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Fulbrighter Everardo Rivera is making university more accessible in El Salvador

Jose Everardo Rivera Bonilla (Ever, as called by family & friends) is a Fulbright scholar with a degree in Political Science – International Relations from New York University (NYU). Today Rivera Bonilla is Provost of Escuela Superior de Economia y Negocios (ESEN) in his home country of El Salvador. ESEN comes from a remarkable and decisive effort of the private sector that is engaged with improving the quality of higher education in El Salvador. This effort has been led since the beginning by Ricardo Poma, a Salvadoran visionary leading regional businessman. Therefore, Ever is contributing at ESEN towards providing a higher education to students regardless of income, religious beliefs, or political views.

Since he was ten years old, Fulbright Scholar Jose Everardo Rivera Bonilla was determined to find a way to serve his country of El Salvador. He contemplated the military (because of his grandpa) and he contemplated medicine (because of an uncle & a cousin). His priest, sensing Rivera Bonilla’s potential, even suggested the possibility of President. Eventually, he decided to study business and economics at Escuela Superior de Economia y Negocios (ESEN) with the hope of gaining valuable leadership skills.

Completing his studies at ESEN only intensified Rivera Bonilla’s hunger for learning. After graduation, he spent six months in Toronto to practice his English skills, and he later received a scholarship to study Applied Macroeconomics and Public Policy in Chile (at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile).

With two Masters’ degrees, it was no surprise when the Academic Director of ESEN (Daniel Wisecarver) called and offered Rivera Bonilla a full time position. At just twenty-six years old, he became a full time professor at El Salvador’s best business school. While teaching at ESEN, Rivera Bonilla decided to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship. After being granted the scholarship, Laspau helped match him to the Political Science – International Relations Program at New York University.

“Indeed, I feel a huge responsibility because of the opportunity that I was given. Thus, I want to give back and share my experiences with younger generations.”

“It was simply amazing and unforgettable what I felt on that day,” Rivera Bonilla explains when he thinks back to the morning he received news of his acceptance to the program. “I will always be, definitely, thankful to Fulbright and Laspau… I was given the chance to develop an international understanding through meeting people, lots of them, friends now, with whom I am still in touch.”

Rivera Bonilla makes a point to visit New York City at least once a year to say hello to these friends and to walk through the streets of a city so different from those of San Salvador.

“Indeed, I feel a huge responsibility because of the opportunity that I was given. Thus, I want to give back and share my experiences with younger generations.”

Today Rivera Bonilla holds the position of Provost at ESEN where he is fulfilling his childhood goal of serving his country by providing an education to young and ambitious Salvadorans regardless of income, religious beliefs, or political views. Rivera Bonilla and ESEN’s team have pushed to increase internship opportunities for his students and has strengthened the university’s job placement program. ESEN can boast that one hundred percent of its alumni receive job offers within six months of graduation.

As for the future? Always striving for further knowledge, Rivera Bonilla has the interest of learning and contributing in government and politics someday. Who knows? Maybe Rivera Bonilla will serve as El Salvador’s next president, as predicted by his catholic priest. But for now, Rivera Bonilla is very happy and thankful with the opportunity of learning from an amazing team and being in touch with younger generations of Salvadorans through his dynamic and challenging work at his beloved alma mater.

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