Prof. Gerardo Maloney Francis
Sociologist, professor emeritus, filmmaker, writer, diplomat, social activist.
Professor Gerardo Maloney was born in Calidonia. He first lived in the neighborhood where he was born, although he later grew up between 4th Street Rio Abajo and Pedro Miguel on the Canal Zone. He did his primary studies at the Gil Colunje and Republic of China Schools. In 1962 he graduated from the José Dolores Moscote Institute with second place honors.
He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1969. In 1983 he obtained a Master’s degree in Sociology, specializing in Public Policies and Development Problems at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), in Ecuador.
He taught at the University of Monterrey from 1972 to 1973 and at the University of Panama. He directed the School of Sociology of the Santa María la Antigua University from 1974 to 1975. He was also the Chairperson of the Department and School of Sociology of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Panama from 1985 to 1990.
As an educator he was the Founding Director of the Panamanian Journal of Sociology, Lifetime Promoter of the National Congresses of Sociology, Coordinator of the Research Center of the Faculty of Humanities, Member of the Central American Association of Sociology (ACAS), Member of the Panamanian Association of Sociology (APSO), Creator of the National Sociology Award, Director of the magazine Social Processes of the Panamá FLACSO Program, Extension and Publications Coordinator of the FLACSO Panamá Program, Co-responsible of the FLACSO-Panama page in the Estrella de Panamá newspaper and editor of various other FLASCO publications.
Being aware of the power of audiovisual language to transmit ideas and defend the causes in which he is involved as a teacher and as a social activist, he created documentaries with the goal of disseminating information regarding the contributions to culture and the struggle of Afro-Antillean descendants and Afro-Panamanians in the construction of national identity.
He was the General Director of the Educational Radio and Television Station, Canal Once, (1994 to 1999). He was also the Producer and Director of documentary films in the University Film Experimental Group (GECU). Among his most outstanding films and audiovisuals are: This country (1987); I love my race, (1988); Mandela, (1989); Calypso, Tambo Jazz, I have a dream, From Carenero to Nueva Orleans, When the granadillo blooms, and We of the Silver Roll. His documentaries Mega Banda and The Fabulous Crooners have participated in the Panamá Film Festival.
He has organized the symposiums on Afro-Panamanian Culture and Musical Expressions at the Panama Jazz Festival. He recently received recognition by the Human Rights Film Festival as a pioneer of cinema in Panama, being the First Afro-Panamanian Director of a Television station in Panama.
Among his many writings, the following works stand out: Juega Vivo (1984), Beats, and Crisis Time (1990); Blacks and the national question; Armando Fortune: Selected Works; The Panama Canal and the Antillean Workers Sectors and the Black Movement in Panama. The second edition of his collection of poems Juega Vivo was translated into English under the title of Street Smart.
Gerardo Maloney joined the Foreign Service and served as Ambassador of Panama to the Republic of Trinidad-Tobago, and to Grenada. He also served as Representative of Panama before the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and at the Greater Caribbean Integration Program held in the Dominican Republic.
Gerardo Maloney is a social activist and has been an organizer and lifelong promoter of Afro-Panamanian Congresses, President of the Center for Afro-Panamanian Studies (CEDEAP), 1980-1990; President of the Second Congress of Black Culture of the Americas, Panama, 1980; Vice President of the Board of Directors of the First Panamanian Black Congress, 1981; Organizer of the Week of Afro-descendants at the University of Panama, General Coordinator of the Organizing Committee for the International Conference on Caribbean Literature (ICCL) Panama 2013.
He is a Founding Member of the Afro-Panamanian Forum; General Coordinator of the Coordinating Committee, Political Director of Vindicating Action for Black Panamanians (ARENEP), and of the National Council of the Black Ethnicity (CONEP). He was part of the special commission of the Afro-Panamanian social movement that organized and planned for the enactment of the law to create the National Secretariat for the Development of Afro-Panamanians (SENADAP).
Recently, Professor Maloney has received several awards: the National University awarded him the title of Professor Emeritus, he received the Armando Fortune Medal – awarded to an Afro-Panamanian who has dedicated his life to promoting the culture and contributions of Afro-Panamanians, he received the Key to the City of Panama, as well as a tribute from the Ministry of Culture on the Bicentennial of Panama’s Independence from Spain.
Maloney’s lifelong dream has been the integration of Afro-Panamanians into the national identity through diversity and heterogeneity. Not by way of assimilation but by inclusion.