On Thursday, May 8th, members, leaders, and esteemed guests of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) convened for the organization’s 10th annual awards gala to celebrate CHLI’s work promoting diversity and Hispanic leadership. The date marked a decade of CHLI’s dedicated effort to foster broad awareness of the diversity of thought, heritage, interests, and views of Americans of Hispanic and Portuguese descent. CHLI’s areas of focus are in commerce, trade, energy/environment, technology and higher education and are at the core of its globally competitive youth leadership development programs.
Emilio Estefan Jr. received CHLI’s Corporate Leadership Award. As the founder of Estefan Enterprises, he has become one of the most successful producers in the music industry and has been instrumental in shaping, developing, and directing the careers of dozens of artists. In 2002, Mr. Estefan was appointed by President George W. Bush as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities. Most recently, he was named by President Barack Obama as the vice chair to the new commission that will create the National Museum for the American Latino. “It’s always an honor to be recognized for your accomplishments but this award is not about me, but rather about an organization who for the last 10 years has worked so hard to promote and acknowledge the achievements of Hispanics in this great country. That’s what makes this honor so special and rewarding,” said Mr. Estefan.
Michael Camuñez received CHLI’s Leadership in Public Service Award. As Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Camuñez served as one of our nation’s leading commercial diplomats, helping to lead the U.S. government’s efforts to open new markets for U.S. goods and services around the world. He is widely recognized for playing a critical role in rebalancing U.S. economic policy toward Mexico and was the chief architect of the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue. Previously, Mr. Camuñez served in the White House for two years as Special Counsel and Special Assistant to the President where he was one of the highest ranking Latinos on the White House Staff. “I am very honored to receive CHLI’s Leadership in Public Service Award. I appreciate CHLI’s commitment to promoting the economic advancement of the Hispanic community, including through global competitiveness and trade. I appreciate the board’s recognition of my efforts to strengthen ties between the United States and the Americas, as the award further motivates me to continue this work from the private sector,” said Mr. Camuñez.
Ms. Wendy Martinez, an alumnae of CHLI’s Leadership Program in 2005, was the keynote speaker for the evening representing the 110 alumni of CHLI’s programs. Alumni from throughout the country participated in the gala to mark the milestone anniversary and the annual awards gala, the largest fundraising event that supports CHLI’s internships. Wendy Martinez is a Partnership Officer at the Inter-American Development Bank. Wendy is also the co-founder of Jovenes por Nicaragua, a non-profit that provides financial resources to low-income, academically talented Nicaraguan students interested in pursuing an education abroad. Ms. Martinez earned a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University and a Master’s in Latin American Studies from Georgetown.
“Thank you to the generous support of our sponsors, partners, founding members, board members and corporate advisory council members for celebrating 10 years of service with us,” expressed Mary Ann Gomez, CHLI Executive Director.