Amidst a packed room of U.S. and international leaders from the community, business, and political sphere, the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) honored three important leaders at its 8th Annual CHLI Gala and Leadership Awards dinner this past Monday, May 7, 2012, in Washington D.C. The President of Honduras, His Excellency Porfirio Lobo was presented with the CHLI Leadership in International Relations Award. Ralph de la Vega, President & CEO of AT&T Mobility accepted the CHLI Corporate Leadership Award and Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (MI) was honored with the CHLI Leadership in Public Service Award.
Emmy award winning Univision journalist Teresa Rodriguez was mistress of ceremonies for the event that included a performance by the youth musical choir Líderes del Canto from Coral Springs, Florida. Also attending the event were many current participants and alumni of the CHLI Global Leaders Internship Program. The evening included youth, community leaders, members of Congress, and was capped by the inspiring words of leadership from the awardees.
“CHLI is proud have honored three important leaders tonight, President Porfirio Lobo for having led the difficult process of reinsertion of his country into the international community after the people of Honduras successfully resisted an international attempt to destroy its democracy, Congressman McCotter of Michigan for his courageous and ceaseless fight for freedom throughout our hemisphere, and Ralph de la Vega for model corporate leadership and extraordinary service to the U.S. Hispanic community” said Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL), CHLI Founder, Board Chairman and former member of Congress.
The three awardees provided insightful acceptance speeches. AT&T Mobility, CEO Ralph de la Vega set the tone for the inspiring evening by telling his personal story of triumph and reiterated his commitment to support youth programs of entrepreneurship. President Lobo accepted his award on behalf of the citizens of Honduras and congratulated CHLI for their vision and mission. Congressman McCotter told the emotionally powerful story of his wife’s Mexican family heritage and respect for their military service to this country.
Previous CHLI leadership award recipients include President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, His Excellency President Ma Ying-Jeou of the Republic of China (Taiwan), former Prime Minister of Spain Jose Maria Aznar, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert, Senator Robert Menendez (NJ), and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez.
Sponsors for the event included: Comcast Corp., NBC Universal, and Telemundo, Altria Client Services, Heineken USA, Univision, AT&T, Banco Popular, Dell, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, Kraft Foods, Baxter Healthcare, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Google, Intuit, National Association of Broadcasters, News Corporation, PG&E Corporation, Tonio Burgos and Associates, Verizon, Walmart, and Western Union.