Respuesta de Ciudad del Saber ante la Covid-19

Alliances: the key to advance further and faster

Foundation

In times of crisis, great opportunities arise. This phrase may sound trite but in reality, in the year in which a pandemic has turned the world upside down, innovation and resilience have become the ingredients of the success of companies and organizations.

At the City of Knowledge we have not stopped for a minute in our efforts to achieve our goal: to promote social change through humanism, science and business. In this complex year, we found the possibility of advancing on this path through the generation of alliances with a direct impact on the country’s economic recovery: a sustainable and stable one.

What have our efforts focused on? In sectors with high potential and impact and those that have been especially affected in 2020.

Strengthening of cultural entrepreneurs

The paralysis of economic activity has strongly affected the cultural sector both in Panama and worldwide. However, from some cultural institutions and City of Knowledge we have continued working to respond to their needs.

The Project for Training Entrepreneurs in Cultural and Creative Industries (CREA, for its acronym in Spanish) will start strongly in 2021 thanks to an alliance between the City of Knowledge and the Ministry of Culture. “This project is very important for us since it works directly at the country’s economic reactivation and the strengthening of a sector that has always been key for the Foundation,” highlights Carla Donalicio, Specialist in Innovation projects at the City of Knowledge.

The alliance aims to train business people, entrepreneurs and cultural managers in activities that strengthen their business ideas and the generation of opportunities derived from Creative and Cultural Industries.

Similarly, it seeks to increase the undertakings related to the country’s cultural and natural heritage that aim the entire national territory, with special interest in the priority areas of Colón (Colón, Portobelo and San Lorenzo) and the Historic Center of Panama (including the areas of San Felipe, Santa Ana, Chorrillo, Ancón and Calidonia).

“Registrations for the program were open until the beginning of December. Trainings will begin in January and will run throughout the year in a four-phase structure, ”says Donalicio, who added that the initiative is open to 1,200 ventures that may be both in the creation phase of the idea or that are already established. They will go through different workshops and mentoring: “at the end of the process about 100 projects will have direct financial aid and support for three months,” she concludes.

Educational opportunities

Also in 2021, the American Center office will be established at the City of Knowledge, specifically in La Plaza, thanks to the alliance between the Foundation and the United States Embassy in Panama.

The establishment of this space will provide the physical platform to host a great expansion in training, education, public participation and cultural exchange between both countries. The introduction of new programs sponsored by the United States in the Center will increase the opportunities for Panamanians to get closer to US education and culture.

The Center will join the he Embassy’s and the City of Knowledge’s complementary efforts  to support international education, in particular through the US State Department’s EducationUSA program. From this space in La Plaza, regular activities and advice will be organized to promote and facilitate studies in the United States for students in Panama, while attracting more American universities to Panama through the “Knowledge in Panama” initiative.

“Due to the current situation, the office will not be able to open physically until the middle of the year but it already operates remotely. From the City of Knowledge we are, and will continue to give visibility to all the opportunities it offers to Panamanians”, highlights Vilma Falconett, Director of Public Relations at the Foundation.

Falconett added that this alliance facilitates the City of Knowledge’s mission since it promotes social change through education and will allow the development of joint cultural activities in a more constant way, directly benefiting the campus community and Panama.

Building of sustainable territories

At the City of Knowledge we aim to be a model of a sustainable city, a city that has been developed through a master plan with a tripartite vision of economic, social and environmental issues. From the perspective of space, we work to be an inclusive and green territory, and focused on providing a better life experience for our residents, users and visitors.

“Our interest is to be a role model to imitate, not to admire. In other words, we want to be a lab for change and good practices that we believe can be positive for our country’s cities,” highlights Sandy Mosquera, Manager of Dynamization at the Foundation.

With an eye on this objective, the alliance between the Foundation and CINC, the Center for the Integration of Cities and Nature, was closed this year. This organization, made up of an interdisciplinary group of professionals who are experts in urban and environmental issues, aims to promote best practices for the integrated and sustainable management of the territory that allows the generation of green cities that are resistant to change.

“Both organizations will work to strengthen the capacities of local authorities, public organizations and private organizations that may allow cities to adapt to the new environmentally sustainable infrastructure that is livable for citizens,” Mosquera said.

For Dr. Guillermo Castro, Executive Advisor at the City of Knowledge, the crisis will generate a growing demand for urban environmental management services. “The agreement with CINC is of great importance for the promotion of innovative initiatives in this field, and for the gradual formation of a sector of environmental management services in our internal and local networks” he concluded.

Engaging communities in change

We also spoke with Sandy Mosquera about the alliance between Enel Green Power Panama and the Foundation. “We seek to build more together,” she said.

The main objective of the agreement is to promote, through the training of communities, the development of projects of good practices in energy management and access to sustainable energy that are developed through initiatives with impact in specific areas of the provinces of Panama , Coclé and Chiriquí.

“The City of Knowledge has strong ties with the provinces of Chiriquí and Coclé and it is our interest that the diffusion of knowledge from the Foundation is nationwide,” Mosquera said. “We believe that this project can bring us closer to these communities and involve them in the construction of change, contributing our knowledge through the alliance with Enel, ” she added.

They highlighted that “through joint projects, we seek to achieve that more and more people; employees, companies, allies and members of society in general, join the mission of achieving a more sustainable world based on clean energy, innovation and the exchange of knowledge ”.

In the City of Knowledge, the complexity of 2020 has not taken away our desire to continue aiming high in the construction of a prosperous and sustainable future for Panama and the world; doing this hand in hand with allies will allow us to go further and more swiftly.

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