Former Chilean president Aylwin to receive Notre Dame Prize for service in Latin America

by Michael O. Garvey

p. Patricio Aylwin Azocar, former president of Chile, will receive the Notre Dame Prize for Distinguished Public Service in Latin America in a ceremony April 23 (Monday) at 5:30 p.m. in the rotunda of Notre Dame’s Main Building.p. After a U.S.-sponsored military coup overthrew Chile’s democratic government and established the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in 1973, Aylwin led the country’s Christian Democratic Party and became central to the movement which eventually defeated Pinochet and restored Chilean democracy following the fall of the dictatorship. He served as the nation’s first democratically elected president from 1989-94. He now is president of the Corporation for Democracy and Justice, a nonprofit organization he founded to develop approaches to eliminating poverty and to strengthen ethical values in politics.p. As president of Chile, Aylwin received an honorary doctorate of law from Notre Dame in 1992 and spoke at that year’s Commencement ceremony, sharing the platform with then U.S. President George Bush.p. Established in 1999 with funding support from The Coca-Cola Company, the Notre Dame Prize for Distinguished Public Service in Latin America is given annually to an individual from that region who has honestly, effectively and substantively furthered the public good in one or more countries of the region by his or her accomplishments in government, nongovernmental organizations, religion, education, the media, philanthropy, or other forms of civic leadership. The award carries a cash prize of $10,000, with an equal sum to be given to a Latin American charitable organization chosen by the recipient. The inaugural award was given last May to Enrique V. Iglesias, president of the Inter-American Development Bank.p. Born in Vi?a del Mar, Chile, on November 26, 1918, Aylwin was graduated from the University of Chile in 1943. He embarked on an academic career, teaching law at the University of Chile and the Catholic University of Chile and civic education and political economy at the National Institute of Santiago.p. Aylwin first became active in the Christian Democratic Party during the 1950s and served seven terms as its president between 1958-89. In 1965 he was elected to the Chilean senate and served as its president from 1971-72 during the presidency of Salvador Allende.

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