Freddy Peccerelli, a forensic anthropologist and human rights advocate, will be receiving this year’s Distinguished Alumnus award at the Brooklyn College Commencement ceremony at the Barclay Center.
Peccerelli, who graduated in 1996 with a B.A. in anthropology, has been nationally recognized for his work with the non-government organization, the Forensic Anthropology of Guatemala (FAFG), in which he was a founding member. The organization garnered acclaim for its hand in exhuming the thousands of mass graves of which all were victim to Guatemala’s 36-year-long armed conflict
The conflict consumed the lives of an estimated 200,000 people, who were presumed dead or vanished, as a direct result of the internal fighting between the Guatemalan armed forces and left-wing guerilla groups. Peccerelli, with a fierce personal connection, has been directly affected by the conflict, as his family was forced to flee its home country when he was 9 years old.
Now, roughly 37 years later, the Brooklyn College alumnus has done extensive work for his home country – work that resulted in dialogue with victim families and searches for loved ones, requests from rural communities to help bring authoritarian military officers of the era to justice – and in some cases, providing testimony to International Criminal Court and Inter-American Court of Human Rights, after witnessing atrocities of the conflict firsthand.
Peccerelli, having served as a key witness himself in cases against heads of the military dictatorship in Guatemala National Court, has gained national recognition by news media, as well as has been named by CNN as “one of the top 50 Latin American Leaders of the New Millennium.”
The former Brooklyn College anthropology student had, since initial return to his native Guatemala for anthropological service, dedicated his life to upholding human rights and worked to diligently and drastically serve justice against the humanitarian crimes of his native Guatemala – as he uses his one true weapon, the study of anthropology – to cast light, dig for and lift justice from the historical soils.
Peccerelli will join the graduates at the commencement on May 30 to join the ranks of distinguished alumnus of Brooklyn College and claim his award as the recipient of 2017.