Guido Girardi, president
of the Chilean Senate, presented author and activist Ariel Dorfman, (left) professor
of Latin American Studies at Duke, with the Bicentenary Medal of
the Chilean Congress on March 15. The medal, engraved with a
phrase recognizing the importance of literary production, was awarded in honor
of Dorfman's achievements.
Dorfman, who holds dual
Chilean and American citizenship, is the Walter Hines Page Chair of Literature
and Latin American Studies at Duke, where he has taught since 1985. His
award-winning novels, essays and poetry, written both in Spanish and English,
have been translated into more than 40 languages.
Among his most famous
plays is "Death and the Maiden," which recounts the encounter of a
former torture victim with the man she believes tortured her. It received the
Olivier Award in London and had a successful Broadway run before being made into
a film in 1994.
Bicentenario del Congreso Nacional de Chile" is the highest honor the Chilean
Congress confers on its citizens and visiting dignitaries, and celebrates
the 200th anniversary of Chile’s legislative body, one of the oldest
in the Western world. In addition to Dorfman, the medal has been given in
the past six months to the four living former presidents of Chile, to former or
current democratic leaders (including the vice president of Ecuador), leading
Chilean scientists and visiting Nobel laureates.