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For immediate release
January 10, 2007
Contact: Andy Pino
202-687-4328
pinoa@georgetown.edu
Georgetown University Honors Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS with Legacy of a Dream Award
First Ladies of Zambia, Rwanda and Ethiopia to accept the award during 'Let Freedom Ring' Concert

 

Washington, DC – Today, Georgetown University announced that it will award the fifth annual “John Thompson Legacy of a Dream Award” to the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS for its leadership and service toward the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The First Lady of Zambia Mrs. Maureen Mwanawasa, the First Lady of Rwanda Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, and the First Lady of Ethiopia Mrs. Azeb Mesfin will receive the award on behalf of the organization, and their work will be honored during the annual “Let Freedom Ring” Concert to be held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, January 15, 2006 at 6:00 p.m.

 

“This award recognizes those who have shown the courage and determination to promote compassion and create social change in the way Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned.” said Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia.  “Mrs. Mwanawasa, Mrs. Kagame, and Mrs. Mesfin have worked tirelessly to combat discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, and they embody our vision for this award.  We are grateful for their commitment and their leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

 

In 2002, a group of nearly 40 African First Ladies formed the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS in an effort to raise awareness, advocate for prevention initiatives, and promote treatment, care and support programs for people living with HIV/AIDS. The group has sponsored several prevention campaigns targeting youth and adults, and has led various initiatives to expand access to treatment and support programs across Africa.  In 2005, the First Ladies launched the “Treat Every Child as Your Own” campaign to promote adult responsibility for the protection of all African children the dangers of HIV infection.

 

Mrs. Maureen Mwanawasa, First Lady of Zambia, serves as the organization’s chairperson, and Mrs. Azeb Mesfin, First Lady of Ethiopia, serves as vice-chairperson. The First Lady of Rwanda, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, served as the organization’s chairperson from 2004-2006.

 

Every year, during activities celebrating the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, Georgetown presents the "Legacy of a Dream Award," to a person or organization that has made significant contributions in the field of community service or social justice and reflects the ideals upheld by Dr. King.  The award and activities are part of the University’s ongoing "Let Freedom Ring" initiative honoring Dr. King’s legacy.  

 

The first "Legacy of a Dream Award" was presented in 2003 to John Thompson, Coach Emeritus of Georgetown men's basketball team, in honor of his service to the community and dedication to the values of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Other awardees include Colin and Alma Powell, William H. Gray III of the United Negro College Fund, and Rosa Parks, who received the award posthumously in 2006.

About Georgetown’s Let Freedom Ring Initiative

Georgetown’s annual Let Freedom Ring Initiative honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through a series of academic, artistic, and extracurricular programs that examine Dr. King's life and work and address the contemporary challenges our nation faces in order to fulfill his dream of justice and equality for all people.  This year's initiative is sponsored by the Sallie Mae Fund and the Ritz Carlton, Georgetown.  For a complete listing of the week's events, visit http://mlk.georgetown.edu.

About Georgetown University

Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in America, founded in 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll. Georgetown today is a major student-centered, international, research university offering respected undergraduate, graduate and professional programs on its three campuses in Washington, DC. For more information about Georgetown University, visit www.georgetown.edu.

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