Señoras y señores, distinguidos invitados. Buenas tardes. Bienvenidos sean todos. Good afternoon and welcome to the Mexican Cultural Institute. I would first like to acknowledge the many friends and colleagues who join us today to honor a very distinguished leader with the Ohtli award, a man who has made enormous contributions to the well-being of the Mexican and Latino communities in this country, Doctor Roberto Trujillo.

The Ohtli awards were created by the Government of Mexico to recognize and honor those individuals whose efforts have contributed to the well-being, prosperity and empowerment of Mexican communities abroad. It is bestowed upon those who have cleared obstacles from trails, so that others who come after them can make the best of the opportunities that this country has to offer.

These leaders, such as our distinguished honoree, have tirelessly committed to advocate for better economic, social and political opportunities for all. At the same time, they are stalwart defenders of the many contributions that immigrants bring to this country and of the need for a comprehensive immigration reform that is fair, humane, and that can create growing prosperity for our region.

"Sin salud, no hay vida", without health there is no life. It is an old Mexican saying which takes on a new meaning through the work of individuals such as Dr. Trujillo.

Today, at a time when immigration reform is under debate, we must remember that the United States and its people have worked long and hard for it. The time is upon us, and now more than ever, we must honor the tenacity of leaders like Dr. Trujillo, like many of you right here in this room, and like others that work tirelessly to make better lives for themselves, their families and their communities.

Dr. Roberto Trujillo grew up in San Pedro Zictepec, a small town in the heart of Mexico. This community faced several limitations, but that did not stop Roberto from fulfilling his innermost aspiration: he wanted to become a doctor and serve others. As he often says in conversations with his friends, “I did not choose medicine, medicine chose me”. He practically had to move to a hospital in Toluca and start his medical career when he was still a teenager. He was 16 years old when he delivered his first baby and 17 years old when he performed a cesarean section. His humble background turned into a wonderful and educational five year experience where he found his home in medicine.

After coming to the United States to continue his studies, he became the first molecular Neurovirologist at Harvard and the first Mexican in the history of Harvard to obtain a Doctor of Science degree in virology and neuroscience. Dr. Trujillo is considered a pioneer in the field of molecular neurovirology. His research interests include the molecular basis of viruses, AIDS, viral-immune responses, opportunistic infections, and cancer research. Dr. Trujillo has published over 60 scientific manuscripts and reviews and more than 50 conference abstracts and book chapters.  For all of this work, he has received numerous national and international awards.

Recently, Dr. Trujillo was also recognized as one of the "100 Most Influential Professional Mexicans in the U.S."  He continues to lecture nationally and internationally in the field of Neurovirology and NeuroAIDS and sits on several consulting and scientific editorial boards.

Currently, Dr. Trujillo is the President and CEO of TruBios, and is working on the eradication of cervical cancer in the Americas using a device he co-invented based on quantum physics and chemistry that induced cell death in cancer cells.

At the community level, he is working with the Consular Section of this Embassy in its Ventanilla de Salud program, exploring ideas and instruments of technology that could enhance the efficiency in providing informative and preventive health services to the Mexican population in this region.

Dr. Trujillo is the best example of how perseverance, commitment and talent are combined in a single person and dedicated to service of others. Those attributes are found in Mexican communities all over the United States and they deserve to be recognized for what they provide to their communities and to the country as a whole.

For this, on behalf of the Government of Mexico, I will now bestow the National Ohtli Award upon Doctor Roberto Trujillo

Dear friends,

Today, both United States and Mexico face a myriad of opportunities that if properly conducted and played right by our leaderships, will profoundly benefit the North American region and its peoples. The conversation taking place today on immigration reform stands as an enormous opportunity for the future of the United States —and of North America as a whole.

Health issues are also at the core of national debates here in the United States and elsewhere. Just a week ago we held the opening ceremony of Binational Health Week in this room, in which the Government of Mexico reaffirmed its commitment to providing high quality and useful health information and services to our nationals, both here and in our country. During this special week, our consular network will be serving half a million individuals from many countries in an effort to promote good health. This collaborative initiative serves individuals, families and communities alike.

Let us not forget that what is at the core of today´s discussions are the lives, dreams and aspirations of millions of people. Mexico is committed to increasing opportunities and protecting the well-being of its citizens, at home and abroad.

Mexicans in the United States have always made great contributions to the economy and social fabric of the communities in which they live. The work ethic they display is broadly recognized by both the private sector and civil society. Many are also entrepreneurs, and even during challenging economic times they have continued to create jobs in the US.

The work of Dr. Trujillo is a clear example of the potential of the Latino community that lives in this great country. On Monday, the 2013 Nobel Prize in medicine was just announced, so it is too late this year, but if any of you are on the Nobel committee, I have a suggestion for next year…..

In all seriousness, it is not hard to imagine Dr. Trujillo standing at that podium in Sweden someday. He has been honored with many prizes and awards and will undoubtedly continue to receive them in the future. But I think this award is particularly meaningful because it is a testimony of how, no matter how integrated Dr. Trujillo is to the United States, and no matter how much he has developed thanks to the stimulating conditions of US universities, he remains very much a Mexican, committed to his people. In that sense, Dr. Trujillo embodies the future of Mexican-Americans: people that make the most of their dual nationalities to their own advantage, but also to the advantage of the entire North American region.

The Government of Mexico wishes to acknowledge and recognize the many successes of Latinos in this country.  But we particularly need to learn from our Mexican communities, their struggles, their accomplishments, their dreams, so we may better share this knowledge with our leadership and work together to enhance the future well-being of our people.