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2017 Gala Award Recipients
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CHLI International Leadership Award


Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet Gonzalez

Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient
Physician, Human Rights Activist

Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet Gonzalez is the founder and president of the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, an organization outlawed by Cuban authorities, which peacefully promotes the defense of all human rights through nonviolent civil disobedience. Dr. Biscet Gonzalez has been imprisoned on multiple occasions due to his struggle for justice in Cuba. On March 11, 2011, it was announced that Biscet had been freed, along with more than 50 other protesters. Dr. Biscet Gonzalez continues to fight for human rights and injustice in Cuba and in 2007, Biscet was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.


CHLI Leadership in Public Service Award


Congressman Gerald E. Connolly

Congressman Gerald E. “Gerry” Connolly is serving his fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia’s 11th District. Congressman Connolly has worked in the non-profit sector, primarily advocating for hunger aid and international assistance. He also has strong ties to the business community, having spent two decades working for organizations and companies involved in international trade, regulatory matters, technology, and research. Congressman Connolly serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and is a leading voice for human rights throughout the world.






Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen
Congressman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen is serving his 12th term as the Representative for New Jersey's 11th Congressional District. Congressman Frelinghuysen’s long career in public service has been marked by his passion for effective government and for the protection of the rights of all. Congressman Frelinghuysen serves as the Chairman of the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, and continues his extraordinary work in that capacity for fiscal responsibility and economic growth.

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