Ohtli Award

What is the Ohtli Award

  • The Ohtli Award was conceived to recognize and honor Mexican, Mexican-American or Latino leaders whose efforts have contributed significantly to the wellbeing, prosperity and empowerment of Mexican communities abroad. Ohtli is a náhuatl word that means “pathway”, or camino in Spanish.
  • The Institute for Mexicans Abroad, part of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, annually grants the Ohtli Award, which consists of a medal, a silver rosette, and a diploma. This acknowledgment honors people who have dedicated most of their lives and career to “blazing a trail” abroad for younger generations of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans as they strive to achieve their dreams.
  • This Award is one of the highest and very limited distinctions given by the Government of Mexico to distinguished individuals of Mexican or Latino origin.

Alicia Aguirre: 2013 recipient

  • Alicia Aguirre’s career is emblematic of a new generation of Latina women participating in public life in California. From within politics, teaching, community life and as a mother, Aguirre has been instrumental in empowering Mexican-Americans, Latinos and other new Americans so they can participate fully in the communities where they live.
  • Born in Detroit, Michigan, into a migrant worker family from Mexico, Aguirre earned a Master’s Degree at Eastern Michigan University and carried out Ph.D. studies in Social Anthropology in Mexico City. In her early years, she served as a community outreach worker in Detroit, and has since remained engaged in community organizations and agencies.
  • Aguirre has taught English as a Second Language to 25 generations of students at Cañada College and has been involved in the Redwood City Elementary School Board, Redwood City Libraries Foundation, Shelter Network Board, Hispanos Unidos, Youth Latino Leaders, among other organizations. Moreover, Aguirre has been a member of the Redwood City Council since 2005 and was elected Mayor in 2011.
  • In her various leadership positions, she has fostered the integration of Mexican and Latino communities and celebrated their cultural heritage. As Mayor, Aguirre has not only made city services closer to Spanish speakers and sought out Latino participation, but also supported Latino cultural expressions including Fiestas Patrias and Día del Niño.