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UPF-Argentina Honors Volunteers with Awards

Argentina-2016-12-06-UPF-Argentina Honors Volunteers with Awards


Buenos Aires, Argentina—In support of the UN International Volunteer Day, UPF-Argentina presented its 6th annual Volunteering and Common Good Awards on December 6, 2016, at UdeMM (Universidad de la Marina Mercante) in Buenos Aires. The theme for this year’s awards was “Let’s Say Together: Thank You!”1.

Six volunteers and volunteer-involving organizations were recognized at the special awards presentation, among them,  Mrs. Silvia Carranza, the current president of the Center of Free and Solidary Inclusion in Argentina (CILSA): who received special recognition “for her work, dedication and determination to promote inclusion [as] president of [the] CILSA, an NGO that has worked towards inclusion for more than 50 years”2. UPF-Argentina also presented a “Commitment to Solidarity and Peace” statement which it signed with Red Cooperar, a civil society network in Argentina, led by Ambassador for Peace, Mr. Christian Oreb.

Commitment to Solidarity and Peace

The “Commitment to Solidarity and Peace” statement3 was read by Mr. Pablo Olivera da Silva, president of Construyendo Ciudadanía, a nonprofit member of Red Cooperar. Afterwards, a representative from UPF-Argentina and Red Cooperar signed the statement. Then the attendees, who included representatives of various organizations, as well as personalities, such as the famous Argentinian actor Edgardo Nieva, also signed the statement. The points in the statement were developed based on responses to a questionnaire UPF-Argentina had distributed at an intercultural and interfaith event it and Red Cooperar co-organized on July 12, 2016 to celebrate Argentina’s bicentennial. Prior to the signing of the statement, a short video about the event was shown.

Global Applause: Give Volunteers a Hand

The welcoming remarks for the awards program were given by Ms. Silvia Gabriela Vázquez, secretary of the University Extension of and director of the interdisciplinary degree program in social responsibility at UdeMM. The UN Secretary-General’s message for this year’s International Volunteer Day was read by Ambassador for Peace Ms. Lucrecia Potenza, who leads the Arts, Education and Health Foundation4. The event closed with a musical performance in honor of all volunteers. An interfaith and intercultural choir, directed by Ambassador for Peace Mr. Carlos Hernández, sang the songs, “United Nations for Peace Anthem” and “Por ti sere.”

International Volunteer Day was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 17, 1985, and is observed annually on December 5.  It is a day when governments and civil society can “take measures to heighten awareness of the important contribution of volunteer service, thereby stimulating more people in all walks of life to offer their services as volunteers.” The theme for this year’s Day was “#GlobalApplause – Give Volunteers a Hand.”

A short video of the awards program can be viewed at


(1) Sixth Annual “Volunteering and Common Good” Awards

In commemoration of UN Volunteer Day 2016

Special Recognition

Silvia Carranza

For her work, dedication, and determination to promote inclusion as president of CILSA, an NGO that has worked towards inclusion for more than 50 years.

Recognition to Organizations

Award: Common Good (in alphabetical order):

Abriguemos A Un Niño
Ana María Masabeu, Coordinator

Fundación Maestros Sin Fronteras
Mabel Kaprow, president

Fundación Mapfre
Paula Patanó, coordinator of corporate volunteering

La Usina
Jorge Etori – Co-founder and member of the Executive Committee

Beatriz Pellizzari, director


Recognition to Volunteers

Award: Volunteering (in alphabetical order):

María Alejandra Campolonghi
For her service and social commitment through “Entre Todos es Posible”

Javier Di Pardo
For providing legal assistance and other services to NGOs

María Clara Garay
For volunteering in hospitals, soup kitchens and nursing homes

Lucas Alfredo Ríos
For volunteering in nursing homes

Elena Santa Cruz
For entertaining as a puppeteer and clown in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and prisons

Gustavo Verta
For volunteer service through the Rotary Club




(2) The jurors were Ms. Silvia Gabriela Vázquez, secretary of the University Extension of and director of the interdisciplinary program in social responsibility at UdeMM; businesswoman Constanza Sena, pro-secretary of Rotary District 1905 and a member of other nonprofit organizations; Mr. Hugo Cattoni, a specialist in psychology for older people and director of the the “San José” nursing home; Mr. Alejandro D’Alessandro, president of the Strategic Planning Center for Social Security and Director of the radio program, “Acción de Paz’; and Mr. Miguel Werner, secretary general of UPF-Argentina.


(3) Statement on “Commitment to Solidarity and Peace”

Cooperation and Brotherhood for Freedom and Sustainable Development towards the Tercentenary”

After celebrating Argentina’s 200th birthday, we reflect upon the past and current events we have witnessed. We need to come together once more and appreciate the importance of cultural and national diversity and spiritual traditions, so as to face the new challenges with civic maturity and commitment to solidarity and peace. We are the protagonists of our history, and we are the ones who will inaugurate a tercentenary of hope.

1. FREEDOM. “¡Freedom! ¡Freedom! ¡Freedom!” is the sacred longing of our National Anthem which resonates as a way to express frustration and injustice. We are being dictated by a global system that reduces us, at moments, to consumers, machines or goods. We still face unsolved issues such as hunger and poverty, drugs and violence, insecurity and fear; these issues threaten social and global peace. For this reason, we should free ourselves from the empire of selfishness and personalism, from fanaticism and indifference, from conformity and the sin of being arrogant enough to think we can overcome these issues alone, pretending we are the center of the world, ignoring or even rejecting others.

2. COOPERATION. Old paradigms and dogmas have separated us from our essence and destiny of greatness. We have been deviated from the common good, from the understanding of how important is diversity. Now, we are reminded that we are all different, since one feature of human beings and peoples is singularity. This is why we need to connect with each other in cooperation, since “we are in the other.” This is an evolutionary strategy of progress which requires greater empathy and altruism. It also requires better communication, dialogue and development of solidary bonds of mutual help. However, cooperating is essential in times like these when society, humanity and the earth are facing serious issues.

3. IDENTITY. Without identity, there is no healthy interaction, as without common values there is no community life. Our identity as a Nation includes the contribution of different ethnicities, cultures and religions. This includes native peoples, immigrants and their descendants. Such diversity constitutes the wealth of peaceful coexistence. Argentina can be a beacon of light in the midst of a dark environment where nationalisms and new walls are being created. We should establish bonds related to the social and cultural values we share in Latin America, overcoming the commercial or ideological logic that wants to reduce us to consumers, clients or votes, to the detriment of our citizenship and freedom.

4. DIGNITY. Dignity is inherent; it is developed at home and it is expanded when we live in community. Dignity is constantly recreated in men and women who can bring food to their tables and give their children the opportunity to study. It is clear that there is no freedom without dignity. We are not dignified in a context and world where masses of indignant people emerge. Laws and rhetorical consensus are not enough. We need to develop essential values to understand that money and fame do not represent success, and that a nation’s progress cannot be measured by its gross product or financial balance, but by its most valuable resource: a people who live with dignity.

5. RECOGNITION. Our Nation is 200 years old, but we still need to learn, integrate and follow a shared development, considering the importance of diversity of ethnicities and cultures, some of which are still neglected. We are all citizens of this country, for what we should come together again. Our fate, both particular and collective, is intertwined, so we should recognize in others the possibility of evolving into new stages of mutual respect and coexistence. We should remember that we all have the same origin and destiny, for what isolation, exclusion and barriers created by groups and governments are not reasonable. Sustainable development is tied with the awareness of “We are all one.”

6. HEALING. The past questions our actions, but the future is in our hands and we build it. There are some wounds that hurt, and injustices should be repaired. However, when we recognize all of us are equal, we will take the first step. “True love,” the principle of living for the sake of others, a natural law which is taught by spiritual traditions, can heal, recreate relations and avoid resentfulness. It is also true that the differences in any nation can be overcome when we work for the common good. “Magic solutions” do not exist, but there is always a way when there is a will. There is hope.

7. INTERDEPENDENCE. The evolution of individuals and peoples throughout history shows the transition from dependence to independence, and then to interdependence. Establishing bonds with a balance between individual and society and having a better, healthier relationship will prevent and reduce fanaticism and terrorism. We are beings who relate with others. We are gifted with words, which allow us to dialogue, and dialogue prevents prejudice, fears and mistrust. This is the basic premise of the different cultures and religions: treat others the way you want to be treated, or do not treat others in ways that you would not like to be treated. This way, we allow peaceful coexistence and progress.

8. PARTICIPATION. The continuous corruption that we have endured for decades has left us confused and distressed. Likewise, we perceive there is no social commitment other than expecting the government to solve everything, without understanding that most of the problems and misfortunes arise from not participating in the community life. We are social beings and we need a greater commitment if we are not satisfied with the environment we live in. For this reason, it is important to engage in school and neighborhood meetings, temples and politics. Civically, all Argentinians have a considerable debt since 1983: to make the democratic system more valuable, fulfilling their role of active and participatory citizens.

9. BROTHERHOOD. In our Fatherland, we should overcome political, ideological and even sport dichotomies, which have caused many differences. Of course, discouragement tends to subdue us when there is no reciprocity, even though it is understandable in a global society where selfishness and resentfulness have been growing for so long. We live in a place where spirituality has been used as an individual insight, and common good has disappeared after many power conflicts. This is a place with destroyed families, women and children who are exploited, old people who are forgotten, groups which are excluded and neglected. This is why we need to wake up from this state of indifference and give in to brotherhood bonds and help others, which makes our life worth living and nourishes our dreams of a better tomorrow.

10. PEACE. The desired change in society and a better world is difficult, but the worst thing to do is to sit down and wait, since everyone has some responsibility. “How beautiful is love after working under the Sun…” expresses a folk song. When laws are obeyed, our work has value and we are rewarded for our achievements. Undoubtedly, effort is not enough while there are people with basic shortages. Hope is nourished with good causes. Therefore, we utter, today more than ever: “Hear, mortals, the sacred cry:” We are brothers! We are brothers! We are brothers! And “Let us live crowned in glory,” committed to walk this Tercentennial with sense and dignity, in solidarity and peace: with the Creator, with the great human family, and with the whole Creation.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 6, 2016


(4) Excerpt from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for International Volunteer Day 2016:

“I extend my deepest gratitude to the more than 6,700 United Nations Volunteers, 12,000 United Nations Online Volunteers and the one billion community volunteers worldwide. You are all instrumental to the future of people and the planet. Your commitment and passion can act as inspiration to us all.

On this International Volunteer Day, let us recognize the immense value of the world’s volunteers. As they lend a hand to others, let us give volunteers a hand by applauding their global citizenship and their commitment to building a future of peace, prosperity and dignity for all.”

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