Rosa Anaya

Hillary Clinton Award | 09/27/2019

Rosa Anaya rehabilitates prison inmates in El Salvador.

Rosa Anaya has been an advocate for peace in El Salvador for 20 years, working to change the lives of vulnerable youth, gang members and prisoners. She currently runs Segundas Oportunidades (Second Chances), a Catholic Relief Services program that rehabilitates inmates in four prisons, preparing them to return to society and the workforce. Pioneering restorative justice in El Salvador’s prison system, Anaya and her team support prisoners with cognitive behavioral therapy and workshops that deconstruct toxic masculinity. The program prepares them to be responsible employees and citizens upon release, and to be “promotores de paz” (promoters of peace) in their communities.  

Anaya made the connection early between the violence and injustice of the war and the rise of street gangs in El Salvador. Throughout her career, she has developed innovative approaches to combat gang violence that provide young people with marketable skills, access to jobs and psychosocial attention. Anaya is the daughter of two giants of Salvadoran human rights history; her father authored the authoritative report on torture in prisons during the country’s civil war and her mother was the second woman in the country to serve as Supreme Court Justice judge. In 2008, Anaya was invited to be a member of the National Security and Justice Working Group for National Dialogue and was elected to the General Assembly of the National University of El Salvador. As a teenager she was chosen to speak to the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of children’s rights, particularly in war zones.