The Charles A. Perlik, Jr. Award was created to honor the memory of the late Council on Hemispheric Affairs chairman, who also served as president of the Newspaper Guild. Mr. Perlik was a dedicated advocate for journalistic integrity, equality of opportunity, and freedom of the press throughout the hemisphere. He was the longest-serving president of the Newspaper Guild, a media union that currently has over 34,000 members. Mr. Perlik became chairman of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in 1982, succeeding Chauncey A. Alexander, Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers. In keeping with the legacy of Mr. Perlik and his deep concern for the right of journalists to practice their profession unencumbered by threats or acts of intimidation, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs honors the courageous and distinguished professionalism in journalism so prominently demonstrated by Semana.
COHA commends Mr. Santos and the management, editors, and staff of Semana which, since its founding in 1982, has been devoted to promoting justice, democratic rule and constructive engagement among members of civil society in Colombia and throughout the hemisphere. The award will be accepted by Mr. Santos, the current director of Semana and a highly regarded, award-winning Colombian journalist. He has been recognized with the Simon Bolívar Prize for best investigative journalism in 1991 and 1997, Transparency International’s 2006 Prize for Best Investigative Journalism Report about Corruption in Latin America, and the National Prize of Journalism, among others. Mr. Santos has been a participant in such pivotal civil society projects as Conexión Colombia, Colombia Líder, Votebien, and Proyecto Manizales, which seeks to bring murderers of Colombian journalists to justice.
Under the leadership of Mr. Santos, Semana has helped shape the profile of Colombian society and its political life during a particularly turbulent period in his nation’s history, as well as strengthen the nation’s ethical backbone. An impartial and high-minded voice in the vociferously political nation, Semana has consistently published groundbreaking reports on the sometimes murky, sometimes laudable workings of the Colombian government. In an often hostile environment, Semana has not hesitated to criticize the highly popular, but controversial, government of President Alvaro Úribe when warranted, particularly beginning last February with its exposé of the illegal wiretapping of politicians, journalists, and magistrates conducted by the DAS, the Colombian intelligence agency. Semana’s reportage directly led to the resignation of the director general of the DAS and President Uribe’s recent decision to dissolve and rehabilitate Colombia’s intelligence apparatus.
The award ceremony will be held Friday, October 16 at 10 a.m. in the conference room of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs office, located at 1250 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. The awards ceremony will last approximately an hour, followed by a reception.
We hope you will join us to welcome Mr. Santos. Seating will be limited, and we request reservations in advance. To RSVP, please contact the Council on Hemispheric Affairs by phone at (202) 223-4975 or email us at email@example.com.