Fabiola Letelier, prominent human rights lawyer from Chile, was awarded the 1998 Albert Schweitzer Award of Excellence at the opening convocation at Chapman University on September 8, 1998. Ms. Letelier is president of the Corporacion de Promocion y Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo (Organization for the Advancement and Defense of Community Rights).
Acknowledged as an international leader in the struggle for human rights, Ms. Letelier labored for nearly two decades to see justice realized in the case of the assassination of her brother, Orlando Letelier, former Chilean Ambassador to the United States. Upon receiving the award, Ms. Letelier offered the following remarks: “With great emotion I wish to express my gratitude for the high distinction the Albert Schweitzer Institute and Chapman University confer today to a human rights lawyer from the small nation that is Chile, in South America, a nation that to a certain degree starkly represents the tragedy, suffering, and hopes of the Latin American Continent. This is an honor that recalls the living figure that is Albert Schweitzer and his selfless service to humanity, which was especially directed towards the poorest and most vulnerable. His principles, which valued the truth and defense of life, likewise his sense of human fraternity without exceptions, and his hopes for peace, are also human rights principles which we share and which we fervently desire will prevail in our world at the turn of the century. Each and every one of us is committed to making this a reality.”