WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Mexican government today bestowed one of its highest honors, the prestigious National Ohtli Award, on Dina Siegel Vann, Director of AJC's Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs (BILLA).
The Ohtli Award recognizes Mexican, Mexican-American, or Latino leaders whose efforts have contributed significantly to the empowerment of Mexican communities abroad. Ohtli is a Náhuatl word that means "pathway" in English, or "camino" in Spanish.
"As a Mexican and American, I am deeply moved and grateful for this precious honor by the Mexican government," said Siegel Vann. "The Ohtli Award strengthens my commitment, on behalf of AJC, to continue working with the Mexican American, American Jewish, and other communities, as we strive to connect and build enduring ties in the U.S., Israel, and Mexico and other Latin American nations."
Siegel Vann, a native of Mexico City, immigrated with her husband and two children to the United States in 1997. She is the founding director of BILLA. Its creation in 2005 firmly established AJC's unique role in promoting Latino-Jewish alliances in the U.S. and enhancing the relationships among the U.S., Israel, and each of the Ibero-America countries.
Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S. Carlos M. Sada presented the award on behalf of his Government at the magnificent Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C.
"Dina has been a true leader and a pioneer who has paved the way for integrating the Mexican communities in this country," said Sada. "Her leadership has been a decisive force in the empowerment of immigrants in the United States."
"We are so pleased that Dina's amazing accomplishments, her remarkable initiative and drive, are being recognized today," said AJC CEO David Harris, who attended the moving ceremony. "With this prestigious award, Mexico has given special, well-deserved acknowledgement for Dina's efforts."
The ceremony was attended by several hundred people, including many ambassadors, U.S. officials, Mexican-American partners, and Latin American and Latino alumni of AJC's Project Interchange, which takes influential personalities to Israel.
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SOURCE American Jewish Committee