ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero Honored At Academy Of Achievement Summit

July 8, 2009 12:00 am

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NEW YORK – American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony D. Romero was selected as an honoree at the 48th annual Academy of Achievement’s International Achievement Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, which ended today.

Each year, the Academy of Achievement invites 30 new honored guests and 20 past awardees who represent the “greatest thinkers and achievers of the age” from the sciences, business, the professions, sports, literature, entertainment, the military, the arts and public service to a four-day summit to share their knowledge with 250 outstanding graduate students from around the world.

“It’s been an incredible privilege to have been one of the guests of honor at the International Achievement Summit,” said Romero. “To be recognized alongside luminaries who have achieved such greatness in practically every human endeavor has been both humbling and inspirational.”

The Academy of Achievement, based in Washington, D.C., hosts the International Achievement Summit annually in one of the world’s major cities. Other participants at this year’s summit in Cape Town include Nobel Prize winners Wole Soyika and Dr. Joseph Stiglitz, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay, Kerzner International Holdings Limited CEO Sol Kerzner and Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu.

Romero is the ACLU’s sixth Executive Director, and the first Latino and openly gay man to serve in that capacity. Under Romero’s leadership, the ACLU has gained court victories on the Patriot Act, filed landmark litigation on the torture and abuse of detainees in U.S. custody, filed the first successful legal challenge to the Bush administration’s illegal NSA spying program, and, through Freedom of Information Act litigation, obtained critical Justice Department memos outlining the Bush administration’s legal framework for its torture policies.

The ACLU has achieved unprecedented growth since Romero became Executive Director in 2001, allowing the organization to expand its nationwide litigation, lobbying and public education efforts, including new initiatives focused on racial justice, religious freedom, privacy, reproductive freedom and lesbian and gay rights.

In 2005, Romero was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America and in 2009, one of Out Magazine’s Power 50: The Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America. He has received dozens of public service awards and an honorary doctorate from the City University of New York School of Law. Along with Dina Temple-Raston, he co-authored In Defense of Our America: The Fight for Civil Liberties in the Age of Terror, which takes a critical look at civil liberties in this country at a time when constitutional freedoms are in peril.

Born in New York City to parents who hailed from Puerto Rico, Romero was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He is a graduate of Stanford University Law School and Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs. He is a member of the New York Bar Association and has sat on numerous nonprofit boards.

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