Another group of Chilean students from Punta Arenas will be travelling to the Falkland Islands next September in the framework of the exchange program agreed between city officials and Falklands’ authorities, according to a report in La Prensa Austral.
“Any inconvenience or misunderstandings that could have emerged from last year’s experience have been overcome and the exchange program will go ahead next September with another group of students from vulnerable homes”, said Vladimiro Mimica.
Last year following the May 2010 experience when eight Chilean students received scholarships to spend time in the Stanley school to improve their English, the Argentine Foreign Affairs ministry expressed their disappointment with the program.
The Chilean Foreign Affairs ministry then suggested Punta Arenas municipal officials to use the term “Islas Malvinas” since that is the official Santiago reference name for the Falklands sovereignty dispute with Argentina.
Following on the suggestion Mimica met with the Argentine and British consuls in Punta Arenas with whom apparently the “misunderstanding or inconvenience” was overcome.
“Be it Malvinas of Falklands, there is something above that which is the children who benefit from the trip and the scholarships, and as such it was understood and there is no impediment for this year’s September experience”, said Mimica.
The children benefited last year attend municipal financed public schools and belong to what are described as ‘vulnerable homes”.
“Last year was the first, very successful experience, and if something can be said is that some ‘epidermis sensitivity’ was involved from neighbours but there is nothing that can ban or prevent us from sending children to the Malvinas or Falkland Islands”, underlined Punta Arenas mayor.
Mimica also revealed that last week he met with the British consul John Rees and Martin Longden Deputy Director of Overseas Territories to address the issue, a recent visitor to the Falklands.
“Differences were worked out and I have been asked to mention them as Islas Malvinas and the English have been extremely generous, they are more interested in the children visiting the Islands which is above the names’ discussion” said Mimica. “If they have to go to the Malvinas, well so be it, the Malvinas”.
The Punta Arenas official said that he was informed that in Stanley there is a hotel that carries the name of Malvinas, “so why are we going to get all messed up with names. What matters are the children, and we want them to have a chance to improve their English. It’s a strong stimulus for the children, for the teachers here and there, for their parents and that is our job”, concludes the piece from La Prensa Austral.