Washington (BWA)--Edgar Palacios, cofounder of the Lutheran University of El Salvador and former coordinator and executive director of the Permanent Committee of the National Debate for Peace in El Salvador (CPDN), is the 2012 recipient of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award.
The announcement of the award was made during the BWA Executive Committee meeting in Falls Church, Virginia, in the United States.
Palacios is being recognized for his role in helping to negotiate peace in El Salvador during the civil war of 1980-92. During the struggle for peace, Palacios' life, along with those of other pastors and church leaders, was at great risk. In 1989, he took refuge in the German Embassy and a United Nations safe house in San Salvador, the country's capital, after being informed that he and several other clergy members and social leaders were on a government hit list. Six Jesuit priests were assassinated during the government's repressive campaign.
He played key roles in the CPDN, part of the social movement in the Central American country, leading the organization through one of the most turbulent periods in El Salvador's modern history. In the period 1989-1992, Palacios testified at various times as a representative of the churches and the CPDN before the United States Congress and the United Nations on the situation in El Salvador. In 1990, he was co-president of a peace conference relating to El Salvador in the Netherlands.
Ordained to the Christian ministry in 1985, Palacios served several Baptist congregations in El Salvador, did stints with two congregations in Mexico City, and currently serves as associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, DC, in the US.
Palacios is a cofounder and a former executive secretary of the National Council of Churches of El Salvador and was a representative of the Historical Protestant Churches of El Salvador. He taught at several universities, colleges and seminaries in El Salvado, Mexico and the US, including at the Baptist Institute of Theological Formation, Central American University "Jose Simeon Caņas," the El Salvador National University Law School, the Theological Institute of Graduate Studies of Mexico, Chapingo University in Mexico and the John Leland Center for Theological Studies in Virginia, USA. He helped to found the Lutheran University of El Salvador in 1988.
He is the recipient of several other awards. In 1998, he was presented with merit awards for peace by the Salvadoran Civil Society and the the Baptist Association of El Salvador. In addition, he has been recognized for his work for peace and justice by the National Council of Churches of El Salvador, the Lutheran Church of El Salvador, the Community of Marginalized People, the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, and the Austrian Foundation.
The 2012 BWA Human Rights Award, named after immediate past General Secretary Denton Lotz and wife Janice, will be presented during the BWA General Council meeting in Santiago, Chile, in July.