The AL DIA Foundation, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization, announced today the FELIX VARELA National Journalism Award: The award will bestow cash awards of $20,000 dollars The award honors an American intellectual of Hispanic origin who 183 years ago published in Philadelphia a Spanish-language newspaper, one of the first in the history of the nation The award, the largest cash prize in Hispanic Journalism in the nation today, will open an opportunity for the young talent driving Hispanic print journalism in the nation today to be finally acknowledged, honored and properly rewarded
The Foundation named the award after Father Felix Varela y Morales because of his intellect as a writer, entrepreneurship as a newspaper editor and publisher in Philadelphia and New York, and his commitment in the defense of poor immigrants, at his time pouring into New York City mostly from Ireland and Italy to escape poverty and hunger in their homeland.
Living always as one of the poor, he devoted himself entirely to the service of God and of needy people. He became an Apostle for the Immigrants, says one of his many biographies.
Father Varela was born in Havana in 1788, and died in Saint Augustine, FL, in 1853.
In 1824, at 37 years of age, Father Varela, escaping political persecution in Spain, found refuge in Philadelphia where he published in Old City El Habanero, a newspaper in which he passionately wrote for the independence of Cuba, well before the better-known Cuban writer and poet Jose Marti came to New York to pick up exactly the same flag and follow on the same intellectual pursuit.
Hispanic print has been contributing to the national dialogue since 1824, when Father Felix Varela y Morales founded the first known Spanish-language newspaper in the East Coast, in the City of Philadelphia, stated Hernan Guaracao, Chairman of the AL DIA Foundation.
Since its inception, and over the past almost two centuries, Spanish-language publications have been part of a vital process to provide news and information to a substantial group of Americans that have populated this land since Father Varela came to Philadelphia, and America, like all the ancestors of fellow immigrants who arrived by boat, ship, plane, or simply by foot, Guaracao said.
All of them were escaping persecution, and in search of freedom the central dream and heart of the human being in this generous land called the United Sates of America.
He also stated that the recognition of this kind of intellectual work, and particularly what he called this type of overlooked, and undervalued American journalism, produced today by hundreds of Spanish-language publications across the nation with over 200 years of accumulated history is crucially important.
This little known but proud journalism must be finally recognized for its excellence and essential role in bringing Americans together, building pride for what American Democracy, in general, and American Journalism, in particular, still represent in the free world today, the AL DIA Foundation Chairman said.
For more Information about the award, or AL DIA Foundation, please call 215-569-4666 Ext 116.
About the AL DIA Foundation:
The AL DIA Foundation is a nonprofit organization, of the Philadelphia newspaper of the same name, incorporated in the State of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Guaracao is the former president of the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP, Inc.), and a Fulbright Scholar with 25-year career in Journalism in the Americas. He has an undergraduate degree in Communications and Journalism from a prestigious University in Latin America, in addition to a Masters Degree in Journalism from the University of Iowa, in Iowa City.
He is currently the Publisher of AL DIA Newspapers Inc., one the leading Hispanic Publishing Houses in the nation, headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Current members of the Foundation Board, in addition to Mr. Guaracao, are Dr. Concetta Stwart, Ph.D, Dean of Communications of Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, and Mr. Rudy Beserra, Senior Vice-president of Coca-Cola, USA, in Atlanta, GA.
What are the Felix Varela National Awards for Excellence in Spanish-Language Journalism in the United States
THE LARGEST CASH AWARD IN THE U.S. HISPANIC PRESS
The National Felix Varela Annual Awards for Excellence in Spanish-language Journalism in the United States will carry one of the largest cash prizes for journalism in the nation.
In its first year, the contest will choose winners in only two categories: Hispanic Print Journalism and Hispanic Digital Journalism.
Each category winner will receive a $10,000 prize each.
Only a few of the prizes given by the NAHJ that have cash prizes, each about $250. Ivan Roman, Executive Director of the NAHJ, said in a ceremony in DC that these prizes could be raised to $500, or up to $1,000, if the Hearst chain of newspapers decides to sponsor them to this level.
THE JURY IN CHARGE OF SELECTION:
The jury will be made up of 3 prestigious practitioners of Journalism in the Americas:
Albor Ruiz, Columnist of the New York Daily News, and member of the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ).
Zita Arocha, Former Executive Director of NAHJ, and currently Associate Director of the Sam Donaldson Center for Communications Studies at the University of Texas, at El Paso.
Jorge Castaneda, former Foreign Relations Secretary of the Mexican Government, and current syndicated columnist of El Pais in Spain, has been invited to be the third judge in this prestigious panel.
THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS:
Entries for this award will be accepted from October 30th, 2007, until June 30th, 2008.
A formal ceremony, with guests from all across the Americas and Spain, to acknowledge the winners, will be hosted in a prestigious venue in the Washington-Philadelphia-New York corridor during Hispanic Heritage Month of 2008, which runs from September 15th to October the 15th.
Full details will be made available online through an official web site of the Felix Varela Awards of the AL DIA Foundation, announced the Chairman of the nonprofit corporation, which also will disperse scholarships and fellowships to contribute to the advancement of American journalism.
Those that are interested in learning more about the program immediately, please contact Hernon Guaracao at 215-569-4666 ext. 116.
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