The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Miguel Ceara Hatton, highlighted the decisive value of youth in counteracting climate change and facing the challenges of its effects, as he led the graduation of 64 new technicians in higher education who completed a two-year training process with the support of scholarships from the Dominican State.
“It is a real honor for me to be standing before you today; I am very respectful of training and education; I believe in knowledge,” said Minister Ceara Hatton, president of the Board of the Technical Institute of Higher Studies in Environment and Natural Resources (Itesmarena), located in Jarabacoa.
The minister headed, together with Itesmarena’s rector, José Vásquez, the graduation of 30 new technicians in Environmental Management and 34 in Forestry Sciences, who join 397 graduates in 15 previous promotions of the training academy which dates back to the 1960s.
The table of honor at the graduation ceremony also included Genaro Rodríguez, vice-minister of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (Mescyt); Xóchilt Ana Estrada Guevara, academic vice-rector of Itesmarena, and Yunior Torres, mayor of Jarabacoa. Also, Luisa de la Mota, governor of La Vega, and the senator for that province, Ramón Rogelio Genao. The Vice Minister of Forest Resources, José Elías González, and the Director of Environmental Education, Daryelin Torres Rodríguez, were also present.
Also present were the presbyter Sergio de la Cruz, rector of the Catholic University of Cibao (Ucateci), and the Catholic priest and social activist, Rogelio Cruz.
Minister Ceara Hatton stated that “it is very difficult to move a country forward if we do not have a youth prepared and willing to take on the challenge of development”.
He said that, by supporting their training process with scholarships, the Dominican State fulfills one of its social duties and “at the same time establishes a collaborative relationship with good men and women who are committed to join efforts to work in favor of our environment and our natural resources”.
Ceara Hatton recalled the effects of climate change in the DR, noting that on November 4, 2022, 266 millimeters of rain were recorded in four hours in Santo Domingo, but on November 18, 2023, that record was broken when 431 millimeters were recorded and in 48 hours it rose to 474 millimeters.
“Such a level of rain had never been registered before. But before this we were marked by drought and had to control the supply of water from our dams. That same drought caused stress on our forests creating an environment conducive to the occurrence of more forest fires, a phenomenon seen here, Jamaica, Spain, Canada and the United States.”
Between 2010 and 2022 an average of 237 forest fires were recorded, but in 2023 more than 860 fires were recorded throughout the country, caused by different reasons, “evidencing that we are facing a completely new phenomenon and we have to learn to live with this,” he said.
Rector José Vásquez thanked the government for its support. “I wish to express my deep gratitude to the Dominican Government, to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, as well as to Mr. Miguel Ceara Hatton and his team. Their receptiveness and support, both moral and financial, have been fundamental in making the dream of these 64 young people who came to this house of studies two years ago come true.”
“This achievement is the result of two years of dedication under our motto: ‘Learning by doing’, following an academic planning based on competencies and focused on educational quality and a praiseworthy management of our teachers and administrative staff,” he said.
The two meritorious students Elizardo Paulino Faña, summa cum laude as a senior technician in Forestry Sciences, and Adriel Olaverria Santo, summa cum laude in Environmental Management. Both will receive a scholarship to pursue higher education at a university of their choice, which will be covered by the Friends of the DR Foundation, represented at the event by Guy Towers Baehr.
Paulino Faña spoke on behalf of all the graduates. “Today is a very special day for all of us, as we celebrate the end of one stage and the beginning of another in our lives,” he said.
“Today we graduate as senior technicians in Forestry Science and Environmental Management, careers that have taught us much more than concepts and techniques: they have taught us to value and care for the planet: our common home,” he added.