By Shirley Tejada
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, recipient of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, will accept the Inter-American Dialogue’s Leadership for the Americas Award at the institution’s annual gala dinner on November 16, 2016 in Washington, DC.
“The Dialogue is immensely honored to welcome and recognize one of the most distinguished contemporary leaders of the Americas at a singular moment for the history of Colombia and the entire region,” said former President of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo and former US Trade Representative Carla A. Hills, co-chairs of the Dialogue’s Board of Directors.
Santos was elected president of Colombia in 2010 and previously served as minister of foreign trade, minister of finance and public credit, and minister of defense. The Norwegian Nobel Committee named him winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in October for his “resolute efforts to bring Colombia’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end.”
“We are thrilled that President Santos has agreed to receive our Leadership for the Americas Award this year. No one is more deserving. His relentless pursuit of peace in Colombia is essential to advance democracy, social equity and prosperity in that great country. We are proud of his active engagement with the Dialogue for over a quarter century,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Dialogue.
Santos has been a member of the Inter-American Dialogue since 1990 and served as co-vice chair of the Board of Directors from 1996 to 2000.
Distinguished guests participating in the gala include Enrique García, president of CAF – Development Bank, who will also be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award; Ludwig Willisch, president and CEO of BMW North America, who accepts an award on behalf of the BMW Group for the company’s commitment to social responsibility; Dr. Vanessa Van Der Linden Mota of Brazil, who will be recognized for her efforts to mobilize the international community in response to the Zika virus; and US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon, who will deliver special remarks and receive special recognition for his dedication to public service.
Past honorees or program participants include former President of the Government of Spain Felipe González, US Senator Tim Kaine, former World Bank President Robert Zoellick, US Representative Xavier Becerra, Mexican entrepreneur Daniel Chávez Morán, US Special Envoy Bernie Aronson, and Guatemalan philanthropist Salvador Paiz.