Americanism in churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions.

 

Educational Institutions

In many schools, colleges, and universities, Pan American Week is one of the most outstanding events of the year.  A Pan American Day Assembly of the entire student body is usually featured by the orchestra or choral club; a play or pageant presented by the dramatic club; or  a movie on life or travel in the other American nations.  

Classes in history, geography, social studies, and the Spanish language generally focus their studies on the OAS and its member states.  All classes, from art to zoology, can develop a particular inter-American interest.  Student interest is stimulated particularly by awarded to the winners on April 14th.  The Spanish Club or a school or college often takes the lead in planning and organizing the Pan American Week program.

 

Special Exhibits

The public is especially attracted to exhibits and window displays featuring Latin American handicrafts, native costumes from different countries, ceramics and art, and products not grown in the United States.  For example, grocery stores can arrange exhibits featuring coffee –the “World’s Most Popular Bean”- with a display of some of the leading Latin American brands which they stock. 

Other types of exhibits are presented by travel agencies, banks, post offices, motor clubs, department stores, museums, and art galleries.  Libraries, both public and institutional, have a good opportunity to exhibit outstanding books by leading Latin American writ=ers and to feature the numerous publications of the OAS, issued particularly for the general public.