Colombia's Juanes and Panamanian salsa singer/songwriter Rubén Blades will be honored for their accomplishments in music and beyond at the 25th Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts on Sept. 15.
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) honors artists, physicians, educators, public officials and community and business leaders. Juanes will receive the Vision Award; Blades will be given the Arts Award.
"Rubén Blades is a perfect example of an artist who utilizes 'the arts' as a medium of free expression," Maria Esmeralda Paguaga, executive director of HHF, said in a statement. "A singer, composer, poet and actor, Mr. Blades is not just an artist, but a great innovator and an agent of change, elevating Latin music to a new level."
The Medellín-born Juanes has been an advocate for social causes through his Fundación Mi Sangre and is the co-founder and main organizer to the Peace Without Borders concerts. Through his organization he's fought to ban landmines and protect the children of Colombia from armed conflict.
"It's refreshing to have an artist of Juanes' caliber use his voice and platform as a vehicle for change," says Paguaga.
The event, hosted by actors William Levy and Maite Perroni, will also honor Jorge Vergara (business), Juan Andrade Jr. (leadership), Roberto Gomez Bolaños (legend), Hugo Sanchez (sports) and Elizabeth Molina Morgan (education).
"The Latino community throughout history has made a positive impact in America and the world," said Jose Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. "The Hispanic Heritage Awards were created by the White House 25 years ago and we will salute the past honorees as we pay tribute to this year's recipients."
A day prior to the awards show, HHF's Latinos on the Fast Track (LOFT) leadership program will host the LOFT Actionable Leadership Summit and will train 50 college students so that they can have impact in their communities.
The awards were established in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and the White House as the official celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15.