WASHINGTON—Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos will receive the Wilson Center’s prestigious Award for Public Service in New York City in September 2013.

“Throughout his life, President Santos has been committed to serving the public good by fostering democracy, security, and peace in Colombia,” said  Jane Harman, director, president, and CEO of the Wilson Center. “He has demonstrated courage and leadership in shaping Colombia’s future as a secure and prosperous nation.”

The Woodrow Wilson Award is given to those individuals whose actions and accomplishments, either in their careers or through service, reflect President Woodrow Wilson’s belief that “there is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.” Such individuals have been recognized worldwide by The Wilson Center since 1998.

Since their inception, Woodrow Wilson Awards have been bestowed on citizens from the United States and 17 other countries covering six continents.  The Award for Public Service has also been bestowed on notable U.S. and international figures including, among others, The Hon. Hillary Rodham Clinton (United States), H.E. Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper (Canada), Dr. Sadako Ogata (Japan), The Hon. Hans-Dietrich Genscher (Germany), Gen. (Ret.) Colin Powell (United States), and H.E. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Brazil). 

President Santos is the first Colombian citizen and the third Latin American president to be honored by the Wilson Center.  He is the first recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Awards to be honored by the Center’s Latin American Program. 

The Awards dinner in New York is organized in cooperation with the Colombian-American Association, the oldest chamber of commerce for Colombia in the United States.  “We are thrilled to be collaborating with the Wilson Center as it bestows this important honor,” said Christian Murrle, President of the Colombian American Association and Managing Director of PanAmerican Capital Partners, LLC. 


Notes to Editors

  1. The Wilson Center, chartered by Congress as the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson, is the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas connecting Washington, the United States, and the world. The Wilson Center convenes “the thinkers and the doers”—policymakers, scholars, business leaders, the media, and NGO voices—under the belief that an informed, open, and civil dialogue will lead to improved understanding, cooperation, and, ultimately, better public policy. 


  1. The Latin American Program and its Institutes on Brazil and Mexico work to address critical current and emerging challenges facing the Hemisphere.  The Program sponsors relevant and timely research and uses its unparalleled convening power to provide a nonpartisan “space” for experts, decision makers, and opinion leaders to interact.  Core programming focuses on issues of democratic governance, citizen security, conflict resolution, international relations, and foreign policy. The Program is overseen by a distinguished international Advisory Board of preeminent scholars, public intellectuals, and business leaders and is chaired by former President of Uruguay Tabaré Vázquez.  More information on the Latin American Program is available at www.wilsoncenter.org/lap


  1. The Colombian American Association is a private, non-profit business organization founded in 1927 to promote investment, commerce, and cultural exchange between the United States and Colombia. Its membership consists of international business executives, financiers, professionals, non-governmental organizations, and academics.  The Association sponsors programs in New York City and Colombia that feature heads of state and prominent private sector leaders, government officials, and cultural figures.


  1. The Honorable Joseph B. Gildenhorn is chairman of the Wilson Center’s Board of Trustees, and previously served as U.S. ambassador to Switzerland (1983–1993). At the beginning of February, 2011, Jane Harman, director, president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson Center, retired after nine terms of serving as U.S. Representative of California’s 36th Congressional district, to lead The Wilson Center. During her tenure in Congress, she served on all the major security committees: Armed Services, Intelligence, and Homeland Security. Harman received the Defense Department Medal for Distinguished Service in 1998, the CIA Seal Medal in 2007, and the National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2011. She also currently serves as a member of the Defense Policy Board, advising the U.S. Secretary of State. Prior to serving in Congress, she was a top aide in the United States Senate, Deputy Cabinet Secretary to President Jimmy Carter, Special Counsel to the Department of Defense, and a lawyer in private practice.