Honored to Represent Her Cultural Heritage

Posted: February 24, 2023

Like many of her peers, HIU junior Surie Camacho is quite immersed in campus life. In addition to pursuing her business degree, Surie serves as a leader within the Student Government Association (SGA) and plays guard on the Royals women’s basketball team. But Surie also holds the unique distinction of being the reigning Miss Nicaragua COFECA.

Established in 1983, the Confederacion Centroamericana, also known as COFECA, is a charitable organization that focuses on preserving the culture of Central Americans and transmitting it to the younger generation. COFECA has spent the last 40 years building a strong community in Los Angeles and is constantly working to create security, social equality, and educational opportunities.

Noticing Surie’s activities and qualifications via her mother’s social media posts, COFECA reached out and personally invited Surie to participate in their annual pageant. Surie felt a deep connection to their mission and sensed it could be a wonderful opportunity for her. She credits her grandmother, a Nicaragua native, for inspiring her to pursue the invitation.

Since being crowned Miss Nicaragua COFECA last August, Surie has spoken at various events and large public gatherings, including parades and festivals with crowds of up to 40,000 people. She uses her platform to convey the importance of expressing and preserving one’s cultural heritage and furthering their education. She also spends time with potential donors, inviting them to support organizations that preserve culture for future generations.

Surie views her Miss Nicaragua title as much more than just a memorable accomplishment or ceremonial tiara and sash, but an amazing opportunity to be a servant leader and to publicly demonstrate the significance of education, faith, and cultural heritage. She takes great pride in representing her cultural heritage and uses her unique platform to encourage others to embrace their own culture as well.

“I am so grateful that God hand-picked me for this unexpected adventure,” Surie explains. “It came out of nowhere. It was not something I sought or planned for, but is such an incredible blessing that landed in my lap.”

Surie expressed her gratitude for the overwhelming amount of support and encouragement she has received from her HIU faculty and classmates. During times when Surie has COFECA responsibilities, her professors are extremely understanding and willing to work with her schedule. This has allowed for her to be successful in both her Miss Nicaragua duties and her schoolwork.

“One of the great strengths of Hope’s smaller campus community is that they are a big support system,” Surie shares.

Surie says her Hope International University experience has prepared her for this unique role. In addition to SGA and basketball, she has been involved with the Cultural Center on campus. She also assisted in running Hispanic Heritage Month at HIU.