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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 1, 2007

UI-sponsored conference focuses on Iowa's Latino communities Nov. 2-3

The University of Iowa is sponsoring the ninth annual Strengthening and Valuing Latino Communities in Iowa Conference Nov. 2-3 in Marshalltown. The early registration deadline is Oct. 10.

The conference has several goals: to explore the changing demographics and dynamics of the state's Latino communities; to examine how policymakers, business leaders and community organizations are responding to the state's fastest-growing population; and to provide networking opportunities for Latino/a leaders and people who value cultural diversity. This year's conference theme is "Cultivating Community Strengths: (In)migration, Empowerment, and Alliances."

Coordinated by a statewide volunteer planning committee and the School of Social Work in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the conference will take place at Iowa Valley Continuing Education/Marshalltown Community College.

A professional development training institute and a Latino youth leadership summit will take place Friday, Nov. 2. The training institute, geared toward professionals in education, social services, community development and advocacy, runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Youth Summit, from 8 a.m. to 3:40 p.m., features workshops and cultural programs for high school juniors and seniors.

Roberto Dansie, a widely acclaimed educator and speaker on cultural diversity, will deliver the keynote address at 10:45 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 3 at Dejardin Hall. Dansie works with families and communities on issues of trauma and cultural healing. He is a faculty member with the Psychosocial Trauma of War Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia's School of Medicine. He has received numerous awards, including the 2005 Humanitarian of the Year from the International Center for Psychosocial Trauma, the National Award for Community Development, the Golden Medallion from the National Indian Health Board, the Cesar Chavez Award and the Federal Award from the Administration on Aging.

Throughout Saturday, conference participants can attend workshops, many in Spanish, on topics like welcoming communities, civic participation, immigrant rights, health, leadership development, civil rights and economic development.

The conference is possible because of generous support from numerous sponsors and local and state organizations. For a list of sponsors and more details about the event, visit or contact David Marxuach at 319-335-4475 or

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: David Marxuach, University of Iowa School of Social Work, 319-335-4475,; Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070,