Guyana Ambassador in U.S. gets Martin Luther King Award
Guyana Chronicle
January 20, 2002

THE Committee for the International Salute to the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has this year selected Guyana's Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Odeen Ishmael, for The King Legacy Award for International Service.

The award is one of several to honour the memory of the renowned U.S. civil rights leader who was assassinated in 1968.

A release from the Guyana Embassy in Washington said the Committee will present the award to the ambassador at its 11th annual breakfast tomorrow at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington DC.

Each year the Committee, which comprises religious, business, academic, civic, political leaders, and diplomats, at the national and international levels, gives three awards. These are The King Legacy Award for International Service, The King Legacy Award for National Service, and the Dr. Dorothy I. Height Leadership Award. (Dr. Dorothy Height is the Chair of the National Council of Negro Women in the United States).

Recipients of The King Legacy Award for previous years include General Colin Powell, Senator Bob Dole, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and former Ambassador of Germany to the United States, Jeurgen Chrobog.

"I was most surprised when I was informed by the Co-Chairs of the Committee that I was selected for this year's award", Ishmael reacted.

"I am really humbled to be bestowed this honour. I have always been an admirer of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and firmly believe in his dream that people should be judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.

"While this award is seen as an honour for me, I see it as an honour for Guyana, and I accept it on behalf of all the people of my country whom I am proud to serve", he said.

Ambassador Ishmael is also Guyana's Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States (OAS).

In addition to promoting Guyana's interests in the United States, in OAS countries and in a number of international organisations, he has been actively involved in providing leadership for the expansion of distance education in Latin America and the Caribbean.

His research material on Guyanese history on the Internet is heavily referenced by researchers and university students all over the world.