City of Riverside Names Award for Carlos Cortés

UCR historian honored for lifetime commitment to inclusivity and diversity

Carlos Cortes

The city of Riverside has named an award for historian Carlos Cortés.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A new award created by the city of Riverside to recognize community members who are committed to inclusivity and diversity has been named for Carlos Cortés, UC Riverside professor emeritus of history.

Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey presented the inaugural Dr. Carlos E. Cortés Award for Championing Diversity and Inclusivity during the State of the City Address on Jan. 28.

“I’m delighted that the mayor is championing diversity and inclusion, and am deeply honored that the award will be in my name,” Cortés said. “It took me completely by surprise.”

Bailey said the award is named for Cortés because of his long commitment to inclusivity and diversity in both his professional career and in his civic leadership capacities. “You were the single most influential force in the shaping of the City of Riverside’s Inclusivity Statement, reason alone to name this award in your honor,” the mayor said in a letter to the historian. “Yet, anybody that has worked with you knows that your contributions are much greater than the Inclusivity Statement.”

Cortés is known internationally as a scholar of race and ethnicity, and has been writing and teaching on the topic for decades. In addition to his scholarly publications and work as a consultant to government agencies, universities and private businesses, Cortés also serves as the creative/cultural adviser for Nickelodeon’s award-winning “Dora the Explorer,” and its sequel, “Go, Diego, Go!,” – for which he received the 2009 NAACP Image Award.

Rusty Bailey, Nancy Melendez, Carlos Cortes

Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey (from left), community activist Nancy Melendez, and UCR historian Carlos Cortés celebrate the presentation of the inaugural Dr. Carlos E. Cortés Award for Championing Diversity and Inclusivity to Melendez. Photo by Steve Jacobs for the city of Riverside

He joined UC Riverside in 1968 as a professor of Latin American history, and retired from active teaching in 1994. Cortés remains an active scholar, writing and editing books, and lecturing throughout the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Australia on the implications of diversity for education, government, private business, and the mass media.

Among his books are “Rose Hill: An Intermarriage before Its Time,” a memoir about growing up as the child of a Jewish mother and Mexican-American Catholic father, “The Children Are Watching: How the Media Teach about Diversity,” and “The Making – and Remaking – of a Multiculturalist.” He co-edited “Multicultural America: A Multimedia Encyclopedia” (Sage, 2012), a four-volume encyclopedia that examines historical and contemporary issues of race and ethnicity in America.

Since 1990, Cortés has served on the summer faculty of the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education, and since 1995 has served on the faculty of the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication. He has received numerous awards, including the Inland Empire Hispanic Image Awards Educator of the Year, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators’ Outstanding Contribution to Higher Education Award, UCR’s Distinguished Teaching Award and Faculty Public Service Award, the Distinguished California Humanist Award, the American Society for Training and Development’s National Multicultural Trainer of the Year Award, and the California Council for the Social Studies’ Hilda Taba Award.

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Carlos Cortés
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