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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 24, 2008

School of Social Work's 10th Latino conference will be Oct. 10-11 in Des Moines

The community and family impact of immigration raids, the history of Latinos in Iowa, cultural competence, civic engagement, public health issues, education and Latino businesses will be among the topics covered at the conference Strengthening and Valuing Latino Communities in Iowa, Oct. 10-11 at Grand View College in Des Moines.

The conference, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is themed "Nuestro Tapiz de Colores: Weaving the Threads of Our Past, Present and Future." It is coordinated by a statewide planning committee and the University of Iowa School of Social Work with the support of this year's host, Grand View College.

The Strengthening and Valuing Latino Communities in Iowa conference was founded in 1998 to explore the changing demographics and dynamics of Latino communities in Iowa and strengthen the responsiveness of policy makers, business leaders and community-based organizations. It has become a cherished gathering of Latinos and non-Latinos as a place to emphasize culture as a strength and provide networking opportunities for Latino leaders who live and work in Iowa.

This year's conference features four major components:

-- Friday, Oct. 10, Latino Youth Leadership Summit for junior and senior high students;

-- Friday, Oct. 10, pre-conference Professional Development Training Institute geared to the strengthening of professionals in education, social services, community development and advocacy;

-- Friday, Oct. 10, 5-7 p.m., opening reception for an Iowa Latina Art Exhibit, "Mujeres de Armas Llevar: Women Raising Arms," at the Grand View College Art Gallery; and

--Saturday, Oct. 11, the main conference featuring workshops and two keynote speakers: Laura I. Rendón, professor and chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Iowa State University's College of Human Sciences; and Francisco Guajardo, executive director of the Llano Grande Center, a nonprofit organization in Texas that works to revitalize communities through youth by creating access to higher education, engaging students in community change, and developing leadership that respects local history and culture.

Arts and culture are a significant component of the Latino conference. This year artists will join the conference from California, Texas, Minnesota and Iowa.

For more information or to register, contact the UI School of Social Work at 319-335-1273 or or visit

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

MEDIA CONTACTS:  Kate Kemp, UI School of Social Work, 319-335-1254,; Alex Piedras, Grand View College, 515-263-6017,; Nicole Riehl, UI News Services, 319-384-0070 (office), 319-430-6576 (cell),,