CHCI President & CEO Esther Aguilera Receives Cross of Isabel la Catolica from King of Spain

CHCI proudly announced today that its President & CEO Esther Aguilera was bestowed the Cross of Isabel la Catolica by the Ambassador of Spain Jorge Dezcallar at his residence in Washington, D.C. on the evening of Wednesday, March 28.   The honor was decreed by Royal Proclamation from King Juan Carlos I of Spain.

The Order of Isabel la Catolica, instituted in 1815, recognizes both Spanish citizens and foreigners for their extraordinary character and efforts that improve relations through friendship and cooperation between Spain and the international community.  Aguilera was chosen for her great contribution to these efforts through her work as executive director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and at CHCI, striving to improve relations between Spain and the American Latino community.  She joins an elite group of past awardees that includes President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, Governor Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico, Samuel Morse, American inventor and painter, and Eva Peron, former first lady of Argentina, among many others.

“It has been a great joy to travel to Spain, host the Crown Prince Felipe de Borbón at our annual awards gala, and work to secure substantive partnerships that create international education opportunities for young Hispanics,” said Aguilera.  “I am truly honored to receive such a distinguished award from the King of Spain and to be recognized for the work we are doing to make real connections between nations and people.”

“Spain, and more directly, those who work with the Embassy in Washington, have benefited from the friendship and collaboration with Esther,” said Ambassador Dezcallar.  “CHCI has always provided invaluable support in our contacts with the Hispanic Caucus and the Friends of Spain Caucus in Congress.”

Aguilera’s work includes coordinating and traveling to Spain in 1998 with the first delegation of U.S. Hispanic members of Congress.  That year she also participated in the Programas de Lideres Hispanos and worked with the Spanish Embassy to help recruit the first group of U.S participants to travel to Spain.  She remains an active participant in the Lideres Hispanos alumni group.

In 2007, she led another delegation with the Congressional Friends of Spain Caucus to create an International Public Policy Fellowship in partnership with Universia and Universidad Rey Juan Carlos to increase the Latino presence in international policy.  In 2009, she was a keynote speaker for the Fundación Euroamerica V Conferencia Internacional de ABC, where she led a discussion on the history of Hispanics in America, U.S. Hispanic demographic trends, the impact of Hispanics in the 2008 U.S. elections, and the alliances between U.S. Hispanics, Spain, and Latin America.

About Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), a nonprofit and nonpartisan 501(c) (3) organization, provides leadership development programs and educational services to students and young emerging leaders. The CHCI Board of Directors is comprised of Hispanic Members of Congress, nonprofit, union and corporate leaders. For more information call CHCI at (202) 543-1771 or visit www.chci.org.

Media Contact:
Scott Gunderson Rosa: (202) 548-5876

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