Paraguayan students met and socialized Sunday with the president of their country.
Several Paraguayan students who are studying in Kansas are impressed with Paraguayan President Juan Carlos Wasmosy's attitude about improving education in their home country.
The president met with about 40 Paraguayan students and professors from several Kansas universities Sunday during a brunch at the Ramada Inn of Lawrence. Wasmosy, who has been president since 1993, has been traveling in Kansas since Friday, visiting the governor, watching the Kansas-Kansas State football game and attending several Kansas University activities.
The president gave a short speech at the brunch about the political atmosphere in Paraguay and outlined plans for improvements in education. Alejandro Dominguez, an economics student at KU, said he hopes Wasmosy can follow through on his plans to improve the educational system in Paraguay.
"He is making a good first step," said Dominguez, who has been in Kansas for almost five years. "But I hope it is not only his good words, because we are looking for results."
Mario Ramos-Reyes, a Paraguayan professor who has been teaching Latin American studies and history at KU, said a governmental committee has been working to reform public education at the elementary and secondary levels but that little has been done to improve the state universities.
"The universities are a disaster," he said. "We don't have libraries, for instance, so there is no way to do research. We don't have people who can teach, and we don't have the money to buy computers or build buildings."
Paraguay and Kansas participate in a partners program that was initiated in 1967. The relationship has encouraged student exchange programs throughout the years.
Wasmosy told the students he plans to create a fund to support the Kansas educational exchange program to give scholarships to more Paraguayan students.
"His coming here is a great support to the exchange program and will open new frontiers for Kansas and Paraguayan students," Dominguez said.
The president strongly encouraged the students to return to their home country to spread their knowledge and skills. Most of the students at the brunch never had seen Wasmosy before.
"It was really great to get to meet him," said Julio Ullon-Brizuela, KU student and member of the KU Paraguay Roga club. "He sounded very honest and very positive. He wants to do a lot of things to change the problems in our country."