The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) will present Salma Hayek Pinault and Juan Andrade Jr. with its highest honor, the Medallion of Excellence, on Oct. 2 at its 36th annual awards gala during Hispanic Heritage Month. The gala is expected to draw some 2,500 federal and local elected officials, corporate and nonprofit leaders, and celebrities.
"The significant professional achievements of our Medallion winners Salma Hayek Pinault and Dr. Andrade, and especially their passion for giving back to the community, symbolize how far Latinos have come and the positive impact we are having in making America a better place for all of us," Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, CHCI chairman, said in a statement.
The medallion is reserved for individuals who serve as exemplary role models for the Hispanic community, especially youth, and have a record of contributions and accomplishments going back at least 15 years. To qualify, candidates must focus on philanthropic and civic engagement in the Hispanic community, and must initiate or support programs that benefit the U.S. Hispanic community as a whole.
Perhaps best known to the public for her screen appearances as Frida Kahlo, for which she won an Academy Award, and her early bombshell roles, notably in Robert Rodriguez's film Desperado, Hayek Pinault has since become an activist in fighting violence against women and discrimination against immigrants.
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Andrade is co-founder and president of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI), a nonpartisan group that promotes education, research, and leadership development. A native of Texas, Andrade has risen from working in cotton fields and meatpacking plants to become a national leader in the Hispanic community.
Andrade's other awards include a Presidential Citizens Medal from President Clinton and the National Ohtli Award from the Mexican government. He holds a doctorate from Northern Illinois University, a post-doctorate M.A. from Loyola University Chicago and five honorary doctorates.
The CHCI gathering, "Our Time: A Strong America," will take place in Washington, D.C., Sept. 30-Oct. 2. The institute expects to draw more than 3,000 national Hispanic leaders to its Public Policy Conference, Reyes of Comedy and Annual Awards Gala. To register, click here.
"This year's Hispanic Heritage Month theme and events reflect the growing strength of our community and the tremendous impact Latinos will have on the future success of America," Hinojosa said.
Hinojosa will be joined at the CHCI's annual Public Policy Conference by administration officials, Congressional Hispanic Caucus members, and national experts and scholars in discussions of major policy issues affecting the Hispanic community.
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from Sept. 15-Oct. 15.
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