President Lula to Receive Woodrow Wilson Public Service Award
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution will present the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service to His Excellency Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, at a dinner to be held on September 21, 2009, at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City. Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil and Eike F. Batista, chairman and CEO of the Brazilian EBX Group will serve as the dinner co-chairs for this prestigious event.
"President Lula personifies the attributes we seek to honor at the Woodrow Wilson Center. He is a political leader who contributed decisively to bringing about the end of military rule and reopening the road to democracy in his country. This award is a tribute to a statesman who has strengthened Brazil immensely domestically and elevated its global standing," said Lee H. Hamilton, president and director of the Woodrow Wilson Center.
President Lula was elected President in 2002 and re-elected in 2006, receiving the most votes of any Brazilian President. Throughout his Presidency he has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to the ideals of democracy and proven to skeptics worldwide that there is no contradiction between sound economic policy and a progressive social agenda. As President he has drastically reduced hunger in Brazil with his Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) program and has instituted policies to help move Brazil from a foreign debtor to a foreign creditor for the first time. Before becoming the President of Brazil Lula served as the President of a São Paulo steel workers union and founded Brazil's Workers' Party.
This is only the third time that the Woodrow Wilson Public Service Award will be given to a Brazilian and the first time that it will be given to a politician. Prior honorees have included journalist Ruy Mesquita, director of the Estado de São Paulo, and Dra Zilda Arns, founder of the Pastoral da Criança. The presidents of the Board of Directors of Embraer, Maurício Botelho, and of the Gerdau Group, Jorge Gerdau, received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, established by the U.S. Congress in 1968 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the living, national memorial to the United States' 28th president. The Center is one of three American institutions (along with the National Gallery of Art and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts) created by congressional statute to perform a national mission within the Smithsonian Institution and is governed by its own independent Board of Trustees appointed by the U.S. President.
A nonpartisan institution supported by public and private funds, the Center explores national and global issues through free, open, and informed dialogue. The Honorable Joseph B. Gildenhorn is chairman of the Board of Trustees, and previously served as U.S. ambassador to Switzerland (1983–1993). He will present the award to President Lula. Lee H. Hamilton, president and director of the Woodrow Wilson Center, served as a member of Congress for 34 years and provided service as vice chairman of the independent 9/11 Commission. He also served as co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group with former Secretary of State James Baker.