WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

2016 WOLA Human Rights Award Ceremony and Benefit Gala



Every year, WOLA honors organizations or individuals who have worked tirelessly to promote human rights, democracy, and justice in Latin America. Our awardees are organizations or individuals who exemplify a commitment to WOLA’s vision for the future, where human rights and social justice are the foundation for public policy.

At a time when more Central Americans are fleeing their home countries, WOLA’s 2016 Human Rights Awards focus on the urgent need to address the root causes of migration from the region—namely the high levels of violence, poverty, corruption, and impunity that plague Central America—as well as the need to expand access to protection for migrants who could qualify for asylum in Mexico and the United States. To learn more about the issues, please watch the following video:

Watch the program:

2016 WOLA Human Rights Awards


Bill & Paula Clapp are being recognized for their visionary and catalytic commitment to human rights and economic development in Central America.

The Clapps first pioneered new approaches to microfinance at Global Partnerships, a social impact-investing firm they co-founded in 1994. They have since helped create Seattle’s internationally renowned culture of philanthropy, working with other local leaders to found the Initiative for Global Development and Global Washington, before launching the Seattle International Foundation in 2008. The Seattle International Foundation works to reduce poverty and promote equality in Central America by supporting high-impact organizations driving social change in the areas of leadership development, research, and public policy. At a time when so little U.S. philanthropy is directed to Central America, their commitment is catalyzing others to follow their lead in directing needed funds to the region.

Casa Alianza de Honduras is being recognized for their critical and courageous work to protect children and adolescents at risk in Honduras.

Casa Alianza in Honduras is a network of shelters protecting children and adolescents who face the devastating effects of violence. They provide shelter and support to youth at risk who have fallen victim to violence, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, substance abuse, and increasingly, deportation from the United States and Mexico. Under the leadership of National Director José Guadalupe Ruelas, Casa Alianza is providing valuable lessons on how to disrupt violence and turn around the lives of youth at risk. In recognizing Casa Alianza, WOLA is also commending the courage of Ruelas and his staff, who work selflessly and often times at the expense of their personal security.

To learn about past WOLA Human Rights Awards Recipients, please click here.

Honorary Committee

Senator Maria Cantwell
Senator Ben Cardin
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Senator Barbara A Mikulski
Senator Patty Murray
Senator Jon Tester
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi,
House Minority Leader
Congresswoman Karen Bass
Congresswoman Kathy Castor
Congresswoman Rosa L DeLauro
Congresswoman Donna Edwards
Congressman Keith Ellison
Congressman Tom Emmer
Congressman Eliot L Engel
Congressman Sam Farr
Congressman Luis V Gutiérrez
Congressman Hank Johnson
Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Congressman Sander Levin
Congressman John Lewis
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren
Congressman Alan Lowenthal
Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey
Congressman Jim McDermott
Congressman James P McGovern
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Congressman Beto O'Rourke
Congressman Mark Pocan
Congressman Jared Polis
Congressman David Price
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
Congressman Adam Smith
Congressman Mark Takano
Congresswoman Norma Torres
Congresswoman Maxine Waters
Ed Murray, Mayor of Seattle