Sandra Cisneros, the celebrated author and luminary, has been selected as the recipient of this year’s Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. This prestigeous honor is bestowed in recognition of writers who have significantly contributed to fostering mutual understanding amongst diverse populations through their body of work.
Renowned for her million-selling opus “The House on Mango Street,” Cisneros has always incorporated elements of her Mexican heritage and experiences of her formative years within her works. Aside from her writing, she has also played an instrumental role in promoting other literary talents via her nonprofits – the Macondo Foundation and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation.
This distinguished award, named after the departed U.S. diplomat who was instrumental in brokering the Dayton Peace Accords of 1995 ending the Bosnian War, is given by the Ohio-based Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. This particular conflict has been a recurrent theme in Cisneros’ thoughts and narratives.
“I’ve borne witness to the ravages of war through a 40-year lasting friendship with my hermana-amiga (sister-friend) hailing from Sarajevo. The realization dawned on me that war’s casualties are not just those felled on the battlefield. Its aftermath has civilians and subsequent generations grappling with psychological trauma, akin to navigating a terrain strewn with concealed landmines. My recent visit to Sarajevo reaffirmed this belief,” Cisneros reflected solemnly.
She further added, “The fallout of the Bosnian War has left indelible imprints on me, shaping my development as a writer and molding my consciousness as an individual. My life’s aim has always been to champion unity. Hence, it’s an immense honor to be acknowledged with an award that echoes emphasis on peace.”
Come November 12, an on-stage interaction between Cisneros and the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, is slated to take place during the award ceremony in Dayton. Esteemed authors such as Elie Wiesel, Margaret Atwood, and Louise Erdrich have previously had the privilege of receiving the coveted Holbrooke award.