Traditional planting of the flag ceremony takes place at the City of Knowledge

On its 17th edition…

The event is a reminder of “Operation Sovereignty” (Operación Soberanía) and our capacity to transform and prepare to face challenges.

The annual symbolic “planting” of Flags ceremony is a tradition at the City of Knowledge that is much more than a beautiful spectacle that marks, for many, the beginning of November’s national festivities.

For 17 years, in the green quadrangle that gives entrance to the City of Knowledge, hundreds of Panamanian flags wave in the wind as a tangible reminder of a key moment in Panama’s almost centennial struggle for its sovereignty that ushered in a new era for the country.

Honoring the precursors who planted flags in 1958 in the former Panama Canal zone is a way to remember the cost to recovering the integrity of our territory, a fact closely linked to the birth of the City of Knowledge, a “possible utopia” that transformed a military base in a study and knowledge center.

This year’s ceremony combined all the symbolism and emotion that has characterized it over the years, taking place with all biosecurity measures, with a reduced and controlled number of participants, to plant a total of 300 tricolor flags.

The recent years have drawn great attention to the role of science in society and, for the second year in a row, the speaker and standard-bearer for the event comes from the scientific field. This 2021 the honor went to Dr. Eduardo Ortega-Barría, National Secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation and renowned Panamanian doctor and clinical researcher.

“The current pandemic has taught us that we are vulnerable, that everything can change suddenly and that solidarity is the only way out of crisis. That knowledge is an evolutionary concept and that having the correct information is critical as individuals and society. As a Panamanian professional, I am proud to be able to contribute my knowledge and effort to help our community and country to get out of this crisis as soon as possible and with the least possible impact,” said Dr. Ortega-Barría at the ceremony this morning.

“I accept this distinction, which is undoubtedly the most important I have received in my 35 years as a medical, academic and scientific professional, because of what it represents for me as a citizen of this country, which I grew up loving through the teachings of my parents and teachers, who instilled in me that unshakable faith that working for your motherland is the best thing you could do in your life,” he also pointed out.

The Executive President of the City of Knowledge Foundation, Professor Jorge Arosemena, stressed how satisfactory it is to witness the deep commitment that citizens like Dr. Ortega-Barría have with a better Panama. “May this pandemic lead us to build a new society: reinforce positive values ​​and eliminate negative ones for future generations,” he added.

Operation Sovereignty was the first of several patriotic flag-planting feats in the former Canal Zone. After six decades, the Sowing of Flags at the City of Knowledge makes us reflect on the legacy of young university students, led by Carlos Arellano Lennox. This legacy remains and renewed itself, but above all brings us together to reflect on the multiple ways in which Panama looks to the future, as is the case today at the City of Knowledge, where many people operate on the front lines of science, culture and international cooperation.

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