WJC to award Paraguay’s president with Shalom Prize

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Paraguay’s President Horacio Cartes will receive the Shalom Prize from the World Jewish Congress for his “contributions to building coexistence.”

The Latin American branch of the World Jewish Congress made the announcement on Tuesday, as did Cartes’ office. The prize will be awarded in March, in a ceremony to be held in Buenos Aires, the Argentinean capital and headquarters of the Latin American Jewish Congress.

Jack Terpins, president of the Latin American Jewish Congress, said the group is happy to recognize “people who make a significant contribution to building  coexistence” and explained that Cartes was selected for his “constant support of dialogue and negotiation, from a neutral place, about the situation in the Middle East. ”

“The Jewish people have a lot of history, is very rich in tradition and memory, so this award is an honor for me,” Cartes said during a meeting held Tuesday in Asuncion where leaders of the Latin American Jewish Congress informed Cartes of the honor.

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

The award ceremony on March 16 will be part of a World Jewish Congress meeting. According the President’s website, Cartes has already confirmed that he will be present in Buenos Aires to receive the award.

In July 2014, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder thanked the government of Paraguay for refusing to sign an unbalanced resolution offered by the Mercosur, a trade group of five South American nations, during hte month-long Gaza war. “President Cartes of Paraguay took a brave stand by refusing to sign the harmful and unbalanced resolution on the Israel-Hamas conflict offered by the other Mercosur nations. We thank him for insisting on fairness, which this declaration lacked.”

Also attending Tuesday’s meeting with Cartes were Saul Gilvich of Uruguay, the Secretary General of the Latin Jewish Congress; Jack Fleishman, president of the Jewish Community of Paraguay; as well as other Jewish leaders and Paraguayan officials.

The award was established to recognize individuals or organizations who seek peace. Other Latin American presidents that have received the award include  Michelle Bachelet of Chile in 2008 and Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia in 2012.

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