HISTORIC AGREEMENTS BEGIN PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE UNIVERSITY AND PANAMÁ
By Francisco Tutella MFA ’16
The dance is called Congo. A woman and a man step close then twirl apart. She wears a multi-colored dress sewn in different patterns, he a colorful, tattered costume. Panamanian high school teacher Ana Aizpurua explains that his outfit, stitched from discarded strips of fabric, mocks the former Panamanian slave owners. The dance itself is a continual exchange of seduction and rejection accompanied by clapping and the occasional cheer.
Spectators watching the dance in the Henry Student Center cannot resist Congo’s allure. The dancers are joined by Wilkes President Patrick F. Leahy, Panamanian Minister of Education Marcela Paredes de Vásquez, and Laura Flores, permanent representative of Panamá to the United Nations. University faculty, staff and administrators join the Panamanian teachers to form a giant conga line, kicking their feet and waving their arms as they circle the floor.