Pan American Association of Philadelphia hosts the 2023 Pan American Day Celebration & Scholarship Luncheon
The event highlighted the nation of Panama, and celebrated the next generation of Latinx leaders.
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On Tuesday, April 18, the Pan American Association of Philadelphia hosted its annual Pan American Day Celebration & Scholarship Luncheon at The Kimmel Center.
Each year, the Pan American Association of Philadelphia hosts the conference as part of the celebration of Pan American Day.
“For us, it’s a very important day,” said Abelardo Lechter, board chair for the Pan American Association of Philadelphia.
Pan American Day commemorates the founding of the Pan American Union in 1980. It is significant because it was the first international organization dedicated to creating economic, commercial, health, legal and social elations among sovereign communities.
Fifty-eight years later, the Pan American Union evolved into the Organization of American States, currently located in Washington, D.C.
The Pan American Day Celebration & Scholarship Luncheon was a multifaceted event that detailed the past, present and future of Panamas, as well as its relationship with the United States.
The celebration began with a detailed panel discussion featuring three distinguished individuals — George Tsetsekos, George B. Francis professor of Finance and Dean Emeritus at Drexel University’s College of Business; Orlando Pérez, Dean at the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of North Texas; and Edgar Vesga, Director of Air Service Development and Cargo Services at the Philadelphia International Airport.
Each of the panelists discussed different parts of the Panamanian dynamic. Tsetseoks spoke about the current economic situation in the Central American country, as well as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how the country dealt with them. Pérez noted the socioeconomic dimension of Panama and how it developed into the type of country it is today. Vesga highlighted the business environment within Panama and both the opportunities and risks involved.
A brief Q&A featuring questions from the attendees followed before the next phase of the conference began.
The audience questions led to further discussions regarding topics, such as democracy in Panama and how it compares to other Latin American countries, as well as investment opportunities, retirement options among other topics.
Following this portion of the event, a networking reception bridged the luncheon program.
The luncheon program saw the Association award nearly $20,000 in scholarships and monetary academic awards to eight local college and university students.
Three of the awards were presented in honor of trailblazing leaders. A Temple University student received the Alejandro Reyes Scholarship, named in honor of one of the founding members of the Pan American Association of Philadelphia.
A University of Pennsylvania student received the Irene Diaz Scholarship, named in honor of the memory of Pan American Association President Romy Diaz’s mother. A Villanova University student received the Carmelita Manning Community Service Scholarship, named after the former President of the Plays and Players Club and founder of the Walnut Street Theater Museum.
Furthermore, five additional students — representing Widener University, Drexel University, Swarthmore College, the University of Pennsylvania; and Saint Joseph’s University — were recipients of the Janice Bond Senior Award.
The conference concluded with a keynote address by Ramón Eduardo Martínez de la Guardia, Ambassador of Panama to the United States.
Stay tuned for continued coverage of the 2023 Pan American Day Celebration & Scholarship Luncheon.