New York, June 12, 2019—Americas Society is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2019 Gold Medals: Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro, President and Chief Executive Officer of Diarq Group Gina Diez Barroso, and President and CEO of Scotiabank Brian J. Porter. More than 400 guests from the world of business, philanthropy, government, diplomacy, and the arts in the Americas attended the Society’s 39th Annual Spring Party held June 10 in New York City at Cipriani Wall Street.
“It is an honor to bestow the Americas Society Gold Medal to three such outstanding and inspiring hemispheric leaders. Secretary General Luis Almagro is leading the charge for democracy in the region, Gina Diez Barroso is a role model for women and girls around the world, and Brian Porter is one of the largest and most important investors in the Pacific Alliance. I can’t imagine three more deserving honorees,” said Americas Society and Council of the Americas (AS/COA) President and CEO Susan Segal.
AS/COA Chairman Andrés Gluski presented the Gold Medal to Luis Almagro, highlighting his work to defend democracy in the hemisphere. “Since taking office in March 2015 he has worked tirelessly in defense of democracy and human rights. Upon taking over as Secretary General, he announced that the guiding principle of his administration would be “more rights for more people”. For him that meant bringing more democracy, security, development, and prosperity for all,” said Gluski about Almagro.
“Leadership must catch up with the demands of this pressing and trying time, and live up to standards set forth by Inter-American law,” said Luis Almagro upon receiving the award. “Our work is not the easiest path, we are fighting every day against dictators, criminals, the corrupt and so called democrats with lower case ‘d,’ who are fake democracy defenders that are toxic for the region as totalitarians are.”
Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Almagro was elected to his role on March 18, 2015. During his tenure, he has not hesitated to speak out when there have been abuses of democratic institutions, as in the case of Venezuela. In addition to that crisis, the Secretary General has renewed the support of the OAS to the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia, promoted the creation of the Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras—the first OAS Mission of its kind; renewed and expanded the Electoral Observation Missions of the OAS, played a key role in the holding of Haitian elections, and mediated the migratory crisis between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. He served as Uruguay’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2010 to 2015 and Ambassador to China from 2007-2010, and has represented Uruguay in Iran and Germany, among other positions. The Secretary General is a lawyer by profession.
Susan Segal presented the award for Gina Diez Barroso. “Tonight, we are honoring Gina for her extraordinary leadership, commitment to education and culture, her exemplary entrepreneurship —showing once again that women can be highly successful entrepreneurs—and of course her commitment to diversity and women. In some ways, she redefines what it is to be a social entrepreneur and impact investor.”
“It is a real honor for me to receive such an exceptional recognition tonight, and a great responsibility that I assume with great pride,” said Diez Barroso in remarks made after receiving the Gold Medal. “I remember crystal clear all my early frustrations, and how I had to empower myself in order to conquer my fears and self-doubts to climb by professional ladder. Today, thank god the global conversation around the opportunities for women and girls is changing, now we have a voice, but there’s still a huge gap that needs to be addressed so that new generations don’t have to grow up with the same frustrations women in my generation went through.”
President and Chief Executive Officer of Diarq Group Gina Diez Barroso has specialized in education and real estate developing. In 1990 she created and launched Diarq Holding with eight subsidiaries, currently employing over 800 people. In 2004, she founded CENTRO; the first university in Mexico specialized in creative studies with a strong emphasis in business and entrepreneurship. The university has grown to its present student enrollment of 3,500 and is recognized as Mexico’s best university in its field. She gives university scholarships to 1,000 students a year and founded a non-profit organization to eradicates domestic violence and bullying of women and children. In 2016, she started Dalia Empower, a global initiative created to empower women under a unique educational methodology, enabling their hard and soft skills. Gina sits on several international boards, is the only Mexican belonging to C200 Women Business Leaders Organization, and represents Mexico in W20—the women’s initiative of the G20.
Grupo Said Executive Director Salvador Said presented the award for Brian Porter. “He is an outstanding human being, which is something we need more of in today’s world. He is a strategic thinker and a visionary. Brian has led Scotiabank as its President and CEO since November 2013. Since that time, he has re-focused the organization, building and investing in key markets.”
“We believe we are an important part of the economic and the social fabric of every country in which we operate. It is a responsibility that we take seriously. We are tremendously proud of the supporting role we have played in Latin America’s remarkable transformation, and we are committed to growing our presence across the Americas, to give more people even more opportunities to provide a better life for themselves, and their families,” said Porter after accepting the award.
Brian J. Porter, President and CEO of Scotiabank, joined Scotiabank in 1981. Over the past three-and-a-half decades, he has held a number of executive roles in Global Banking and Markets, Risk, Treasury and International Banking. In 2012, he was appointed President of Scotiabank, and one year later, he assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer. He contributes his time and expertise to many industry, educational, community, health, and arts organizations. He is a board member of the Business Council of Canada, the Council of the Americas and the Washington-based Institute of International Finance, where he serves as Vice-Chairman and Treasurer. In 2017, Brian Porter was elected Chair of the Board of Trustees of University Health Network, Canada’s largest healthcare and medical research organization. He also served as the Chair of the United Way of Greater Toronto 2018 fundraising campaign. He has received honorary doctorates from Dalhousie University and Ryerson University.
Previous recipients of the Gold Medal, first presented in 1977, include David Rockefeller, Miguel Alemán Velasco, César Alierta, Alejandro P. Bulgheroni, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Gustavo A. Cisneros, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Oscar de la Renta, Antonio del Valle, Jamie Dimon, Laurence D. Fink, Carlos Fuentes, Bruce Flatt, Enrique Iglesias, Muhtar Kent, Andrónico Luksic, Thomas F. McLarty, III, Manuel Medina-Mora, Luis Alberto Moreno, Stanley A. Motta, Peter Munk, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, William R. Rhodes, Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo, Roberto Egydio Setubal, Mario Vargas Llosa, Lorenzo H. Zambrano, and Ernesto Zedillo.
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