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(March 2017) Three awards were presented 21 March during a ceremony in the National Congress building in Mexico City. The Juárez Award—given to a government official, an individual and a civil organization—recognizes those who exemplify qualities of service and good values. SIL's sponsoring organization in Mexico (ILV México) was honored to receive the organization award in recognition of its contribution to the moral and civic values of the country of Mexico. The Juárez Award is named after Benito Juárez, the much loved president and national hero of Mexico during the 1860s and a member of a Zapotec ethnic group.
During the ceremony, Aarón Lara Sánchez, president of the Concertación organization that presents the awards said, "Those being honored have taken their ethical and moral convictions and made them reality in their daily lives." He went on to say, "Coming, living among unknown people, sharing their lives with them, the story of SIL is a story of love. It is an altruistic gift to the indigenous communities: of dictionaries, alphabets and other materials, because through these they give their time, their talent and their lives, leaving behind a cultural heritage."
The Governor of the state of Mexico, Dr. Eruviel Ávila Villegas, finished his acceptance speech by quoting philosopher and historian, Miguel Leon Portilla, “who, in his passion for indigenous languages said ‘when a language dies, humanity loses something important;’ and in that way, SIL enriches humanity.”
Recipients of the award: Governor Dr. Eruviel Ávila Villegas, Virginia Sendel Iturbide de Lemaitre, Dr. David Tuggy | the bust of Benito Juárez | Dr. Tuggy during acceptance speech.
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On behalf of SIL, Dan Agee, Director of SIL Mexico, and Dr. David Tuggy, linguistics and translation consultant, received the award—an inscribed plaque with a bust of Benito Juárez. In the acceptance speech, Tuggy stated that SIL is humbled and honored to receive this recognition. He highlighted the history of SIL's work in Mexico with their service to minority language communities.
In Tuggy’s acceptance speech he said,
We are deeply honored that they have selected our institution to be recognized in this way.… A value which has been particularly important for us as an institution has been a love of truth, especially of hitherto unknown truth. It is that love which most strongly motivates us in our academic endeavors, the joy of perceiving the complex, but astonishingly beautiful patterns, that are the products of the indigenous cultures, and of sharing them with the world.
The emotion that most fills me at this moment, and I believe I speak for all the members of SIL, is not satisfaction, much less anything like pride, but rather a deep gratitude. We have been enormously privileged, and what we have has come to us through the generosity of many people and institutions. All that [we] have documented is the work of generations of speakers of [these] beautiful language[s], and we receive it through the love of the speakers themselves, who have received [us] and have taught [us] their languages. We have been helped and encouraged by many Mexican individuals, outstanding people in governmental and academic circles, and others less well known but no less praiseworthy.
SIL International has over 80 years of language development experience serving language communities around the world. As a faith-based nonprofit organization, SIL works alongside language communities as they discover how to harness the power of their language to address challenges and reach their goals.