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Unconventional Wisdom: 2012 Letelier-Moffitt Awards

July 26, 2012 ·

Student activists in Chile and foreclosure opponents in Boston showed the way to fight for human rights, and will be honored by IPS this fall.

The 2012 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards and ceremony will take place Wednesday, October 17 at 5:30 p.m. — a week earlier than we initially planned. Please save this new date and update your calendars.

We urge you to attend this Institute for Policy Studies event, where we'll celebrate two of the great student leaders of our time. They are Camila Vallejo and Noam  Titelman. These two dynamos have led hundreds of thousands of Chileans into the streets to demand free higher education.

IPS is bringing them to the United States to tour college campuses and brainstorm about common strategies with student leaders here who are fighting the student debt trap and tuition hikes that are making college diplomas out-of-reach for too many Americans. We will honor them with the international Letelier-Moffitt award at the Carnegie Institution for Science on October 17, and we invite you to join us at this new venue, located at 1530 P Street, NW, for our biggest yearly event. Buy your tickets now for our early-bird discount, and spread the word.

Our dynamic domestic Letelier-Moffitt awardee this year is a group whose members put their bodies on the line to stop home foreclosures. Boston-based City Life/Vida Urbana brings dozens of activists to the homes of people who banks have slated for eviction. They stay with these families until the banks renegotiate. This incredibly effective movement is spreading across Massachusetts and into Rhode Island. Its victories build public and political pressure that drives legislative reform, and sparks similar campaigns. We'll bring several City Life/Vida Urbana leaders to Washington to meet with anti-foreclosure activists.

We also invite you to join us September 23, at 10 a.m. at our yearly outdoor memorial service as we honor the legacies of Orlando Letelier, the former Chilean ambassador, and Ronni Moffitt, a young IPS colleague. Orlando and Ronni were on their way to work at the Institute in 1976 when they were assassinated in a car bombing on Massachusetts Avenue, near Sheridan Circle. The bomb, planted by agents of Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship, brutally took their lives but not the memory of their contributions to the quest for equality and justice through reason, not violence. For more than three decades, the pursuit of justice for their murders has been a symbol of hope for victims of tyranny everywhere.

Every year the human rights community, friends, family, colleagues, and supporters gather in remembrance of these tragic assassinations. This moving program takes place at Sheridan Circle, in Northwest Washington, D.C., and ends with the collective laying of flowers on the Letelier-Moffitt memorial plaque across the street.

We hope you can join us at the October 17 reception and awards ceremony or the September 23 memorial service at Sheridan Circle. Or both!


John Cavanagh
IPS Director

Fellow
Global Economy
Joy Zarembka
IPS Associate Director