Lantos Foundation to Honor Humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina

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WASHINGTON — The Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice said that Rwandan humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina will be the 2011 recipient of the Lantos Human Rights Prize. The formal presentation of the award will take place here on November 16.

Rusesabagina is widely hailed as a hero of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. As a hotel manager during the time of the conflict, Rusesabagina was able to provide shelter to 1,268 people, both Hutus and Tutsis, ultimately saving them from certain death. His efforts were chronicled in the 2004 Academy Award- nominated film “Hotel Rwanda” and his autobiography, An Ordinary Man. Today, Rusesabagina continues his efforts for truth, reconciliation and sustainable peace in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region of Africa through his work as president of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation (www.hrrfoundation.org)

“We are so proud to award this year’s Lantos Prize to Paul Rusesabagina. I was raised on the idea that we are all our brothers’ keepers, and Paul is the living embodiment of that idea,” said Katrina Lantos Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation. “My father, Rep. Tom Lantos, survived the Holocaust in one of Raoul Wallenberg’s safe houses and understood all too well that the actions of one man can change the arc of one’s life story. Nearly 50 years later, Paul Rusesabagina’s heroic efforts to shelter those in harm’s way changed the life stories of more than 1,200 Rwandans.We look forward to honoring his historic humanitarian actions.”

The Lantos Foundation established the Lantos Human Rights Prize in 2009 to honor and bring attention to heroes of the human rights movement. It is awarded annually to an individual or organization that best exemplifies the foundation’s mission, namely to be a vital voice standing up for the values of decency, dignity, freedom and justice in every corner of the world. The prize also serves to commemorate the late Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to the US Congress.

Former recipients of the Lantos Prize include the Dalai Lama and Nobel Laureate ElieWiesel.

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