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IDB announces winners for Juscelino Kubitschek Award

Three organizations won the Inter-American Development Bank’s Juscelino Kubitschek Award for their contribution to development in Latin America and the Caribbean, the selection committee announced in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais.

The award recognized contributions in economics and finance, and in the cultural, social and scientific fields. The criteria used to select the winner for the field of economics and finance was based on the magnitude of its social impact. For the second category, the committee looked into social activities, especially those related to education.

ACCION Internacional (Latin America and the Caribbean) won the prize in the field of economics and finance, which had drawn nominations from 30 institutions. Fe y Alegría (Dominican Republic), and Vaga Lume (Brazil) will share the award for the social, cultural and scientific category, which had received 115 nominations.

"These institutions have made an important contribution for community development and we expect their stories will inspire others to do the same,'' IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno said.

The first edition of the Juscelino Kubitscheck Award drew nominations from 145 organizations, representing 22 countries in the Americas and Europe. Individuals and institutions nominated organizations for the prize.  The award, which is held every two years, is the biggest by a multilateral institution in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Each category winner will receive a prize of $100,000. The winners for the cultural social and scientific category will share the prize.

The winners

ACCION Internacional (Latin America and the Caribbean) – Founded in Venezuela in 1961, ACCION is a nonprofit organization with presence in 16 countries in the region. Its mission is to offer financial tools for individuals who want to start their own business. It offers microfinance, business training and other financial services.  ACCION, which helps people work their way up the economic ladder, has assisted more than 1 million clients with $1.5 billion in loans.

Fe y Alegría (Latin America and the Caribbean) – Created 50 years ago, this institution carries out programs and actions in education and social promotion in 17 countries in the region. It partners with government and civil society to develop projects that will help students find new educational opportunities that will improve their lives. Fe y Alegría focuses its actions in formal, alternative and informal education, part-time and remote learning through radio programs. The institution also works on teacher training and the creation of services that promote social and community development. In 2006 alone, the number of students and participants in its programs surpassed 1.3 million. Fe y Alegría has a network of more than 1,600 support centers, with 2,700 service units among schools, radio stations and centers of long-distance learning and alternative education. Fe y Alegría’s Dominican Republic representation will receive the award. The representation’s 1,126 workers currently assist 58,000 students through 56 educational centers in 32 locations in the country.

Associação Vaga Lume (Brazil) – This nonprofit organization promotes cultural and educational development of rural communities in the Amazon by promoting an exchange of knowledge between people living in the Amazon and other regions of Brazil.  Since 2002, it has established libraries in 90 rural communities in 20 municipalities in the Amazon and it has trained 1,600 people to manage and direct group readings. The program has benefitted an average of 20,000 children annually, with the distribution of 65,000 books. Vaga Lume is seeking to become a national model for the creation of community libraries as a tool for human and community development. The organization wants to disseminate its methodology to other regions of Brazil and countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Learn more about the award

This first edition of the award will be for the 2009–2010 period. The selection committee, made up of well-known specialists in the field of development in the region, met at the headquarters of the Minas Gerais Development Bank (BDMG), in Belo Horizonte on April 25 and 26.

IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno chaired the committee and Ibero-American Secretary General Enrique V. Iglesias acted as the group’s secretary. The award ceremony will take place in Brasília later this year.

The selection committee was made up of: Billie Antoinette Miller, Barbados former foreign affairs and commerce minister; José Octavio Bordón, former Argentina’s ambassador to the White House; Francisco Flores, former president of El Salvador; Osvaldo Hurtado, former president of Ecuador; Ricardo Lagos, former president of Chile; Hiroshi Watanabe, chairman and chief executive officer of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation; (JBIC); and Paulo Paiva, president of the Minas Gerais Development Bank (BDMG).

The award honors Juscelino Kubitschek, the Brazilian president who envisioned the creation of a multilateral development institution for Latin America and the Caribbean. His vision resulted in the creation of the Inter-American Development Bank, which completes 50 years in 2009. The IDB is the biggest source of development loans for Latin America and the Caribbean.

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