Panama became fully sovereign thanks to the Torrijos-Carter Treaties (1977), which gave sovereignty back to Panama over the interoceanic canal and the adjacent areas that were under US control, i.e. a total of 1,432 square kilometers (552.9 square miles). This historic moment was also a time of dreams and innovating projects for the country, in search of the final way to development.
The City of Knowledge was born of those dreams and is the cornerstone for that development based on innovation, entrepreneurial culture and sustainability. In 1994, Panamanian industrialist Fernando Eleta Almarán proposed the creation of a Socratic Square, a center for knowledge exchange, in the so-called Reverted Areas, and turning what was then the Panama Canal College into the University of the Americas.
The proposal was accepted by the late Foreign Affairs Minister Gabriel Lewis Galindo, who had already contemplated transforming the US military bases into the City of Knowledge. In December of the same year, President Ernesto Pérez Balladares presented the idea at the Summit of the Americas held in Miami (USA).
The years 1995 and 1996 saw the foundations built of what is today the City of Knowledge. The non-profit foundation that manages the park today was organized in early 1995, and the convention called "A Possible Utopia", which gathered national and foreign intellectuals together, was held in Bambito in June the same year. Those were the first steady steps toward shaping the project. The feasibility study conducted by the Academy for Educational Development (AED) in 1996 confirmed that the utopia was already a possible reality, and that its birthplace was what -at the time- was still the Clayton military base.
On November 30, 1999, during the final stage of the Canal's reversion to Panama, the President of the Republic at the time, Mireya Moscoso, handed the symbolic key to Clayton to Mr. Juan David Morgan, president of the Board of Trustees of City of Knowledge Foundation.
The 21st century began in Panama with a space for exchange, growth, and innovation. The City of Knowledge went from paper to action, and is today one of the most innovating centers in the region, where dozens of organizations perform their activities, interacting and contributing to the full development of Panama and Latin America.
The legal basis that allowed City of Knowledge Foundation to manage the City of Knowledge project is Executive Order number 6 of 1998, whereby the State provides for the assignment of Fort Clayton to this project, as well as the terms and obligations of both the Foundation and the State.
Main building where the City of Knowledge Foundation's Headquarters are located.
The old Clayton Fort premises are a small haven of natural diversity and wealth.