Science, Technology and Innovation National Week in Guatemala

Every year since 2004, Guatemalan scientists get together at the Science, Technology and Innovation National Week, that aims to spread amongst the target audience (high school students, university students, businessmen, as well as the general public) the latest research done by local investigators.

This event is a big opportunity both for scientists and Guatemalan society to get informed and to raise awareness that in our country there are people working in that interesting field, and that science does not belong only to developed countries.

The activities carried out during those days are organized by a committee settled by the Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Senacyt, in Spanish) and the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Concyt, in Spanish).

Concyt has a god idea of the quantity of people who attend the conferences. People are given a “barcode passport”, so they are automatically registered when they enter the conference rooms.

Also, in Guatemala´s departments (we are divided in 22 departments) there are seven technological community centers, where people who do not have computers or Internet connection can go to watch and listen to the conferences. They can also receive computer courses.

During that week the winners of the School Scientific Olympiam are awarded; the best scientist of the year is also awarded with the Science and Technology Medal. So, students and young people look forward to those contests and the technological week.

The greatest hit is that since 2007 the scientific contents produced during the week are transmitted in real time and all over the world by Internet. Another achievement was the fact that this scientific production was nominated for a World Summit Award 2009, the best in e-Content & Creativity. This award is promoted by the European Academy of Digital Media – EADiM and the United Nations’  World Summit on the Information Society.

Even though the e-content of did not received an award, it was an important step in order to spread Guatemalan science and technology.

Besides, this activity is a great source of information for science journalists, because at this event you can get in touch with scientists and their work. Also, you can obtain the thoughts of the people who attend the conferences, and make a good journalistic coverage: obtain not only the official facts, but also the opinions of the people involved in the subject or who will obtain some benefit of the scientific local advancements.

However, I believe there is still a lack of good coverage of such an event. More than publishing just the new, journalists could write more interesting stories; they could to go deeper into the many scientific subjects the activity offers.

Armando Cáceres, a well-known Guatemalan scientist, who received a grant for his research on medicinal plants, says: “Scientific research is an attitude; an attitude that lets people discover our truths or our lies. That´s the reason why is so important to promote it”.