The Washington Office on Latin America will present OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza and Senator Christopher Dodd with the 2008 WOLA Human Rights Awards at WOLA's annual benefit gala and dinner on Wednesday evening.
The award recognizes Secretary General Insulza's efforts to revitalize the OAS' role as the Western Hemisphere's chief multilateral forum for strengthening democracy and promoting human rights, as well as his long and distinguished career in public service in Chile. Insulza served as foreign minister and held other posts in the progressive coalition currently ruling Chile.
In the case of Senator Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, the award recognizes his work over many years in Congress to put human rights at the center of U.S. policy in Latin America and his leadership role on issues related to Latin America in general. He played a key role in building U.S. support for peace efforts in Central America and has spoken out on the need for a new U.S. policy toward the region.
"We believe that there needs to be a new kind of relationship between the United States and Latin America, built on principles of human rights, justice, democracy and mutual respect. Both Senator Dodd and Secretary General Insulza are leaders who exemplify this approach, and it is for this reason that we honor them tonight," said WOLA Executive Director Joy Olson.
Also, representatives of WOLA and Duke University will present author Francisco Goldman with the first WOLA-Duke Book Award for his book The Art of Political Murder, an exhaustively researched account of assassination, impunity and justice in Guatemala.
WOLA will present the awards at its second annual benefit gala at the headquarters of the OAS in Washington, D.C.
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