Brazilian leaders receive Notre Dame Prize

by Dennis Brown

Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, presented the Notre Dame Prize for Distinguished Public Service in Latin America on Monday (Jan. 5) to Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and his predecessor, former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.p. The award, which was presented in a ceremony at the presidential palace in Brasilia, honors the leadership shown by both men in the national elections in 2002 that achieved the first democratic transition between two elected presidents in Brazil since the early 1960s. Lula and Cardoso each received a $10,000 cash award and matching donations to charities of their choice.p. Though they represent opposing political parties, Lula and Cardoso cooperated as statesmen to produce elections that were clean, fair and widely praised for avoiding political divisiveness or demagoguery. Lula’s “high-road” campaign and landslide victory, together with Cardoso’s even-handed management of the electoral process, yielded Brazil’s historic democratic transition.p. Lula and Cardoso both know the costs of living without democracy. Under the military regime that ruled Brazil from 1964-85, each suffered from the effects of a politically repressive society. Lula was jailed as a union leader, and Cardoso was forbidden from participating in political life. The two have known each other for decades.p. The Notre Dame Prize is organized each year by Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies, a center best known for research on the prospects for democracy in Latin America and around the world.p. The Coca-Cola Foundation provides funding support for the prize, which was first awarded in 2000. Previous winners include Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, S.B.D., of Honduras, former Chilean President Patricio Aylwin, and Inter-American Development Bank President Enrique Iglesias.

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