CHLI Honors Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen at 14th Annual Gala & Leadership Awards


On April 11, 2018, the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) hosted its 14th Annual Gala & Leadership Awards in Washington, D.C. Held each spring, the Annual CHLI Gala & Leadership Awards honors extraordinary leaders who support the advancement of the Hispanic community in the United States. This year’s special evening honored Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a woman whose public service and international leadership has made a meaningful impact on the U.S. Hispanic community. Ros-Lehtinen was born in Havana, Cuba. When she was eight, her family fled the oppressive Castro regime and settled in Miami. Years later she earned an Associate of Arts degree from Miami-Dade College, a master’s degree in Education from Florida International University, and a doctorate in Education from the University of Miami. She began her career as a Florida certified teacher and was inspired to enter public service by many of the parents and students, to fight on their behalf for a stronger educational system and a brighter economic future. She was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1982 and the Florida Senate in 1986, becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve in either body. In 1989, Ros-Lehtinen was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the first Cuban-American and Hispanic woman to serve in Congress. She has been overwhelmingly re-elected to Congress ever since. For event details and updates visit:, or contact Mary Ann Gómez Orta at