ND presents former Chilean president with award
Eleven years ago, University President Father Malloy had the privilege of meeting a man who would heal an ailing nation. In the wake of Chile's first democratic elections since Pinochet came to power, Malloy visited the country and the incumbent president of Chile, Patricio Aylwin Azocar, agreed to talk with him.
"We had a full discussion about what his hopes and dreams were," Malloy said.
On Monday evening, Father Malloy, in conjunction with the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and The Coca-Cola Company, presented Aylwin with the Notre Dame Prize for Distinguished Public Service in Latin America — a testament that Aylwin made his dreams a reality.
The Notre Dame Award for Distinguished Public Service in Latin America is awarded to a Latin American who has shown distinction in public service and who is widely acknowledged to have served the public in an effective, honest and dignified manner.
The recipient may work in any number of fields, such as government, nongovernmental organizations, religion, education, the media or any other civic involvement. The recipient of last year's inaugural award was Enrique V. Iglesias, president of the Inter-American Development Bank.
Aylwin served as president of Chile from 1990 to 1994. As the leader of the Christian Democratic Party, Aylwin succeeded in establishing a government whose objective was the rebuilding and consolidation of democracy in the aftermath of human rights violations committed during Pinochet's military dictatorship (1973-90).
Concurently, Aylwin spurred the Chilean economy into one of the fastest growth rates of the time.
As a result of his socioeconomic policy, Aylwin reduced inflation, unemployment and poverty.
At the commencement of Monday's ceremony, Executive Vice President Father Timothy Scully addressed the crowd with words of respect and admiration for the former president's.
"He [Aylwin] honors this award more than this award honors him," said Scully.
Aylwin's civic involvement did not end with his presidential term. His primary concern was raising awareness about poverty and social inequalities that breed injustice and threaten world peace. Currently, Aylwin works with the Corporation for Justice and Democracy, which he founded. The program's objectives include promoting democratic values and social development in youth.
In his keynote address to the Notre Dame community, Aylwin spoke of the necessity of implementing socioeconomic policies that embrace Christian teachings on human rights.
"We cannot help but be profoundly disturbed by the apparent inequality separating the rich from the poor populations. Out of the 6 billion people populating the earth, more than 850 million adults are illiterate and over 40 million are malnourished," said Aylwin.
The award ceremony is just one of the events in the two day conference sponsored by the Kellogg Institute entitled "Advances and Setbacks in the Third Wave of Democratization in Latin America."
The conference continues through today at the Center for Continuing Education. Various papers will be presented throughout the day, culminating with the inauguration of the visiting chair in the study of Brazilian culture at 5 p.m. in the CCE auditorium.
All News Stories for Tuesday, April 24, 2001