• .He said that national unity is not only expressed in adverse situations. Unity among Mexicans is an everyday activity; it must be a daily exercise that encourages us to engage in a collective act, with a positive, constructive attitude, he said.
  • Mexico's real strength lies in the sum of each of its parts, the determination to preserve what we value most and took us so many years to build as a nation, he said.
  • He presented the National Voluntary Work and Solidarity Prize 2016.
  • The winners are exemplary citizens from civil society who have achieved leadership based on everyday effort; they have earned respect and social recognition, and  the affection of the people to whom they bring hope, he said.

When he presented the National Award for Volunteer Work and Solidarity 2016, President Enrique Peña Nieto called for national unity and said that, “History shows us that there is no challenge, threat or emergency we cannot overcome when we work together on a single front”.

He said that, “When Mexico has faced its challenges with unity, it has always triumphed”. Today, Mexico “Requires us all and our energy. We must put aside confrontations and maintain unity above any differences,” he added.

“The unity of Mexicans has been our greatest strength for rising up in adversity, and unity has allowed us to strengthen our sovereignty, freedom and independence”.

The president stressed that, “However, national unity is not only expressed in adverse situations. On the contrary, unity among Mexicans is an everyday activity; it must be a daily exercise that encourages us to engage in a collective act, always with a positive, constructive attitude”.

It means helping neighbors, participating in community work in the traditional tasks of our peoples,” he declared.

He added that Mexico's real strength, “Lies in the sum of each of its parts, the determination to preserve what we value most and took us so many years to build as a nation”.

The president said that the government, “Will continue joining the efforts of the millions of volunteers who every day, often discreetly and anonymously, perform actions to bring about change”.

He thanked those who are active volunteers, who are truly agents of change. “They are exemplary citizens from civil society who have achieved leadership based on everyday effort; they have earned respect and social recognition, and  the affection of the people who bring hope,” he said.

During the event, the president presented the National Volunteer Work and Solidarity Award 2016 and honorable mentions in different categories to individuals and organizations who have been distinguished by their solidarity.

He explained that the prize awarded today has its origins in a global celebration, established by the United Nations in 1985, “A year that was also crucial for Mexicans, a difficult year that sparked national unity and a culture of solidarity In our country”.

Since then, he said, "Solidarity has been a word with which Mexicans feel identified. It is a value that we practice commonly and spontaneously. It is an attitude that distinguishes us worldwide”.

“Today we have acknowledged those who make voluntary work their mission. The individuals and associations throughout the country who make a difference and change the lives of thousands of people,” he said.

President Peña Nieto said he also recognized, “Many little known experiences, those that people don’t talk about yet count for a lot, and truly change the lives of many people”.

They are, “Men and women who excel at delivering the most valuable thing they have, to those most in need: their time, talent and commitment to solidarity,” he said.

He said that, “The efforts of the government and several of its programs would be insufficient were it not for the determined and unconditional support of the volunteers, who, in addition to supporting us, inspire and motivate us to move forward”.

President Peña Nieto said that, "Achieving major changes and major transformations requires us all to engage in a collective task, with joint responsibility”. Let us not wait, he continued, “For changes to come on their own, or for someone to make them for us. We must all seek transformation, change and improvement, so that we are a society with greater development, better quality of life and greater opportunities for those who make up this society”.

THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS ESTABLISHED THE BASIS FOR THE UNDERLYING CHANGES MEXICO HAD POSTPONED FOR MANY YEARS: JOSÉ NARRO ROBLES

Health Secretary José Narro Robles said that in a democratic country like Mexico, “Requires the increasingly active participation of civil society. Gone are the days when the state was solely responsible for the collective development and solution of the population’s problems”.

He said that the government of President Peña Nieto has, “By vocation, a clear commitment to the neediest members of society. It fulfills its social function and also promotes initiatives by civil society, organizations that voluntarily assume responsibilities of aid and cooperation, and solidarity with the causes of the community”.

He said that this administration, “Has laid the foundations for the profound change Mexico had postponed for many years" and that it is now possible to, “address age-old problems and solve issues such as poverty and inequality, ignorance and failure to adhere to the rule of law”.

Within the framework of the commemoration of International Volunteer Day, the Health Secretary urged society to celebrate those who “devote their time, expertise, resources and vocation to a cause”.

VOLUNTEERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE SOLIDARITY WITH THE NEEDIEST SECTORS: FERNANDO SUINAGA CÁRDENAS

Fernando Suinaga Cárdenas, National President of the Mexican Red Cross and President of the Jury of the National Award for Voluntary Action and Solidarity 2016, stated that, “volunteering is an intervention model, a model that should be valued, encouraged and replicated”.

He congratulated volunteers across the country on International Volunteers’ Day, "because it is their actions that make a difference in the solidarity towards those most in need”.

The President of the Mexican Red Cross acknowledged the willingness of the president to, “Give back a little of all that these people have given and thus generate a change of mentality, a cultural change among Mexicans who help our fellowmen in the most complicated situations”. Suinaga also congratulated them on, “Their work and everyday efforts on behalf of Mexicans, especially the most vulnerable ones”.

He said that volunteers are the strength of humanity and people who give an example of providing aid without expecting anything in return. “The world needs them and their selfless support”.

PRESIDENT PEÑA NIETO URGES US TO BE BETTER AND GIVE EVERYTHING TO MEXICO: BENJAMIN MIJANGOS, PRIZE WINNER

On behalf of the winners, Benjamin Mijangos Borja, Executive Director of Volunteers  in Operation Smile Mexico, thanked the president for his presence, which, he said, “Urges us to be better, to give everything for Mexico and also to walk by your side, Mr. President.”

“With humility and gratitude, but with an unwavering dedication to service, I receive this award which is nothing more than the recognition that I must and want to share with our volunteers, the core of Operation Smile Mexico, with which we have formed a unified group, based on common principles,” he said.