Wilkes University


Wilkes University Is Partner For Feria del Libro Panama 2016 Aug. 16-21

Wilkes University is affirming its historic educational partnership with the Republic of Panama as a sponsor of Feria Internacional del Libro de Panamá 2016. Wilkes is the only United States higher education institution invited by the American Embassy in Panama to sponsor this event, considered the premier cultural and educational event in Panamá. The event is the fourth largest book fair in Central America and is held at the Centro de Convenciones Atlapa in Panama City.

The Feria Internacional del Libro de Panamá, now in its 12th year, attracts more than 100,000 adults and children to lectures by acclaimed authors, presentations, and an exposition of books and other educational materials. The United States is the host country at this year’s event. Wilkes will have a booth at the fair and will sponsor two events during the five-day fair: a higher education conference highlighted by an address by Panamá’s Minister of Education, Marcela Paredes de Vásquez, and a creative writing workshop for teachers participating in the MEDUCA-Bilingual Panamá Program.

Wilkes University President Patrick F. Leahy, Senior Vice President and Provost Anne Skleder and Rhonda M. Rabbitt, dean of the Wilkes University School of Education, Lori Cooper, education faculty member, Rosa Ponce Sanabria, Wilkes director of international engagement and four Wilkes students are part of a nine-member delegation visiting Panamá. Leahy will be among the dignitaries attending the Aug. 16 ribbon cutting with Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela that opens the fair.

 Leahy said that the opportunity to participate as the partner university is an honor that reflects Wilkes’ commitment to global education.

“We welcome the extraordinary opportunity to be part of the Feria del Libro de Panamá. Wilkes is proud to be able to partner with the Republic of Panamá to expand educational opportunities for the Panamanian people,” Leahy said. “The path to prosperity winds through education. Our partnership with Panamá also will provide unique opportunities for Wilkes’ students and faculty. In an increasingly global community, we are all interconnected, and opportunities for joint study, research and scholarship outside of the United States are vital for higher education.”

Wilkes has entered into a comprehensive and historic partnership with Panama. It includes participation in the MEDUCA-Bilingual Panama program, an agreement to provide professional development and academic program to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, and collaborations with four universities: Universidad de Panamá, Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, Universidad Especializada de las Americas and Universidad Latina.

Wilkes is sponsoring two events at the fair on Wednesday, Aug. 17. The first is a workshop for teachers in the MEDUCA-Bilingual Panamá program on creative writing teaching methods. Fifty in-service teachers who have completed the Bilingual Panama program immersion in the United States will attend the workshop, which will be taught by Rhonda M. Rabbitt, dean of Wilkes University School of Education, and education faculty member Lori Cooper. It will be from 9 a.m. to noon.

The second event is a higher education conference on Wednesday, Aug. 17 from 3 to 6 p.m. It will be highlighted by a 6 p.m. address by Marcela Paredes de Vásquez, Panamá’s minister of education. The conference will focus on internationalization and global education from the perspective of students, academic officers and university presidents The conference is being presented in cooperation with Wilkes’ partner universities in Panamá. These include Universidad de Panamá, Universida Tecnologica de Panamá, Universidad Especializada de las Americas, Universidad Latina and Universidad Especializada del  Contador Publico Autorizado. A reception will the minister of education’s address at 6:30 p.m.

Wilkes will welcome Luis Alvarado as a special guest at its booth on Aug. 18. Luis, an 11-year-old student, has expressed an interest in attending a University in the United States to become a gastroenterologist. Wilkes is making Luis an honorary Colonel for the day – a reference to the University’s mascot and its namesake, Colonel John Wilkes.

Wilkes students will work at the University’s booth and at the U.S. Pavilion during the multi-day festival, sharing information about Wilkes and the United States with attendees. They also will participate in a student panel during the education conference. They also will spend two days with Panamanian college students, visiting their campuses and networking.