Funglode/GFDD 2023 Cultural Awards Announcement

March 4, 2024

The recipients of the 2023 Cultural Awards were announced, launching its 13th anniversary.

(Santo Domingo, March 4, 2024) Fundacion Global Democracia y Desarrollo (Funglode), along with its sister institution, The Global Democracy and Development Foundation (GFDD), are pleased to announce the 2023 Cultural Awards recipients. This initiative, now in its 13th year, recognizes excellence in poetry, novels, short stories, journalism, and photography.

According to the award organizers, over 300 entries were submitted across the five aforementioned categories.  This year’s winning selection of works reflects the imaginative and impactful vision of their authors. Honoring their achievements reflects GFDD’s continued commitment to showcasing and advancing noteworthy artistry and cultural works.

The 2023 Cultural Awards Winners:


Poet Frank Martínez was awarded the Pedro Mir Poetry Award with his collection of poems titled “The Contour of Things”.  Martinez’s work was praised for its harmonious blend of wisdom and everyday experiences, bridging classic and modern themes with the metaphysical essence of Eastern and Western cultures. Basilio Belliard, Virgilio López Azuán, and Enegildo Peña comprised this year’s poetry jury.


In the novel category, Eli Villamán secured the Federico García Godoy award for “The Day Mother Did Not Return”. Villaman’s compelling narrative style, and profound exploration of relevant themes was lauded for its literary brilliance. Emelda Ramos, Máximo Vega, and Marino Berigüete constituted the judging panel.


Osvaldo A. Fernández Domínguez held the first place prize in the Juan Bosch Short Story category. His story titled “The Color of Kites” masterfully depicts immigrant experiences. Claiming second place was Belkis María Marte with “I Write”, while Massiel Zapata Caba received the third place prize for “The Offering to Onye Okike”. Additionally, Katty Martínez received a special mention for “Ti Bon Ange”. The jury included Pedro Antonio Valdez, Emilia Pereyra, and Rafael José Rodríguez.


Carolina Pichardo Hernández of the daily newspaper Listín Diario won the Rafael Herrera Journalism Award for her investigative report on “The Mexico Corridor and the Lucrative Business Generated by Dominican Visas in Haiti”.

Sauro Scalilla López, also from Listín Diario, was awarded second place for his special report titled “They Put Out Forest Fires and Their Meager Earnings are not Enough to Live On”.  Cibely Ramírez and Lauren Jiménez also received third place recognition for their compelling journalistic work titled “A National Disgrace: Motivation Overrides Precariousness”.

Journalist Dalton Herrera Segura, from the newspaper El Caribe, earned a Special Mention for his piece on “A Library in the Clouds.” The jury consisted of Mariela Mejía, Emelyn Balderas, and Alfonso Quiñones.


The Abelardo Rodríguez Urdaneta Photo Award celebrates excellence in color and black-and-white photography. Héctor Placeres took home the top prize in the color category for “Dominican Yoker”. Danisel Cuesto Jiménez, was named a finalist for “Bouts of Hope”, while Ramón Taváres received a Special Mention for his photograph “We Are Bruised”.

In the black and white category, the awards were issued to Ramón Taváres for “Black Dance;” David Soto was named a finalist for “My Dad’s Car”.  Special Mentions were issued to Miguel Peralta for “Deserved Rest”, Narciso A. Polanco for “Jet Black Eyes”, and Martín Rodríguez for “I Got You”.

Photographer Héctor Placeres also claimed the first place prize in the Creative Digital Category with “Ex Burro” and a special mention for his piece “We Are All One”. Luis A. Ramírez was named a finalist for his photograph titled “National Transfiguration.”

The drone category saw Martín Rodríguez emerge victorious with “Isla Beata” and secured an additional spot as a finalist for “Valle Nuevo”.   Domingo Batista, Mayra Johnson, and María Elena Ditrén served as jurors.

The award-winning photographs showcasing the photographers’ unique styles and approaches to the medium are on display for public viewing at the Funglode Art Gallery in Santo Domingo, where visitors can vote for their favorite.

Recipients across all five categories will receive trophies, diplomas, and cash prizes.  The award ceremony date will be announced in due course.