Monday 19th of February 2018 | Spanish | English

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With visible excitement and a smile on his face, Andres Chong-Qui Torres tells us about his beautiful Ecuador. Andres was born and raised in Guayaquil, home to his early achievements as a student and soccer player. He completed his primary education at the Instituto Particular Abdón Calderón and the first two years of his secondary education at el Colegio Javier, a Jesuit prep school that Pope Francis himself visited during his last trip to Ecuador. Andres is a Barcelona S.C. fanatic, loves Ecuador’s delicious cuisine, and rejoices in its multicultural society and biodiversity. Andres lives, celebrates, and showcases his roots with pride.

Andres migrated with his family to the U.S. at the age of 14, fleeing a dire socioeconomic situation and political instability- like thousands of other Ecuadorians in the early 2000’s. Upon his arrival to Miami, FL, he quickly realized he had to surpass substantial language and cultural barriers in order to achieve his professional goals.

Andres’s discipline and relentless drive to succeed were instrumental in exiting the ESL (English as a Second Language) program, which in turn allowed him to take Advanced Placement courses that put him on a path to college. He earned the support and recognition of his teachers and mentors by taking risks, and as a result obtained the best education possible. His hard work paid off, and he graduated at the top of his class and was admitted to Vanderbilt University.

His academic and personal experiences instilled in him a passion for public service. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, Spanish & Portuguese, Andres got accepted into Teach for America (TFA), a prestigious educational non-profit whose main objective is to end the education achievement gap in America. Through TFA, Andres returned to his community in South Florida to educate, mentor, and motivate students who had upbringings similar to his. During his tenure as an educator, he learned valuable lessons, including how to motivate, empower, and represent voiceless groups, as well as backwards-plan solutions to complex problems that tend to alienate the most vulnerable members of a community.

As an immigrant and first-generation college student, he understood the need to address failed policies that perpetuate educational and economic inequality, especially when inaction stems from underrepresentation of Latinos and other minorities in public office. His career in public service began as a field organizer during President Obama’s re-election campaign. He then set out to enhance his skills in D.C. by working at a think tank advocating for educational equity, immigration reform, and economic strategies that facilitate job creation.

After much sacrifice and a bit of luck, President Obama appointed him to work at the Department of the Treasury in the office of International Affairs. Today, he is part of a team that works tirelessly to maintain global financial stability and is able to observe first hand how his work impacts the American economy and the rest of the world.

Andres acknowledges that his success would not have been possible without the guidance of his parents, teachers, and mentors, as well as the invaluable experiences gained while growing up in Ecuador and the underprivileged communities he served in.

Andres strongly believes in advocating for policies that guarantee a quality education to all children regardless of their socioeconomic or ethnic background. He encourages Latinos and other minority youth to take pride in their roots, fight for the causes they feel passionate about, and seek to represent the voiceless in positions of influence.