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2007.04.18 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

Third Annual Cumbre of the Great Plains Set for April 27-29

Omaha - Demetrios Papademetriou, president of the Migration Policy Institute, and Alejandro Portes, director of the Center for Migration and Development at Princeton University, will deliver the keynote addresses at an Omaha conference this month that will focus on immigration and Latino communities.

Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel also will speak at the conference, the Third Cumbre of the Great Plains, which is organized by the Office of Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The conference will be held April 27-29 at the Embassy Suites Omaha Downtown/Old Market. 

This year’s conference will again feature a number of national and international scholars, policy-makers, community practitioners and advocates.  It is cosponsored by La Red de Migración y Desarrollo, a prestigious network of international scholars and immigrant organizations (www.migracionydesarrollo.org) headquartered in Zacatecas, Mexico.

The conference offers academics and non-academics alike a unique opportunity to learn about how other world regions are experiencing and managing the growth and integration of immigrant populations. The opening plenary directly addresses the connections between U.S. and world economic policies, the widening gap between rich and poor countries and migration.  The rest of the Friday, April 27, morning sessions explore these issues up close.

Immigration policy is the prominent theme during the Friday afternoon sessions, beginning with Papademetriou’s keynote address “U.S. Immigration Policy in the Era of Mobility.”

“Dr. Papademetriou is an engaging speaker whose profound knowledge of world migration provides us with a desperately needed corrective to misinformed views about immigration,” said Lourdes Gouveia, director of OLLAS at UNO. 

Papademetriou's most recent books include Europe and its Immigrants in the 21st Century: A New Deal or a Continuing Dialogue of the Deaf? st (2006, editor), and Secure Borders, Open Doors: Visa Procedures in the Post-September 11 Era (2005, co-author).  His talk is at 12:15 p.m. in the Missouri Room of the Embassy Suites Hotel.

The keynote is immediately followed by Sen. Chuck Hagel’s “Immigration Policy Update,” at 2 p.m. He will speak in the Missouri room as well. 

Friday afternoon sessions continue the conversation with the public about immigration policy, development and emerging Latino political mobilization.  Steve Taylor, from Sen. Hagel’s office, will contribute comments during the afternoon plenary session titled “Immigration Policies, Latino Political Mobilization and Democracy in Immigrant America,” which features world-class scholars and starts at 2:35 p.m. in the Council Bluffs Room.

The Saturday, April 28, keynote address by Alejandro Portes is titled “No Margin for Error: Determinants of Achievement Among Disadvantaged Children of Immigrants.”  His most recent books include Immigrant America” and “Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation. “Portes’ address should be of special interest to everyone concerned with the future of our state and our city, and how that future is greatly dependent on having ‘no margin for error’ in our efforts to educate and fully integrate the most disadvantaged kinds into our society,” said Mary Ann Powell, co-author of a recent OLLAS report on Nebraska’s second generation of immigrants.  The talk will be at 11:50 am at the Missouri room.  The session is cosponsored with UNO’s Sociology and Anthropology Department.

Saturday, April 28, offers a rich array of sessions starting with a plenary on the impact of immigration on religion that will be moderated by the Rev. Damian Zurlein of Omaha.  Gabriel Escobar, from the PEW Hispanic Center will discuss a forthcoming report on religion and immigrants and Harvard Scholar, Peggy Levitt will share her fascinating work on the transnational dimensions of religion.  The session starts at 8:30 a.m. in the Council Bluffs room.

Susan Oboler a Peruvian-American and Anani Dzidzienyo, originally from Ghana, will hold a conversation with their audience about the relationship between African-Americans and Latinos. Their talk is based on their recently published book, Neither Enemies Nor Friends: Latinos, Blacks and Afro-Latinos.

OLLAS wishes to send (and has sent) a special invitation to members of the Latino, African American, and Nebraska community at large, to participate in this important conversation, Gouveia said.  This special session is cosponsored with UNO’s Black Studies Department and the UNMC Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Round tables in the afternoon offer a conversation with the audience about Latino and immigrants’ integration as well as educational challenges.  The Omaha Public Schools and other school district students, teachers and administrators from the area have registered in large numbers for several of these sessions.

Other featured speakers during the three-day conference include:

* Luis E. Guarnizo, University of California, and Raul Delgado Wise, Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas and executive director of La Red Internacional de Migración y Desarrollo who will speak during the opening plenary, on Friday, April 27, at 8:45 a.m. in the Council Bluffs room. Chuck Hassebrook, director of the Center for Rural Affairs and a member of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, will contribute with a local perspective.

* Luin Goldring, from York University in Canada, Karthick Ramakrishnan, University California, Riverside, and Helen Marrow, Harvard University, will participate in the plenary on immigration policy and Latino political mobilization.  The plenary is scheduled for 2:35 pm in the Council Bluffs room.

For more information, call the OLLAS office at (402) 554-3835 or Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, OLLAS assistant director, at (402) 554-4859. For the latest information, including highlights, biographies, main sponsors, and changes to the program, please visit the Web www.unomaha.edu/ollas.

The conference is free and open to the public, except for the luncheon keynotes.  However, everyone must register, even if attending only the free sessions.  Registration forms are On-line and participants must indicate whether they will be attending either of the luncheon keynotes and remit payments by no later than April 20.  The keynote luncheons cost is $18.  Those who do not wish to attend the lunches can register during the conference, on April 27 and 28.

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