Growing up in Guatemala, Mariana Cordon recognized that most schools were not interested in teaching the ideas of liberty. Luckily, she got enrolled in Francisco Marroquín University, one the few colleges in the region that engage with different ideas. After reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, Mariana realized that literature can be really powerful in shaping people’s minds, and more importantly, that the most precious thing people have is liberty.
Today, she works as the Project Manager at Red Ciudadana, an organization that is using technology and innovation to empower civil society by improving government transparency and accountability. Mariana coordinates different projects on the benefits of open data and also works with university students to use open data for entrepreneurship and other economic development projects.
“SFL gave me a very enriching opportunity to be an activist for ideas. In my current work, I plan and organize events, talk to different kinds of people and promote collaboration among groups. All of these projects I do in my career, I first did them with SFL. With SFL I learned how to work in a team, organize large events and build coalitions. This has made a huge impact on my professional life.”
Mariana first got involved with Students For Liberty in 2013, after meeting with a local coordinator in Guatemala. She went on to become one of the most active leaders in EsLibertad Guatemala, where she served as Regional Director and member of the Latin American Executive Board (2016-2017). During her time as a student leader, she organized several large events and brought so many diverse and interesting speakers to universities that were previously closed off from the ideas of liberty.
“SFL really gave me a lot of tools that I’m using right now in my career. As I got greater responsibilities in the organization, my skills as an organizer got stronger. I wouldn’t be an activist were it not for the opportunities SFL gave me. It was amazing to see how people can change their minds through dialogue or simply through doing projects together.”
Her work since SFL has yielded promising results. In October and November 2017, Mariana participated in the Spanish think tank FAES’s Latin America Program, in which participants had the opportunity to meet great academics and politicians who fight for freedom. Mariana also recently participated in TechCamp 2018 from USAID, and has been selected to be part of the innovative Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente in Chile.
As a response to the June 2018 eruption of Volcan de Fuego that killed over 150 people in Guatemala, Mariana is implementing a civic laboratory to improve coordination in helping families affected by the volcano. Mariana also works as an Assistant Teacher at Francisco Marroquín University, teaching Constitutionalism and Economic Analysis of Law. On SFL, Mariana believes, “ SFL is not for the average person who just wants to go to college and go through the motions. Students For Liberty helps you learn how to be part of the solution to the problems you see in society. You don’t learn how to get a job but create a fulfilling career.”