2009 Legacy Awards Recognize Panamanian Achievement at the Smithsonian Institution

October 5, 2009
News Release

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Latino Center

The Smithsonian Latino Center will present the 2009 Legacy Awards recognizing Panamanian achievement in the arts, science and the humanities Thursday, Oct. 15, at 6:30 p.m. Five individuals of Panamanian descent will receive the award during a ceremony at the S. Dillon Ripley Center Lecture Hall. The honorees include historian Alfredo Castillero Calvo, community activist Grace Y. Ingleton, anthropologist Olga Linares, pianist Danilo Pérez and associate professor Dr. Adan Ríos.

Special guests at the ceremony will include Juan Carlos Varela, vice president of the Republic of Panama and Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough. The awards will be presented by Smithsonian Latino Center director Eduardo Díaz and the center’s board chairman Jesús Rangel.

The Smithsonian Latino Center created the Legacy Awards in 2007 to recognize individuals of Latin heritage who have made a significant impact on American culture through their work and vision. The Legacy Awards are part of the 2009 programming series, “Panama at the Smithsonian.” 

The Smithsonian Latino Center recognized the achievements of the following Panamanian artists, scholars, scientists and community leaders:

  • Alfredo Castillero Calvo, a Panamanian, is a renowned historian who has received numerous awards, including one Miró award for his work in nonfiction. His published works include “La Vivienda Colonial en Panamá"; "Conquista, Evangelización y Resistencia"; Sociedad, Economía y Cultura Material"; Historia General de Panamá"; and "Los Metales Preciosos y la Primera Globalización."

  • Grace Y. Ingleton earned degrees in nursing and is recognized as a specialist in dementia management. Combining her love of nursing and art, she has been nationally and internationally recognized for her work with various community and health care organizations such as Heart to Art Inc., the Imani Literary Group, Inc. and The Dedicators Inc. 
  • Olga Linares, a Harvard-trained anthropologist, is a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Her archaeological and ethnographic research in Panama, as well as social anthropological inquires into sub-Saharan agrarian practices, has garnered praise and awards from her colleagues and various academic institutions.
  • Pianist and Grammy-winner Danilo Pérez is among the most influential musicians of our time having led ensembles across the world and toured with jazz masters such as Dizzy Gillespie and Wayne Shorter. Pérez founded the Panama Jazz Festival, the Danilo Pérez Foundation in Panama and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute in Boston. He is a Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF and a former Cultural Ambassador to Panama.
  • Dr. Adan Ríos is a visiting associate professor at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and an adjunct professor at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Ríos currently holds patents for a methodology in the development of a preventive HIV vaccine in the United States and Australia.

The Legacy Award selection committee included Smithsonian curators, scientists and researchers, as well as academic institutions in Panama. In addition, Panamanian artists and scholars and Panamanians living in the United States helped select this year’s awardees.

“The Legacy Award honorees embody the mission of the Smithsonian Latino Center, which is to highlight the achievements and contributions of Latinos,” said Diaz. “Recognizing Panama is important to the Smithsonian as next year marks the 100th anniversary of the first arrival of Smithsonian scientists to the Isthmus. From scientific discovery to the pulsating sounds of pindin, Panama has shared its achievements and cultural riches with the Smithsonian and the world.”

The award each honoree will receive is a sculpture entitled “Creencia-Belief." It represents the spirit that guided the Legacy honorees throughout their life work and was created by artist-scholar Arturo Linsday. A native of Colón, Panama, Linsday is a professor of art and art history at Spelman College in Atlanta and founder of the Spelman College Summer Art Colony in the village of Portobelo, Panama.

The Smithsonian Latino Center is dedicated to ensuring that Latino contributions to arts, sciences and the humanities are highlighted, understood and advanced through the development and support of public programs, scholarly research, museum collections and educational opportunities at the Smithsonian Institution and its affiliated organizations across the United States.

To learn more about the “Panama at the Smithsonian” program series, go to http://latino.si.edu. For general Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000 or TTY (202) 633-5285.

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Noralisa Leo

(202) 633-0804