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2009.06.11 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.35-2 - email: tkaldahl@unomaha.edu

OLLAS Sponsors Workshop for Latino, Migrant Leaders

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Office of Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS) sponsored a three–day workshop for migrant and Latino leaders entitled “Leadership, Empowerment and Civic Engagement: Reclaiming our Heritage and Building Networks Across the Americas.” It concluded June 7 with a luncheon and closing ceremony that was attended by then Omaha mayor-elect Jim Suttle as well as state senators Brenda Council, Heath Mello and Jeremy Nordquist.

The event aimed to strengthen the capacity of immigrant and Latino leaders and organizations to address the challenges that confront their communities and also further encourage them to participate in the civil society and political processes in the United States and in immigrant countries of origin. Academics and immigrant leaders from Mexico, El Salvador, Chicago and Omaha took part. A Ford Foundation grant provided funding for the workshop.

More than 50 participants attended a series of sessions dedicated to train immigrants and local Latino communities to learn about, and participate in, the Nebraska legislative and electoral processes. Many had attended hearings at the Unicameral on immigration bills and had meetings with state senators such as Brad Ashford. This work, along with a research component that looks at the development of migrant organizations in new destinations, has also been supported by an additional grant that OLLAS received from the Woodrow Wilson Institute, said Lourdes Gouveia, OLLAS director. Cosponsoring organizations included the International Network of Migration and Development based at the University of Zacatecas.

The newly formed Heartland Workers Center, headed by Sergio Sosa, was also publicly announced during the workshop. The organization has been OLLAS’ community partner in the grants.

“The new center is preceded by many years of impressive community organizing efforts carried out under various organizations under Sergio’s leadership,” Gouveia said.

For more information, contact Gouveia at (402) 517-5107 or Sosa at (402) 212-3049.


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