Call for Proposals | Deadline August 14 for Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies Interdisciplinary Working Groups

Deadline: August 14

Would you like to collaborate or keep collaborating with faculty and graduate students from different disciplines who share your passion for a focused research topic related to Latin America and/or the Caribbean? Would you like to participate in seminars, conferences, and professional development workshops with colleagues from both Duke and UNC campuses? Would you like to invite cutting-edge intellectuals and/or practitioners in your field of study to your campus/courses, complete a group publication, or present your own graduate work for feedback from your peers and professors? All of these possibilities exist in the interdisciplinary Working Groups sponsored by the Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. The competition is open to Duke and UNC faculty and graduate students from all disciplines.
The UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies is pleased to announce a call for proposals for the 2015-2016 Working Groups Program. The Working Groups provide one of the principal means by which the Consortium discharges its missions to promote interdisciplinary research and innovative scholarship, enhance the experience of graduate education, and disseminate knowledge of Latin America and the Caribbean to the wider university community. The program supports collaboration among faculty and graduate students from different departments, professional schools, and curricula on both campuses.
The Consortium will consider proposals that promote interdisciplinary collaborative and creative projects among Latin American and Caribbean faculty and graduate students at UNC and Duke University. Successful proposals will need to demonstrate strong faculty leadership and involvement. Please note that under this program, the same Working Group will be funded for a maximum of three years – however, an annual evaluation will take place (working groups can lose funding). Proposals will be considered in the following priority order:
• Joint Duke-UNC: Led by 2 faculty members (one from each campus) with at least 4 graduate student participants (some from each university). Or
• 2-campuses: Led by 1 faculty member (from either campus) with at least 4 graduate student participants (some from each university). Or
• 1-campus proposal: Led by 2 faculty members representing different disciplines at one campus and a minimum of 4 graduate student participants from either university. Every effort will be made to maintain parity for single-campus proposals between UNC and Duke.
In all cases, at least two disciplines must be represented.
Funds will be awarded competitively to no more than four (4) Working Groups on an annual basis within a budgetary framework up to $5,000 per year. We accept proposals that extend the range of work up to two years and envision a community / academic / exhibit / performance / publication event in the second cycle of the grant.
Proposals must include:
(1) Application Form
(2) Proposal narrative (see instructions and outline to be followed on application form)
(3) Itemized budget request (see sample budget)
(4) Groups that were funded in 2014-2015 and are requesting funding for 2015-2016 must also complete a reporting form.
Please submit your proposal as an e-mail attachment (Word documents and/or PDF files are preferred) to Miguel Rojas-Sotelo ( no later than Friday, August 14, 2015.
*Note that this is an absolute deadline, and late submissions will not be considered. Applicants should be aware that there will be a delay in notifications compared to previous years. Therefore any proposed activities that require travel arrangements should be planned for mid-Fall semester or later.
If you have any questions about this process, please do not hesitate to contact General information about working group guidelines can be found on the Consortium Web site
Note: Working Group events must be open to the public and thereby serve as a way to increase public awareness of Latin America and the Caribbean, past and present.

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Photos: Museo Palacio Canton

11148360_990347604322990_169019890978711390_oWe are delighted to share photos from our Yucatec Maya Institute friends and participants. We hope you have a wonderful experience!

Courtesy of the Museo Palacio Canton Facebook page:

En el Museo Palacio Cantón, nos llena de alegría recibir al grupo de intercambio de la Universidad de Carolina del Norte para sus estudios de lengua maya yucateco (Yucatec Maya Institute Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University) coordinados por el Mtro. Fidencio Briceño.




























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ISA Faculty Member Emilio del Valle Escalante editor of new publication: Teorizando las literaturas indígenas contemporáneas


ISA Faculty member and Associate Professor of Spanish Emilio del Valle Escalante is the editor of the new publication, Teorizando las literaturas indígenas contemporáneas (A contracorriente Press, 2015). The book is the result of the UNC-Duke’s Abya Yala Working Group and the majority of the contributors for the volume have been invited speakers at UNC-CH and Duke between 2012-14.

“This book signals the profound process of visibilization that is happening in the contemporary intellectual, literary, social-political world(s) of indigenous peoples,” said Inés Hernández Ávila, University of California—Davis.

The introduction and eight chapters in English and Spanish that make up Teorizando las literaturas indígenas contemporáneas examine the textual production of indigenous authorship. The authors start from the nineties and problematize the relationship between Indigenous People and nation-state in Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, and Brazil. It is one of the book’s suggestions that current indigenous movements and their demands can be best understood through a critique of textual production of its organic intellectuals. While much has been written about the activities of the social movements and current indigenous textual production, there is still the need for a book that contextualizes what has enabled the emergence of a contemporary indigenous literary canon and its relationship to those social movements. This book aims to fill some of these gaps.

The Duke and UNC-CH’s Abya Yala Working Group aimed to invite a number of Indigenous writers, local leaders, and Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars that experience and work on issues of indigeneity to create open and public events that include literary readings, scholarly talks, workshops, and seminars.  The group engaged UNC-CH and Duke faculty and students in discussions about topics such as Indigenous rights (be these religious, cultural, linguistic, political), discussions of Indigenous identity and self-representation, Indigenous/Afro-descendant relations, among others.

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2015 Américas Award goes to Duncan Tonatiuh and Margarita Engle

May 18, 2015
Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh is one of this year’s 2015 Américas Award winners.  Margarita Engle, author of Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal also wins this year’s 2015 Américas Award.  The award links the Americas to reach beyond geographic borders, as well as multicultural-international boundaries, focusing instead upon cultural heritages within the hemisphere.  
The awards are administered by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP) and coordinated by both Tulane University’s “Stone Center for Latin American Studies”: and Vanderbilt University’s “Center for Latin American Studies.”:  Generous support is also provided by “Florida International University”:, the “University of Florida”:, “University of New Mexico”:, “Stanford University”:, and the “University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.”:
Award Winners
Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation, published by Abrams Books is the story of a young girl and her family fighting for desegregation during a time of racial discrimination against Hispanics and minorities in general.  The book explores the experience of eight year old Sylvia Mendez  in what led to the landmark desegregation case of 1946 Mendez v. Westminster. 
Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt explores “the young ‘silver people’ whose backbreaking labor built the canal to the denizens of the endangered rain forest itself.”
The Américas Committee selected two Honor Books; Migrant written by José Manuel Mateo and illustrated by Javier Martínez Pedro published by Abrams Books for Young Readers and Strike! The Farm Workers’ Fight for their Rights by Larry Dane Brimner published by Calkins Creek.
Commended Titles
Thirteen commended titles were selected this year by the committee: A de Activista written by Martha González and illustrated by Innosanto Nagara, and published by Triangle Square; Abuelo by Arthur Dorros and illustrated by Raúl Colón, published by HarperCollins Publishers, Caminar by Skily Brown, published by Candlewick Press; Dalia’s Wondrous Hair/El Cabello Maravilloso de Dalia by Laura Lacámara, published by Piñata Books; Frida & Diego: Art, Love, Life by Catherine Reef, published by Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt; Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero, published by Cinco Puntos Press; Green is a Chile Pepper: a Book of Colors  written by Roseannae Greenfield Thong and illustrated by John Parra, published by Chronicle Books; Letters from Heaven by Lydia Gil, published by Piñata Books; Low Riders in Space written by Cathy Camper and illustrated by Raúl the Third, published by Chronicle Books; Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes written by Juan Felipe Herrera and illustrated by Raúl Colón, published by Penguin Group; The Secret Side of Empty written by Maria E. Andreu, published by Running Press; Twas Nochebuena written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by Sara Palacios and published by Penguin Group.
Complete annotations of the Américas Award 2015 will be posted on the CLASP website.
CLASP’s mission is to promote all facets of Latin American studies throughout the world.  Its broad range of activities include the encouragement of research activities, funding of professional workshops, advancement of citizen outreach activities, and development of teaching aids for the classroom. 
Find us on Facebook for all updates on Américas Award titles:
For more information on the Américas Award make sure to go to the site.
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Maikel Fariñas Borrego receives Chancellor’s Doctoral Candidacy Award


Fariñas Borrego at the North Carolina State Fair

Former ISA intern Maikel Fariñas Borrego was awarded the Chancellor’s Doctoral Candidacy Award. Fariñas Borrego was nominated by the History program: Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Chad Bryant; and faculty advisor, Louis A. Pérez, Jr., based on successful advancement into Ph.D. candidacy.

The award was made possible by a generous commitment from Chancellor Folt.

Fariñas Borrego specializes in Latin America and the Caribbean, with Cuba in particular. His works have been published in several journals and compilations from Cuba, Costa Rica, Brazil, Israel and the United States. In 2009, his master thesis Sociabildad y cultura del ocio was published in a book by the Fernando Ortiz Foundation

Outside of his studies, Fariñas Borrego can be found enjoying movies, especially from his favorite directors Lars von Trier, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Park Chan-wook, and Tomás Gutiérrez Alea.

Fariñas Borrego was awarded the Clein Graduate Summer Internship to work with the Latino Migration Project in 2014.


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Photo Gallery: Borderlands of the Iberian World


We were pleased to host over 35 academics, students and citizens who attended the Borderlands of the Iberian World Second International Author’s Colloquium. The May 14-17 event welcomed global scholars and ended with a Saturday evening reception.

Support generously provided by the University of North Carolina Provost Office, Departments of History, Religious Studies, and Political Sciences, the African Studies Center, Carolina Asia Center, the Institute for Arts and Humanities, and the Institute for the Study of the Americas.

We hope you will enjoy the photos (below)!



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FLAS Fellow named Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship Week

UNC FLAS Fellow Aazia Mickens-Dessaso was named a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship Week. On Monday, the White House brought Aazia and other emerging leaders together to emphasize the importance of investing in women and young entrepreneurs. 

Click here to read the original post. 


Office of Communications


May 6, 2015

President Obama to Recognize Emerging Global Entrepreneurs

WASHINGTON, DC – On Monday, May 11th, the White House will bring together emerging entrepreneurs from across the United States and around the world to highlight the importance of investing in women and young entrepreneurs to create innovative solutions to some of the world’s toughest challenges, including poverty, climate change, extremism, as well as access to education and healthcare. This event comes ahead of the President’s travel to this summer’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya and provides a unique opportunity to galvanize global attention on emerging women and young entrepreneurs.

The event will recognize the impact made by a number of U.S. government-led initiatives. In 2014, the Administration set a goal for its best entrepreneurship programs, now to be led under the umbrella of the Spark initiative, to generate over a billion dollars in private investment for emerging entrepreneurs by the end of 2017, with half of this goal to be raised for women and young entrepreneurs.  The White House will name nine more top American entrepreneurs to be named as Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship to contribute to this goal. The world’s brightest entrepreneurs still require further support through the commitments and collaboration of governments, investors, businesses, organizations and individuals. The event will also recognize the creation of the Spark Global Entrepreneurship coalition to further these objectives.

Speakers for the event will include five entrepreneurs from around the world and from various U.S. government programs, cast members of ABC’s TV series Shark Tank and other organizations. The event will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch this event live, at 2:00 pm ET on May 11th.  Additional details about the event will be made available in the coming days.

Guest Speakers

  • Mark Cuban, Investor on “Shark Tank” & Owner of the Dallas Mavericks
  • Barbara Corcoran, Investor on “Shark Tank” & Founder of Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners
  • Daymond John, Investor on “Shark Tank” & CEO and Founder of FUBU
  • Tony ElumeluFounder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation
  • Antonio Gracias, Founder of Valor Equity Partners
  • Julie Hanna, Founder of Kiva

Entrepreneurs participating in the Event include:

Jimena Flórez, Bogota, Colombia

Jimena Flórez is an entrepreneur in the agribusiness and food industry who founded Crispy Fruits in 2012. Her company was formed entirely by women entrepreneurs and is now operated by a majority of women.  Crispy Fruit’s purpose is to design and develop healthy and functional products to meet consumers’ demand for a nutritious and balanced diet, and in the process, empower farmers.  Her company is developing new products with natural ingredients to enhance people’s health.  She started her business with the mission of increasing the quality of life for Colombian farmers by improving their access to technology and capacity building opportunities, and developing sustainable agricultural practices to produce higher quality products that garner fair trade prices. Through President Obama’s Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas) initiative, which leverages public-private partnerships to increase women’s economic participation, Jimena received mentorship and training, and access to new trade opportunities, which helped her expand her business. Through her company Crispy Fruits, Jimena empowers cacao farmers in Tumaco, a predominantly Afro-Colombian community, by building the capacity of farmers to adopt organic agricultural processes, secure organic certification and ultimately access direct trade opportunities.

Felipe del Campo, Weston, FL, USA

Originally from Mexico City, Felipe Gomez del Campo founded FGC Plasma Solutions in 2013 and is currently a junior at Case Western Reserve University. From a research project started at a high school science fair to launching it into a company, Felipe is focused on improving the safety and efficiency of jet engines with a plasma assisted fuel injector. Felipe’s research has found that his product can result in a 10 percent decrease in fuel consumption which will result in significant savings, reduce harmful gas emissions for both jet engines on airliners and industrial gas turbines used to generate power. As a recent recipient of a regional prize in the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition, Felipe plans to further test and develop the injector at both the NASA Glenn Research Center. Felipe’s efforts to expand his business have benefited from an ecosystem of innovation, mentorship and capital. Felipe aspires to help set up a similar entrepreneurial ecosystem in Mexico as well to afford Mexican entrepreneurs the chance to develop their innovative ideas. Felipe also serves as President and co-founder of the Case Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

Adepeju Jaiyeoba, Lagos, Nigeria

Adepeju Jaiyeoba founded Mothers Delivery Kits in 2013, after losing a close friend to childbirth, to address maternal and child mortality resulting from unhygienic and unsafe deliveries in Nigeria. With the aim of economically empowering women and teaching behavioral changes in healthcare, her business connects women in rural communities to the lifesaving supplies they need at childbirth at an affordable cost. As a Mandela Washington Fellow for Young African Leaders (YALI), an initiative introduced by President Obama in 2013, Adepeju has been able to collaborate with other entrepreneurs, build employee capacity through YALI courses, and receive seed capital and mentorship from the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF). She is currently partnering with another YALI Fellow in Cote d’Ivoire to develop a mobile application to improve communications capabilities, and working with a YALI Fellow in Ghana to begin to expand her business to Ghana. With the support of the USADF entrepreneurship grant, her business has doubled its distribution in the last four months and expanded its services to internally displaced victims of Boko Haram. The grant has also enabled the company to acquire new machinery, establish a storage facility in northern Nigeria to address transportation challenges, increase its Lagos-based staff, and reach nearly 80 community midwives and healthcare provider across 23 states in Nigeria. Adepeju hopes to expand her work and continue to mentor other young entrepreneurs with her passion for change.

Aazia Mickens-Dessaso, Hampton, VA, USA

Aazia Mickens-Dessaso is the cofounder of FreePing, a software company launched in 2014 that provides free streams of utility information to prepaid mobile phone subscribers in emerging markets. Aazia developed the concept while observing the intersection of social movements and technology in Brazil as a U.S. Department of Education Foreign Languages and Area Studies Fellow. It was there that she discovered the benefits of easily-accessible information on personal and organizational productivity, and observed the ways Brazilians used their phones to interact without using prepaid credits. FreePing has been incubated by a Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund Competition recipient, through which her business has received business acumen, access to capital, and mentorship. Currently, FreePing has a presence in Brazil, South Africa, and Kenya. As a young African American woman in the tech industry, Aazia has led efforts to connect underserved groups to programming and engage, inspire and celebrate women and minorities in entrepreneurship. She organized this year’s International Space Apps Challenge, the first her hometown organized in the challenge’s four-year history, to allow local coders to access NASA’s open data and solve the Agency’s mission-related challenges, and to encourage girls in STEM. Aazia seeks to give voice to a startup ecosystem that is reflective of the country’s rich demographic makeup to produce solutions and products.

Ziad Sankari, Beirut, Lebanon

From Lebanon, Ziad Sankari started CardioDiagnostics in 2012. Ziad lost his father to a heart attack when he was seventeen and his family lacked access to proper healthcare.  He decided to pursue his studies in understanding the electrical activity of the heart and how monitoring and analyzing that activity can save lives. Today, the company uses FDA-approved wearable devices that are 24/7 GPS-enabled heart rate monitors allowing for heart monitoring centers to communicate diagnostic and preventive information to patients in the United States, where the center has over 40 employees, and in Lebanon. In 2008, Ziad attended Ohio State University on a U.S. Fulbright scholarship. After returning to Lebanon, he was selected to pitch his idea at the 2011 Global Innovation through Science and Technology’s (GIST) Tech-I competition where he won first place. Through GIST, a U.S. Department of State funded initiative, Ziad received his first round of seed funding and traveled through various U.S. cities to expand his network, learn how to negotiate, and connect with mentors. Given his experiences, Ziad sees education as essential to successful entrepreneurship and to combat rising issues of poverty and extremism. He hopes to support other startups and build a high-performing educational system in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East that leverages U.S. expertise and connections to open a world of opportunities to younger generations.

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Upcoming Events: Eduardo Gudynas May 5 & 7

Eduardo Gudynas

Centro Latinoamericano de Ecología Social, Montevideo


May 5 & 7, 2015

1) Buen Vivir and Nature’s Rights: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Tuesday, May 5, 3:00-4:30pm, GEC 4003

2) Workshop on “Transitions towards Alternatives to Development: Post-extractivism beyond Capitalism and Socialism

With responses by Gabriela Valdivia (Geography, UNC) and Dana Powell (Anthropology, Appalachian State University, Boone)

Thursday, May 7, 2:00-4:30, GEC 4003

Reception to Follow

Description of the events:  The first event discusses prevailing trends on the concept of Buen Vivir (BV), including its origins in radical development critiques in the Andean countries; its re-appropriation by the region’s progressive governments; ethical and political debates around BV and critiques from modernist perspectives; and the limits and possibilities of linking BV with other critical notions, such as degrowth.  Concrete examples will be drawn from Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru.  The second event examines transitions to post-extractivism as a concrete attempt at bringing about alternatives to development focused on BV.  It analyzes the radical objectives that can be imagined within a transitional democratic framework, and identifies differences with related proposals, such as the transition town initiatives, degrowth, and Sustainable Europe.

About Eduardo Gudynas: Eduardo is Director of the Latin American Center for Social Ecology (CLAES – Centro Latino Americano de Ecología Social), Montevideo, Uruguay. He has been Visiting Professor at the Universidad de la República in Montevideo.  His current appointments include: Research Associate, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis; Coordinator, Latin American Alliance of Critical Studies on Development (ALECD); and member of the Expert Group on Alternatives to Development, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Quito.  Besides maintaining a very active lecturing circuit at universities in Europe and the Americas, and a program of workshops and meetings with civil society and social movement organizations, Eduardo is an extremely prolific writer.  His two most recent books summarized his work of many years and the continental debates of last decade on Buen Vivir, the Rights of Nature, and transitions to post-extractivism.  See: Gudynas, E. 2014. Derechos de la Naturaleza y políticas ambientales. La Paz: Plural (1st ed.); and Gudynas, E. 2015. Extractivismos. Ecología y economía política de un modo de entender el desarrollo y la Naturaleza. Cochabamba: CEDIB (1st ed.). Both books have separate editions in Perú, Colombia and Argentina.

Sponsored by: The Latin American Social Cartographies Working Group, Carolina Seminar on the Theory and Politics of Relationality, Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA), and Curriculum in Global Studies .

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UNC Alumna Writes Young Adult Novel Inspired by Haitian Earthquake of 2010

See the original post from our friends at UNC Global 

holdtightcoverSurviving the 2010 earthquake in Haiti inspired University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alumna Laura Wagner to write the young adult novel Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go, published by Harry N. Abrams in January 2015. The novel is Wagner’s first.

The novel follows Magdalie, a teenager whose adoptive mother dies during the earthquake. Magdalie and her cousin Nadine, who is as close to her as a sister, go to live with their uncle in a camp in devastated central Port-Au-Prince. When Nadine joins her biological father in the United States, Magdalie is left behind to find her own way in her devastated city, coping with her grief, her community’s poverty and the challenge of paying for her schooling. The novel charts her ups and downs as she sets a course for her own future.

Wagner explains that the 2010 earthquake “literally felt like the end of the world.” Wagner was rescued by neighbors and friends after several hours trapped in rubble. She later wrote an article in Salon about the experience, which led to the writing and publication of Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go.

Wagner was in Haiti studying the Creole language and working on a doctoral research project when the earthquake struck. She was about halfway finished with her program, funded by Foreign Language and Area Studies program and International Dissertation Research Fellowship Program awards.

Laura Wagner

“Haiti was already a place where the superstructure of society was not strong. People really immediately knew that if people were going to be saved, they would have to be doing it themselves,” she recalls. “There were a few days that social class didn’t exist, and people shared what they had. Quite literally, the walls came down, and I think that’s why as many people survived.”

Folklore and children’s literature expert Brian Sturm, associate professor in the UNC School of Information and Library Science, adds that adolescence is typically full of upheaval and chaos, but the earthquake’s destruction of Magdalie’s city and family gives credence to the intensity of her emotional journey.

Sturm added, “Magdalie makes her own decisions, thinks critically about the world around her, copes with life and is strong inside herself. Wagner shows these characteristics beautifully.”

Magdalie’s story includes the years after the earthquake, giving Wagner time to explore her protagonist’s new relationships and to share the language, food and rituals of Haiti.

Wagner earned her MA in 2008 and her PhD in anthropology in 2014.

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ISA Co-Sponsors Community DACA Forum

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“…I knew I had to do something to pay off all the sacrifices of coming—leaving my family behind, my mom working three jobs.” -Yazmin Garcia Rico, pictured center. From left to right: Luis Lobo, Yazmin Garcia Rico, Dr. Robert Landry. Not pictured: Panelist Gerry Chapman.

More than 30 citizens, students, community members gathered in Chapel Hill for a forum about recent presidential administrative actions relating to immigration, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). We were proud to co-sponsor this forum with BB&T and the UNC School of Law.

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Gerry Chapman, pictured far left on front panel, from Chapman Law Firm, first speaks about the DACA executive order.

Speaker Gerry Chapman, Chapman Law Firm, started the discussion with an overview of DACA, and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), which is a new immigration benefit created by President Obama on November 20, 2014.

Yazmin Garcia Rico, DACA Recipient and Youth Director for Student Action with Farmworkers, spoke of her experiences and the impact DACA has had on her current job and future.

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The panel representatives came from all backgrounds: an immigration attorney, DACA recipient, Retired Superintendent, and BB&T Executive Vice President.

Dr. Robert Landry, Retired District Superintendent and NC Commissioner to National Education Commission of the States, provided current statistics regarding the state’s growing Latino population and shared his own immigration story.

To conclude the evening, Luis Lobo, Executive Vice President BB&T Multicultural Markets, talked about moving from Costa Rica to North Carolina, and the support BB&T is offering for DACA and DACA renewals.

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