Culture & Society

President Of Panama Honored As Outstanding International Alumnus

Martín Torrijos Espino, president of the Republic of Panama and a 1987 Texas A&M graduate, has been selected as the recipient of the 2007 Texas A&M University Outstanding International Alumnus Award.
By Linda Edwards, Texas A&M University International Center February 26, 2007

Martín Torrijos Espino
Martín Torrijos Espino

His Excellency Martín Torrijos Espino, president of the Republic of Panama and a 1987 Texas A&M graduate, has been selected as the recipient of the 2007 Texas A&M University Outstanding International Alumnus Award. The award, sponsored by the university and The Association of Former Students, will be presented Wednesday (Feb. 28) during Texas A&M’s annual consuls general luncheon, which is a highlight of International Week activities that began on campus Monday.

Texas A&M Interim President Eddie J. Davis said he is pleased that President Torrijos has been selected to receive this prestigious award.

“President Torrijos is a great example of what we would like all of our students to aspire to,” Davis said. “He has helped export the core values of Texas A&M of excellence, leadership, integrity, loyalty, respect and selfless service, so important to Aggie culture. We appreciate all that he has done for his country and for the great example he sets for our students and alumni.

President Torrijos graduated from Texas A&M in 1987 with bachelor’s degrees in political science and economics.

After working in the United States for four years, he returned to Panama and began his public service career. He was Vice-Minister of Government and Justice from 1994-1998. During that time he was responsible for all aspects of national security, civil aerial navigation, public transportation, and telecommunications. His effort in the modernization of Panama’s penitentiary system has earned the appreciation of the United Nations.

In 1999 and again in 2002, he was elected as the General Secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Party and in 2002 he was elected president of the Conference of Political Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean.

On September 1, 2004, Torrijos was sworn in as the President of the Republic of Panama. He has worked to bring reform and hope to the people of Panama.

In 2006, the people of Panama approved his proposal to expand the Panama Canal which will increase the potential for commerce and provide jobs for many Panamanians. In addition, his vision, leadership and perseverance led to the creation of the International Maritime University of Panama, which will focus on research efforts in marine sciences. In May of that year, President Torrijos attended a signing ceremony linking Texas A&M University at Galveston and the Panamanian institute in marine research.

Under his leadership, Panama was elected to represent 35 Latin American and Caribbean countries in the United Nations Security Council. Panama received an overwhelming approval with a total of 164 votes out of the 192 member U.N. General Assembly, well over the required 120 votes to win one of the ten permanent seats on the Security Council.

The Outstanding International Alumnus Award is jointly sponsored by Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students. Created in 1994, this award honors Texas A&M graduates who were not U.S. citizens while attending the University, but who went on to achieve prominence in education, the sciences, technology, agriculture, the arts, business, humanities or government. Those who are chosen for this award must have a good record of accomplishments that favorably reflect on his or her educational experience at Texas A&M.

Previous recipients of this award are:

  • Orlando Olcese ’48 and ‘50 of Peru
  • Jung Uck Seo ‘63 of Korea
  • C.K. Wang ’75 and ‘78 of Taiwan
  • Carlos E. Aguino Gonzalez ‘70 of the Dominican Republic
  • S. Shariq Yosufzai ‘74 of Pakistan
  • Keiyu Ueno ‘77 of Japan
  • Jorge F. Quiroga Ramirez ‘81 of the Republic of Bolivia
  • Alberto Mariano Vázquez De la Cerda ‘75 of Mexico
  • Alberto Alemán Zubieta ‘73 of Panama
  • Choa-Shing Lee ’83 of Taiwan
  • Pablo D. Marvin ’66 of Mexico.

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