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Like many other Latin American countries, Panama possesses a rich indigenous tradition and community. "Comarca" is the word that Panamanians use to define semi autonomous areas where most of the population is aboriginal, and the indigenous leaders hold relative power.

These regions constitute approximately 20% of this country's population. Still, not all indigenous communities live inside them nor enjoy the same benefits that the five recognized comarcas do, excluding the authorities of over 30 other villages.

Mixilia Villareal, a Doctor in Philosophy who majored in Public Corporate Relations at Atlantic International University in the 2020 class, believes in herself as an entity of change, capable of serving as a bridge between indigenous and non-indigenous communities.

According to Villarreal, businesses and organizations must embrace the impending change through capacitation in technology, successful public policies, and solidarity.

Inclusion and equality

Inequality is one of the biggest problems our world currently faces. The 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations addresses this problem through goal number 10: Reduced Inequality. However, there is a long way to go to attain this goal.

While this country considerably reduced its poverty rate, the population from the rural areas scarcely enjoy the benefits of advancement. The indigenous inhabitants from the comarcas often lack clean water and sanitation, and approximately 90% of the aboriginal communities live in poverty.

Another big problem that deepens the inequality gap is displacement. Indigenous communities are often forced out of their reservations and sacred lands, while many others leave voluntarily, searching for better work and study opportunities in the cities.

Mixilia Villarreal is the present President of Public Relations in Chiriqui -a province with a sizable indigenous population. She believes that a way to overcome the displacement crisis is to generate alliances between the comarcas and the local organizations.

United for progress

Associations of this kind are a clear example of what the Partnership for the goals proposes. As long as all different populations can come to an agreement and act in synergy, Panama will step in the right direction and will be able to attain other purposes, like No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Reduced Inequalities, and Climate Action.

Villarreal, like many others around the globe, is pledging her skills for a better world.

Are you ready to act for change? Sign up with the Atlantic International University and start a transformation.

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Panama, Indigenous, Aboriginal, Comarca, Inclusion, Poverty

Mixilia Villarreal Caballero Atlantic International University - AIU 2020

Share of population living on less than 3.20 U.S. dollars per day in Panama from 2010 to 2018


Indigenous Cultures of Panama: An Introductory Guide

Indigenous People of Panama

Indigenous peoples in Panama