Inauguration of the second stage of the Instituto Universitario Jesús Obrero Barquisimeto
Thursday, August 2, 2007.
Today I come to repeat the words that I transmitted yesterday on behalf of the institution that I represent to your fellow colleagues of the IUJO San Francisco Maracaibo, it is a confession: among the many activities that are part of my agenda, this should be the one that not only gives me the best satisfaction, but also greater serenity and at the same time, many questions.
One fact not always taken into account, is that institutions and companies are made up of people who have each a way of thinking, but above all, a willingness to experience feelings very differently. Humans can have ideas or similar criteria, but what really makes us unique and different is that we never live feelings in a similar way.
I say this because on a rational level, like many others in Venezuela, I fully agree that the most strategic and lasting contribution that business can do for the country, the Venezuela of our passions is to help strengthen the education and values of our culture. But in all of this, my emotions are also engaged in a very special and decisive way.
Here, at this hour and before each one of you, I can give myself the privilege of taking a deep breath and say, it’s good that we had the privilege of contributing to this cause. I look at this book, I think it might have use for you and future generations of people willing to learn, and tell myself that was worth it, these are the efforts, the decisions that reconcile with the life and work, facing so many difficulties and problems with which we all have to deal every day.
Not far from here, in the city of Maracaibo, yesterday I attended the graduation ceremony of the first graduates of the Instituto Universitario San Francisco, your sister institution and to which we provided 2 thousand 450 million bolivars for the provision of the first stage and where we are also contributing 7 billion bolivars for another classroom building. And today I am among you, enjoying the fruitful destiny that donated resources had, both here in Barquisimeto and in the work inaugurated in March 2006 and which today is baptized, which were for a total of more than 7 billion Bolivars.
If someone asked me how we got here, how is that for a financial institution as Banesco, this training center in Barquisimeto becomes a point, one of its major causes and purposes, I will answer, because our sense of responsibility has no boundaries, geographical nor thematic.
We are here by conviction, by true and matured belief. Because we have a deep and renewed respect for this exemplary institution that is Fe y Alegría. Because when we assessed the needs in the country, which are immense and complex, we realized that the best we can do is contribute to the goal of the formation and multiplication of knowledge. But above all, friends here, because we have hope. It is the sense of hope, the feeling that we must attend to the call of the heart that tells us that we must keep fighting in every place where possible, which brings us to you, what binds us to this magnificent project.
I said at the beginning that the decision to contribute to the projections of an institution like Fe y Alegría is at once a source of joy but also of questions that have some significance. It is a thought that, with increasing frequency, I carry. I wonder if it is possible for many businesses, citizens and people with power of decision to join a cause like this. If each one of the young graduates of this institution has in the forefront of his work schedule the search of opportunities like those in the coming years, more people can be benefited by an educational activity like this.
My point is the question of how much real understanding and willingness are in the Venezuelan society to embrace education in all its phases, as the most important and necessary personal activities, family, community and all the institutions. I often wonder if between what is said and what really is, there is a large gap or not. But I ask myself the most immediate question, I do it myself and to the people around me. What else can we do? How do we make teaching and learning the most unanimous and efficient project of our beloved Venezuela?
And I cannot finish without asking the question to the students of this Instituto Universitario Jesus Obrero: Are you willing to make a commitment to other Venezuelans coming years? Would you be able to remember what you have received so this becomes an episode of gratitude, someday, somewhere? Finally, are you ready with me, right now, to give a round of applause to these wonderful and battling people who are Fe y Alegría?