Citi recognizes outstanding educational efforts of students

Talented and highly qualified Guatemalan students receive partial scholarship for academic achievement

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Guatemala City, Guatemala – For the fourth consecutive year, the Citi Foundation recognized the outstanding educational efforts of young students. With the support of the United Fund of Guatemala, the Juan Bautista Foundation and the Kinal Educational Center, Citi honored 15 university students and 38 technical students for their excellent grades and academic performance.

The Citi Academic Excellence Award gives students a partial scholarship that covers university registration fees for two semesters. For the students of the Kinal Educational Center, the awards are partial scholarships, which allow them to finish their technical studies in high school.

The 15 university students achieved an above average score of 85 points and are completing degrees in business administration, economics, finance and industrial engineering at the Universidad del Valle in Guatemala and Universidad Francisco Marroquín. The 38 technical students from Kinal are pursuing degrees in information technology, industrial electronics and computer electronics, among others.

The award is part of the program University Fund for Academic Excellence, which began in 2008 after seeing how university education helped improve the standard of living of young Guatemalans.

For Bernardo Chacin, CCO Guatemala, supporting these types of educational initiatives is a priority in Citi's corporate social responsibility program. He said, "More than just financial support, this award creates more talented and highly qualified people. It is an incentive for them to strive for excellence every day in what they do, for their interest, their families and communities."

All these students have had to overcome many obstacles to pursue their high school and university studies, not only because of economic difficulties, but also due to lack of opportunities and access to education.

"Thanks to this support, I had the opportunity to pay my monthly fees and buy the books I needed," said Samuel Chávez, Computer Science Engineering student at the Universidad del Valle in Guatemala. "There are no words or money that can ever repay this help. I began my studies in 2007 and graduated with honors in 2011. This scholarship program is admirable."

Thanks to the combined efforts of the Encouragement of Academic Talent program at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín and the scholarship program at the Universidad del Valle in Guatemala, today these young people have the opportunity to continue their education.

"At my university I have met many people who are now part of my circle of friends and this has given me opportunities I would have never dreamed of before. Among them are various job offers and the chance to have started my own company", said Sergio Ponce, a Universidad Francisco Marroquín student.

"One of our goals is to create long lasting changes to address the main root of the problem, therefore impacting positively the lives of 113 young people is a reason to be proud. Thanks to this award we were able to offer support to the academic, personal, and professional development of those, who in the future will be part of the work force of Guatemala," said Eduardo Palacios, President of United Fund of Guatemala.

In addition to the acknowledgement given to these students for obtaining an average above 85 points, the Citi Foundation also awarded the two students with the highest averages above 90 points. This additional prize is a fund of US$300 to buy their college textbooks. The best students were:

• Samuel Alfredo Chávez: Sources, Systems Engineering at University del Valle in Guatemala, with an average of 97 points.

• Sergio Tulio Ponce Santos: Administration Degree from Universidad Francisco Marroquín, with an average of 93 points.

"At the Juan Bautista Gutierrez Foundation we are honored to combine efforts with Citi Foundation to recognize the academic achievements of talented young less privileged people. Thanks to the dedication the program has become an inspiration for many more students," said Tania Zedán, Executive Director of Fundación Juan Bautista Gutierrez.

The top students from the Kinal Educational Center also received textbooks as prizes. The students with the best grades were:

  • Samuel Alejandro Maldonado López, with an average of 95 points.
  • Jorge Mario Tezen crystals, with an average of 92 points.
  • Diego Alejandro Rodríguez, with an average of 91 points.

"We are certain education is the best investment when seeking the development of a country and more importantly the socio-economic development of families. We are sure each student that has already graduated has various academic and employment opportunities, which they will be able to carry out as they should—becoming better people every day. We must support education with more determination," said Edgar Umaña, General Director of Fundación Kinal.