Panama City, Panama, May 21, 2003 – Last night 71 Miss Universe delegates gathered at the Miraflores Locks along the Panama Canal. Hosted by the Panama Canal Authority and its Administrator, Alberto Alemán Zubieta, the event welcomed the Miss Universe delegates to Panama, who are there for the June 3rd competition.

The women were given a tour of the Miraflores Locks and then assembled in the Visitor’s Center for a reception. While touring the locks, the delegates learned firsthand the Canal’s engineering genius and how it unites the world through global trade.

As the women toured Miraflores, the Canal’s most visited set of locks, the Panama-flagged vessel the Crown Topaz, a refrigerated cargo ship, and the Cyprus-flagged vessel P&O Nedlloyd Inca, a container ship, were being guided with the help of the Canal’s highly trained crew and state-of-the-art equipment. Following last night’s reception at Miraflores, the delegates were able to transit a portion of the Canal this morning, witnessing up close some of the modernization projects taking place.

The current Miss Universe, Justine Pasek, a Panamanian, said: “What a special place to be — at our beloved Canal. I hope all the contestants learn about the wonderful history and modern innovation that lie behind this marvel of the world. The Canal truly plays a unique role in bringing us all together. After a year, I am very happy to be back home — especially on the occasion to crown the next Miss Universe.”

The Miss Universe Pageant will be held June 3rd at Figali Convention Center in Panama City, Panama.

About the Panama Canal
The Panama Canal Authority is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating, and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the Panama Canal Authority is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the website: www.pancanal.com.