Washington, D.C. - The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute held its 9th Annual Gala and Leadership Awards on May 15th in Washington, D.C. The CHLI Leadership in Public Service Awards were presented to Senator Graham of South Carolina and Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois. Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy, received the CHLI International Leadership Award and Linda Alvarado, President of Alvarado Construction, was presented with the CHLI Corporate Leadership Award. CHLI recognizes exemplary leaders who value and support diversity of thought among all Americans and who, through their leadership, promote public service, economic progress and excellence in education - core values of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute.
Lincoln Diaz-Balart, CHLI Chairman and former Member of Congress, started the
evening by stating, "CHLI is the first national organization to recognize both bi-cameral, bipartisan working groups on immigration reform. On behalf of both the Senate and the House working groups, tonight we honor two statesmen for their leadership and setting examples of bi-partisanship through their work on immigration reform - Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Luis Gutierrez. He added, "Carl Gershman, for decades, has been a beacon of light to the oppressed throughout the world. We are indeed privileged to be able to honor him. And, Linda Alvarado is an extraordinary Latina who is a role model for our entire community."
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and CHLI Vice Chairman, Congressman Henry
Cuellar presented Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina with a CHLI Leadership in Public Service Award. Senator Graham humbly accepted the honor on behalf of his colleagues in the Senate. "I was extremely honored to accept this award on behalf of the bipartisan group of senators working to reform our nation's immigration laws. The support CHLI has provided the immigration reform effort, in a bipartisan fashion, has been invaluable and greatly contributed to the progress we have made in 2013."
CHLI Chairman, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and CHLI Gala Chairwoman, Ivette Fernandez of
News Corporation presented Congressman Luis Gutierrez from Illinois with the second CHLI Leadership in Public Service Award. Congressman Luis Gutierrez proudly accepted the award on behalf of his colleagues in the House of Representatives. "When partisan politics keep us from solving problems on so many issues, I am proud of my colleagues in the House bipartisan group and proud that we are working together to address immigration reform. We continually remind ourselves what is at stake, the families, the working men and women, people facing deportation and an economy that must grow. We are crafting a sensible immigration policy
and it is within our grasp and will benefit all Americans."
CHLI Vice Chair, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and CHLI Board Member, Nathalie
Rayes of Grupo Salinas presented the CHLI International Leadership Award to Carl
Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for his unwavering commitment to democracy that has assisted current leaders and up and coming ones with training to improve the quality of lives for their communities and countries. Carl Gershman accepted the recognition on behalf of the staff at NED who respond to calls from anyone in the world who needs their assistance and training. "Despite the threat to democracy and human rights in the hemisphere, the opportunities for democratic progress are actually growing, as the region's populist autocracies are failing politically and economically, and with the Cuban dictatorship now entering what I believe is the final stage of its inexorable decline and inevitable fall. But we can't take advantage of these opportunities without a new rebirth of democratic solidarity."
Rudy Beserra of The Coca-Cola Company and Susan Santana of AT&T, CHLI
Founders and Board Members, presented Linda Alvarado, President of Alvarado Construction, with the CHLI Corporate Leadership Award for her entrepreneurial achievements. Ms.Alvarado is also the owner of the Colorado Rockies and is nationally recognized as a role model and a person committed to the advancement of the Hispanic community. "I am honored to receive the Corporate Leadership Award. I am also humbled because I view this as not just about me, but about our entire community as an aspirational symbol of the ability of not just Latinos, but also the ability of Latinas, to succeed as entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and
directors of Fortune 500 Companies."
CHLI's commitment to recognizing Hispanic excellence in both the public and private
sectors starts with fostering future Hispanic leaders. CHLI has funded close to $1,000,000 in education programs like the Global Leaders Internship & Fellowship Program, the Tuck Business Bridge Program and the CHLI Future Leaders Conference. Mary Ann Gomez, CHLI Executive Director thanked the major sponsors of the evening: Melissa Maxfield and Juan Otero with Comcast/NBCUniversal/Telemundo, John Hoel with Altria and Bert Gomez with Univision. Other sponsors of the 9th Annual Gala and Leadership Awards were: AT&T, Banco Popular, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, Oracle, Walmart,Amgen, TV Azteca, Baxter, BP America, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Google, Heineken USA, Intuit, MillerCoors, National Association of Broadcasters, News Corporation, PG&E Corporation, Tonio Burgos and Associates, United Technologies, Verizon and Western Union.