Damaris Serrano, Ph.D., associate professor of Spanish at Wright State University, was honored by the Republic of Panama for her contributions to education and literature during two events celebrating International Women’s Day.
Serrano, who is from Panama, participated in an event honoring the “Contributions of Women Winners of the Ricardo Miró Award,” the most prestigious literary award in the Central American country.
The event recognized the role of the academic and educative contributions of women writers, whose trailblazing work had been underrecognized through the years.
The tribute was organized by the Office of the Provost on Research and the Women’s Institute at the University of Panama and the National Ministry of Culture. As part of the tribute, the National Library of Panama created an exhibit featuring the covers of all the winning volumes.
Serrano won the Ricardo Miró Award in the literary essay section three times — in 2005, 2013 and 2018 — and an honorable mention in the sociological essay section in 2000 and 2004.
The competition, created in 1942, is named after Ricardo Miró, the national poet of Panama. Sponsored by the National Institute of Culture, it is designed to promote, preserve and disseminate Panamanian culture in the context of the Americas.
Serrano participated in a panel discussion on the importance of promoting women writers and spreading messages of inclusion, equality and values without limitations. Panelists also discussed how works by female authors can point younger generations to new horizons, Serrano said.
In Panamanian literature, she said, women have been able to perceive different types of identity, including “post-colonial, the displaced and the project identity that is part of the feminist movement.”
“Women writers know how to speak from different spaces,” she said. “They are at home, but they are the same women who must perform in their daily work, being evaluated with more demanding and discriminatory parameters.”
Serrano was also honored in her hometown of David, the capital of the province of Chiriquí, with a certificate of honor for “her accredited career as a writer who gives prestige to Panamanian literature, especially to the culture of Chiriqui.”
The honor was granted by the poetic and cultural Movimiento Cultural Furtivos, the Alliance Française and Culturama, the historical and cultural institute of the Province of Chiriquí.
Serrano said she was honored to be recognized for her accomplishments as an award-winning researcher and writer in Panama on International Women’s Day.
“It testifies to the power of words to strengthen cultural understanding, through female voices, and their unending connections of cultural materials for research and education,” she said. “Above all, it affirms the role of women through deep and meaningful words.”
Serrano received her Ph.D. in Hispanic cultural studies and her master’s degree in comparative literature from Michigan State University and her bachelor’s degree in humanities, with a specialization in Spanish, from the University of Panama.
She joined the faculty in the Wright State College of Liberal Arts in 2005.