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President Martinelli and OAS Secretary General Inaugurate the Virtual Educa Panama 2012 Meeting

  June 18, 2012

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, called for the adaptation of youth educational systems throughout the hemisphere to “the new global challenges,” in his opening speech at the Virtual Educa Panama 2012 International Meeting, which takes place from June 18 to 22 in the Panamanian capital with the slogan “Education, Innovation, competitiveness, development: the keys to our future.”

The meeting of the Virtual Educa initiative, jointly inaugurated by the President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, and the OAS Secretary General, looks to contribute to the strategic consideration of the primary role of education and training in the era of globalization. Organizers expect some 6,500 Panamanian educators and 45 speakers from 25 countries to attend the four-day event, whose objective is to share experiences about the transition from the traditional school to the new school.

Secretary General Insulza, in his welcoming remarks, greeted the convergence of the public and private sectors in an activity that will benefit the future of youth and called that part of society “an abundant source of wealth in the Americas,” and said he is hoping the youth are given what they need to develop. “We have the resources to grow much more than we are growing,” he said, and “the job we have ahead of us is to put those resources at the disposition” of the youth. What is needed, said Insulza, is “an open education that allows them not only to know today’s knowledge, not just how to apply what is known today, but that they become increasingly involved in an enormous and dynamic process so that they will also be prepared for the future.”

“Our region has made great strides in the reach” of education, said the chief representative of the OAS, but “the quality of education is not what we would wish.” To improve it, he said “educators must also learn the technology.” On that point, he said that improving the training of the region’s educators, more than an economic issue, “is an issue of coordination, of better defining which are the new realities we want to take note of, of comparing experiences, of thinking together, looking for viable educational and informative solutions and of each person adapting technology to their own realities.”

The OAS Secretary General said that, on his travels throughout the hemisphere, he has seen the common denominator is that “our young people are keen to conquer this new world, to be part of this new world, and the only thing they are asking for are opportunities.” Therefore, he concluded, “this meeting has to look for the best ways to provide them.”

The Virtual Educa Meeting comes barely two weeks after, in the OAS General Assembly in Cochabamba, Bolivia, the Member States approved the Social Charter of the Americas, which establishes that “access to a quality education at all levels and modalities is vital for the achievement of greater equality, improvement in the standards of living, the promotion of sustainable development, the development of human capital, the reduction of poverty, the strengthening of democratic institutions, the transmission of civic and social values, the formation of responsible citizens committed to society and the promotion of social inclusion.”

The Minister of Education of Panama Lucy Molinar also took part in the event, as did the President of Parlatino Elias Castillo and the General Secretary of Educa José María Anton. The event also included a presentation by Panamanian students of music and dance, with the central concept their demands for better preparation and greater understanding of modern technology.

In the framework of his visit to Panama, Secretary General Insulza held meetings with the President Ricardo Martinelli and the Foreign Minister Roberto Henríquez.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-220/12