WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)
“This is a great day for Wilkes University.” with those words Wilkes University President Dr. Patrick Leahy and Panama’s Minister of Education, Marcela Paredes de Vasquez, entered into what’s considered an historic agreement.
They signed documents formalizing an educational partnership in fields including education and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — or STEM. Dr. Leahy says the partnership benefits Wilkes beyond prestige. It will attract more undergraduate students from Panama including Panamanian teachers who want to train in the science field. But, he added there’s a bigger part of the equation.
“I think what’s more important for us is the opportunity to grow our influence on an increasingly global scale.” Said Dr. Leahy
Paredes de Vasquez comes from a Latin American country with the second largest economy in Central America. She says her country is sending 10,000 professors to English speaking countries to further develop Panama’s cultural, social and intellectual opportunities.
“The main factor is education so our government is investing in education.” noted Marcela Paredes de Vásquez
With this agreement, Wilkes University becomes one of about two dozen universities and schools throughout the world that Panama has partnered with. However, even though Wilkes is among the smallest it does offer a valuable distinction.
Paredes de Vasquez looks to programs like Wilkes’ Women Empowered By Science or WEBS as an opportunity for girls and young women from Panama to excel.
Wilkes University and Panama say the agreement will be long-term and include other projects in the future.