On 17 September 2019, in a special ceremony at the “Peace Monument,” in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Mr. René Corado, Collections Manager at the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology located in Camarillo, changed the symbolic white rose of peace and became an Ambassador of Peace for his native country. Previous recipients of the award have included 14th Dalai Lama and former U.S. President George W. Bush.
René Corado, Collections Manager at the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, was born in Guatemala, and is a biologist and an author. He recently self-published two books on his life, detailing how he started out as a shoeshine boy in Guatemala City in the 1960s. The story of his life, told in his book, “El Lustrador” (“The Shoeshine Boy”) has inspired thousands of people living in poverty in Guatemala. His own non-profit organization, the “El Lustrador Foundation,” gives scholarships to poor students to continue their elementary and middle-school educations, and his work with some of the poorest schools in Guatemala has further endeared him to Guatemalan people living both in Central America and in the U.S. Mr. Corado regularly encourages students and families to “work hard to achieve your dreams” and shares his personal trials and his need for perseverance as a new immigrant to the U.S. His story and public service have captured the hearts of Guatemalans of all socioeconomic levels, and in summer 2019 he was nominated for the special “Ambassador of Peace” award by Minister of Culture Mr. Elder Súchite.
The Peace Monument, made by the artist Luis Fernando Carlos León, was erected in 1996 at the end of the brutal 36-year Civil War in Guatemala during which millions of people were killed. The bronze statue shows two left hands reaching up, representing each side of the conflict and signifying a sincere truce between the two warring sides (the Guatemalan government and the Guatemalan people). The 16 interlocking arms signify the Guatemalan people, locked in arms, determined to sustain peace and liberty. Those who place a new white rose on the two hands of the monument assume the responsibility of working daily to conserve peace and are chosen for their work in favor of it.
On October 12, 2019 the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology will recognize Mr. Corado’s achievement and introduce him to the public during an Open House at the Museum from 10 am to 4 pm. 439 Calle San Pablo, Camarillo CA 93012. 805/388-9944