HETS Creates Initiatives to Promote the Continuing Development of Its Memberse

Friday 07th of April 2006
HETS Creates Initiatives to Promote the Continuing Development of Its Memberse
In a continuous effort to promote the on going professional development of its members and foster increasing opportunities for distance learning in higher education, HETS has been focusing its priorities in creating distinctive professional development events tailored to the educational needs of today?s higher education institutions. Once again, HETS demonstrates its leadership in looking for educational and growth opportunities in the Distance Learning field,
As an organization dedicated to promoting the use of telecommunications and distance learning as means to facilitate higher education and support the success of Hispanic learners in distance education, HETS has acknowledged the importance of creating different tools to improve faculty and academic leaders performance in these areas. In order for distance learning and educational telecommunications to be effective, faculty and administrators need to be in complete knowledge and control, understand its significance, and be able to integrate their expertise with the specification of this modality.
Through Professional Development Events, the Consortium assists its members and individuals outside its member institutions acquire the necessary knowledge to cope with the challenges of Distance Learning and Educational Technology. This is possible with the contribution of outstanding resources and collaborators that, in connection with HETS, apply their expertise in building innovative training efforts for the educational community. Experts who have contributed with their knowledge to this important task include: Dr. Maritza Rond?n, Director of the Virtual College of the Universidad Aut?noma de Bucaramanga, in Colombia; Dr. Henry Ingle, faculty at the University of Texas El Paso; Pat Shea, research expert in Online Student Support Services and Assistant Director for Member Services of the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications (WCET); Sally M. Johnstone, is the executive director of WCET; Jos? Silvio, faculty of the Educational Technology and Distance Learning program at NOVA Southeastern University; Dr. Sarab Singh, Vice-president of Student Space ; Nalini Lamba, HSI Program Officer US Department of Education; Dr. Antonio de las Casas, Associate Vice President of Distance Learning and Technologial Development at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico; and Dr. Tom?s Sarram?a, Communications expert.
Through PDEs, HETS has opened discussion and training spaces on key issues for a successful distance learning practice, such as quality indicators in distance learning, diversity issues in online instruction, best practices in online student support services, strategies to maximize retention rates, foundations of educational models, and effective electronic communication. Subject areas for PDEs are selected based upon the needs identified among member institutions, as well as the opportunities and challenges posed by the current educational trends. During these events, participants are exposed to important theoretical approaches, based on the know-how of the experts delivering the workshops, but also to interactive sessions, practical exercises, and collaboration and networking opportunities with other colleagues.
While all the aforementioned events take place on-site, HETS also launched, with the support of other organizations such as Universia and HACU, the First Hispanic Virtual Congress on “Blending Technology, Cultural Diversity and Distance Learning in Hispanic Higher Education”, an online discussion about issues and best practices in information technology and distance/online learning, as related to Hispanic higher education, cross cultural communication, and cultural diversity. This particular event gave HETS the chance to bring to a large audience the experience of reading, learning, sharing, and discussing important experiences, best practices, and lessons learned in Hispanic-focused online education, as well as to meet exchange ideas with colleagues and renowned experts in a complete online environment.
The importance of these strategies lies in the significance of the organization?s constituencies. HETS Professional Development Events are an important means of serving our members and discovering opportunities for future collaboration, as well as the creation of initiatives within and among our member institutions.
For more information on past and future PDEs, visit HETS News and Events section at www.hets.org
By the HETS Office

HETS Reaches New Potential Audiences through First Hispanic Virtual Congress

Wednesday 23rd of November 2005
HETS Reaches New Potential Audiences through First Hispanic Virtual Congress
HETS has just made a breakthrough in the Hispanic online learning industry, bringing to a large audience the opportunity to learn, share, and discuss experiences, best practices, and lessons learned in Hispanic-focused online education through the First Hispanic Virtual Congress. The Hispanic Virtual Congress gave HETS an extraordinary chance of gathering the knowledge and experiences of people from the United States, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil, and Dominican Republic, among others.
“This initiative has opened new doors to the larger community of Latin America, where innovative online learning initiatives are constantly transforming and improving educational perspectives”, said Manuel Fernós, Chairman of the HETS Board of Directors.
As of October 31, 2005, the virtual event’s closing date, nearly 700 people had registered at the Virtual Congress. A total of 30 presentations, most of them in the area of Online Teaching and Learning, where selected among a diversity of presentations submitted. Other outstanding presentations focused on Quality and Assessment, Infrastructure and Emerging Technologies, Support Services for the Distant/Online Learners, and Institutional challenges, Policy Issues, and Collaboration Initiatives.
The two keynote conferences, delivered by Sally Johnston and Jose Silvio, contributed significantly to opening an active discussion on educational resources for college students, and quality and equitable virtual education for Hispanics. As stated in Johnstone’s conference, each day, more and more students expect their post-secondary institutions to make high quality educational materials available to them through the Internet. Open resources allow learners to create their own discoveries navigating through accessible online educational and support materials. To Jose Silvio, it is highly important that quality online education is accessible to all students, no matter their social status or limitations.
The Virtual Congress helped increase awareness about the need to adjust to the current and future trends in virtual education. Leaders at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico gathered to watch José Silvio’s presentation on “Quality, Equity, and Pertinence of Hispanic Virtual Education”, sponsored by HETS, and discussed important related issues for the institution. As informed by Dr. Migdalia Texidor, Chancellor for the Metropolitan Campus of the Inter American University, this particular conference brought up a challenge for institutions serving a student population whose native languages are Spanish and Portuguese. “We have to start looking forward to the goals, roles, and difficulties, and future of virtual education at our institutions”, added Dr. Texidor.
Other significant results of the First Hispanic Virtual Congress were the possibility of networking local, national, and international institutions, and the opportunity to expand collaborations among and beyond HETS member institutions.
For more information, visit www.hets.org, or call (787) 766-1912, extension 2221.
By Wilmarie Latorre

President of the IAUPR re-elected as HETS Board Chair in Decisive Board Meeting

Tuesday 12th of July 2005
President of the IAUPR re-elected as HETS Board Chair in Decisive Board Meeting
Manuel J. Fernós, president of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, was re-elected for one more year, as Board Chair of the Hispanic Educational Telecommunications System (HETS), during the June 2005 Board Meeting hosted by the University of Texas at Brownsville on June 21st and 22nd. This meeting also place gave to a set of important decisions for the continuation and sustainability of the HETS Consortium, including important strategic directions that will certainly be of a great benefit and advancement for its member institutions. Board officials and representatives from members in California, New York, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas, and Colombia attended this meeting and contributed with their expertise to decisions made on the future of HETS.
This Board Meeting was the first after the closeout of the Learning Anytime Anywhere Partnership (LAAP) project, a US Department of Education grant that helped HETS develop some of its most important and challenging programs and services, including the emblematic Virtual Learning and Support Plaza, a website that turned out to be a HETS trademark. The lack of funding to support the initiatives created through this grant posed the importance of deciding on ways to continue HETS efforts, without impacting negatively the benefits of its member institutions. This gave a bigger sense of urgency to this semester’s Board meeting.
Some of the most vital decisions were related to the support services offered by the Consortium to its member constituencies, including those hosted in the organization’s website. The new HETS website has integrated the Virtual Plaza as part of its services to students and faculty members in online learning and online teaching, respectively. This site will not only achieve the institutionalization of the Virtual Plaza, part of the LAAP project, but it will also support the sustainability of HETS.
HETS has been focused in the development of a website that can become a vendor for other organizations; provide products, services, and solutions to its constituencies; and be a capacity building alternative for the Consortium. This website could also facilitate collaboration through online tools for interacting, sharing, and communicating. “Right now, one of the most attractive services available in this new site is an online searchable catalog with information of all online programs available at HETS’s member institutions,” said Dr. Nitza Hernandez, HETS Executive Director.
Other important decisions included potential changes in the organizational structure of the Consortium and the opportunities envisioned to diversify the organization’s funding. HETS will keep looking forward to diversify and broaden its available funding through grant proposals, income generating activities, services, and new sponsorship opportunities. Other HETS priorities for 2005-06 include research opportunities to promote the growth of knowledge in online learning in cultural diverse communities, such as the First Hispanic Virtual Congress, to take place from October 19-31, 2005 (www.hispanicvirtualcongress.com). HETS will also keep assessing its member institutions’ needs in order to develop programs and services in the e-learning arena that comply with those existing needs within institutions, including administration, students, and faculty.
For more information about this and other HETS initiatives, contact HETS at 787-766-1912, extension 2221, or through ymontalv@inter.edu
By Wilmarie Latorre

HETS Encourages Development of Online Student Support Services

Monday 11th of April 2005
HETS Encourages Development of Online Student Support Services
SAN JUAN, PR – As part of its efforts to train faculty and administrators at member institutions to better serve the Hispanic student community, the Hispanic Educational Telecommunications System (HETS) hosted a two-day workshop on Best Practices in Online Student Support Services. This innovative workshop, facilitated by the Assistant Director of the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications (WCET), Pat Shea, brought together more than 70 college administrators from HETS institutional members in Puerto Rico, New York, Florida, and New Jersey.
The workshop took place last March 17 and 18, 2005 in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Central Office of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico and the University of the Sacred Heart. Workshop attendees included a diverse group of deans of academic affairs, deans of student affairs, distance education directors, librarians, academic advisors, counselors, IT administrators, admissions administrators, registrars, and financial aid officers.
The first day of the workshop focused on the exploration of existing institutional services and best practices. Here, participants got the chance to learn, not only about existing best practices, but also about techniques to measure performance in student services. During the second day, institutions got together, by service area and by institution, to discuss collaboration possibilities in online support services. Through performance indicators given by the workshop facilitator, participants were able to analyze their own institutional sites and envision ways of making them more attractive, interactive, and student-oriented.
As the main facilitator of the workshop stated, online student services should be designed specifically to serve student needs, while interacting with them as individuals. Web services have moved from an institutional information perspective towards considering customer needs and interests, and, then, clustering personalized and customizable services. Ideally, web services should be moving towards a completely interactive experience where students are guided through institutional processes, receive personal advising, and are engaged in proactive personalized communication.
Outstanding practices in Student Support Services among HETS member institutions include an integrated enrollment management system at the Ponce Campus of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, an online academic advising model at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, and online tutorials at Hostos Community College. Workshop participants realized that every member institution has its own weaknesses and strengths. HETS sees an open opportunity to help its members move forward, with the proper training and support, and to foster collaboration among them for the creation of shared support services.
Workshops such as this are an opportunity to keep training our constituencies in online learning. Through this type of events, HETS can get closer to its member institutions, get to know more about its needs and interests, and learn ways of helping them advance in the online student support services area&quo;, said Dr. Nitza Hernandez, HETS Executive Director. To participants, this workshop represented a way of learning how to develop better services and websites for their students.
One of HETS members’ collaborative projects, the Hispanic Online Learning Access (HOLA), has proven the power of getting institutions to work together in the creation of online support services. Six HETS member institutions from New York, Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico have jointly created a set of online learning objects designed to help students succeed in online education. These include tutorials in the areas of cooperative learning, learning styles, BlackBoard, Internet research, Word Processing, and development of information skills. This type of initiative surpasses institutional policy barriers that may arise from curricular joint initiatives. It also helps in developing products tailored to the needs of each institution’s students.
HETS efforts to promote the growth of online learning, teaching, and support initiatives in Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) will continue strengthening with the First Hispanic Virtual Congress on Blending Technology, Cultural Diversity, and Distance Learning in Higher Education, being organized for next October 2005. The goal of this Virtual Congress is to facilitate and generate an online discussion among faculty, students, researchers, and administrators who are willing to share information, ideas, and expertise about a wide range of issues on information technology and distance/online learning as they relate to Hispanic higher education and cultural diversity.
For more information about this and other HETS initiatives, contact HETS at 787-766-1912, extension 2221, or through ymontalv@inter.edu.
By Wilmarie Latorre

Primer Encuentro de Presidentes: Creando Economias de Escala para la Integracion de Nuevas Tecnologias en la Educacion

Friday 12th of May 2006
Primer Encuentro de Presidentes: Creando Economias de Escala para la Integracion de Nuevas Tecnologias en la Educacion
En la foto: Presidentes y representantes de las instituciones miembros de HETS en Puerto Rico junto a los oradores principales del Primer Encuentro de Presidentes. Agradecemos a todos los presidentes universitarios, directores de colegios privados, ejecutivos de la empresa privada y directores de organizaciones profesionales y sin fines de lucro, que dijeron presente en el Primer Encuentro de Presidentes, celebrado el pasado 10 de mayo de 2006 en San Juan, PR. El eje de este encuentro, que llevaba por tema ?Creando economías de escala para la integración de las nuevas tecnologías en la educación?, fue la exhortación a generar estrategias viables para lograr un sector académico de competencia mundial a través de la tecnología, en un escenario de retos económicos a nivel local, nacional y mundial. Así lo expresaron en sus mensajes el Lcdo. Manuel J. Fernós, presidente de la Universidad Interamericana y de la Junta de Directores del Consorcio HETS, y el Dr. José Jaime Rivera, presidente de la Universidad del Sagrado Corazón y también miembro de Junta de dicha organización.
Los oradores principales de la noche fueron Rafael Pérez Colón, gerente regional para Relaciones con Instituciones Multilaterales de Microsoft para América Latina y el Caribe, Lueny Morell, directora de Relaciones Universitarias para Latinoamérica de Hewlett Packard, e Ivonne Díaz-Claisse, presidenta nacional de HISPA, organización afiliada a AT&T que apoya el progreso de jóvenes y profesionales hispanos en el a través de mentoría y otros recursos necesarios. Los tres empresarios compartieron modelos reales de experiencias colaborativas entre la academia y el mundo corporativo en los que la educación y la integración de nuevas tecnologías se convierten en vehículos de transformación social. A su vez, instaron a los participantes a unir esfuerzos para identificar soluciones a problemas comunes entre las diversas organizaciones presentes.
Este evento intersectorial logró hacer hincapié en la importancia de las alianzas para lograr que la educación superior sea un agente clave en la transformación social, considerando la proliferación y la efectividad de nuevas tecnologías y el acceso a la información, así como los cambios en la economía local y mundial. Fotos de la actividad están disponibles en el Photo Gallery.
Haga clic en el enlace para descargar la: presentacion Lueny Morell.
By the HETS Office

Board Appoints New Executive Director to Take on the HETS Future

Friday 20th of January 2006
Board Appoints New Executive Director to Take on the HETS Future
After discussing the most relevant issues for the first semester of 2006, during its January meeting, the HETS Board of Directors appointed a new Executive Director to lead the organization in its next steps, which will be a key to the future, success, and sustainability of the organization. The new Director of the Consortium, Mrs. Yubelkys Montalvo, will take on the challenge to guide the organization towards a self-sustainability model and continue the implementation of targeted services and programs for all members and the educational community, in general.
Following her contribution to the organization as the Executive Assistant to the Director and Public Relations Specialist for seven years, Mrs. Montalvo served as the Interim Director for a five-month term. As an expert in member relations, project management, administration, communications, and event coordination, the recently appointed Executive Director is expected to take on the new opportunities and challenges awaiting HETS throughout the next years.
As resulted from this past January 12 and 13 HETS Board Meeting, held at the Central Office of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Montalvo’s job will focus on bringing sustainability and economic growth to the Consortium and diversifying member benefits, as it expands its membership, creates new services, and proposes new educational technology options for its constituencies. Strategies to be implemented will also open new doors towards the enhancement of the organization’s image and strengthen its mission.
The Board Meeting turned out to be an opportunity to review the Consortium’s accomplishments during the last semester and to look ahead towards the possibilities for the next years. Based on current audience needs and market trends, the Board of Directors, presided by Manuel J. Fernós, made relevant decisions regarding HETS target audiences, strategies for sustainable growth, organizational roles, and the need for membership diversification, among others. Particularly outstanding was the fact that HETS will be giving participation to new types of organizational affiliates, corporate collaborators, and individuals interested in helping the organization achieve its mission.
HETS’s year 2006 will be characterized by a variety of educational and networking events. These events will range from professional development workshops and outreach activities to thematic roundtables, business receptions, and a second annual virtual congress.
For more information on HETS events, services, and member opportunities, visit www.hets.org, or call (787) 766-1912, extension 2221.
By Wilmarie Latorre

A Semester Full of Changes for HETS

Sunday 23rd of October 2005
A Semester Full of Changes for HETS
The Hispanic Educational Telecommunications System has undergone several important changes through this semester, starting with the departing of its seven year-long Executive Director, Dr. Nitza Hernández. Dr. Hernández decided to take on a new professional challenge, accepting a new position as Director of the Graduate School of Sciences and Technology at the University of Puerto Rico.
Her expertise with HETS has led her to a position in which she will be able to keep impacting Puerto Rican graduate students. For more information, access http://egcti.upr.edu/noticias_egcti/noticias.html
In order to keep on track with all the Consortium’s priorities for this semester, the HETS Executive Committee designated Yubelkys Montalvo as the Interim Executive Director. Mrs. Montalvo had been performing as the HETS Executive Assistant and Public Relations Specialist for seven years, demonstrating to be a leader in member relations, project management, event coordination, administration, and communications. Strategically well-prepared, Montalvo not only has followed up thoroughly on all pending projects, but has also taken on new opportunities of great benefit to the Consortium and its stakeholders.
Throughout the rest of the year, HETS will be focusing on diverse important strategies that will keep the Consortium up and running, as well as open new doors towards the enhancement of its image and the strengthening of its mission. The First Hispanic Virtual Congress, the enhancement of the HETS website, fundraising strategies for the sustainability of HETS, membership outreach campaign, and the growth of internal communication initiatives are some of the most important efforts to be implemented over the following months. This last strategy includes the launching of the Consortium’s first members-only newsletter: The HETS Connection.
In the meantime, the Executive Committee has selected a Search Committee to look for potential candidates to fill up the position. This Search Committee will be in charge of evaluating the candidates and making recommendations to the Board of Directors. A new Executive Director is expected to be selected during the January 2006 Board Meeting, to take place in San Germán, Puerto Rico.
Other administrative changes include the transfer of HETS’s fiscal account, as a direct result of last June’s Board elections process. HETS funds will be administered by the Ana G. Méndez University System, member institution of the appointed Treasurer of the Board of Directors and President of the institution, Mr. José F. Méndez.
For more information on these and other news, as well as other HETS projects and initiatives, access www.hets.org, or call (787) 766-1912, extension 2221.
By Wilmarie Latorre

First Hispanic Virtual Congress to Convene Online in October, Featuring Latest Education Technology

Tuesday 07th of June 2005
First Hispanic Virtual Congress to Convene Online in October, Featuring Latest Education Technology
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Higher education and technology leaders from throughout the world will convene the 1st Hispanic Virtual Congress, “Blending Technology, Cultural Diversity and Distance Learning for Hispanic Higher Education,” October 19-31, 2005.
” For the first time, the leadership of colleges and universities throughout the Spanish-speaking world will have an opportunity to meet simultaneously with information technology leaders and innovators in a live, bilingual setting to address Hispanic higher education needs,” said Nitza Hernández, Executive Director of the Hispanic Educational Telecommunications System (HETS) and a Hispanic Virtual Congress organizer.
” This forum will provide an extraordinary opportunity to learn about the best expertise and latest research on emerging education technologies, which can prove a powerful catalyst to help bring higher education success to every diverse learning community,” Hernández said. ” Together, we can overcome traditional barriers of time, income, language and geography through the wide reach of the Internet with technology-driven initiatives that also embrace cultural diversity.”
To maximize attendance, registration will be free for participants who register at the 1st Hispanic Virtual Congress Web site at www.HispanicVirtualCongress.com to access daily forums, reports, speeches, presentations and live chats in English and Spanish. Reports and findings will become a public archive stored permanently as a Web site repository for continued access. The deadline for submitting proposals to present at the Virtual Congress is September 15, 2005. Sponsorship information also is available at the event Web site.
Hernández said the sheer numbers and reach of the partner organizations in the inaugural Hispanic Virtual Congress will ensure wide participation. HETS, the world’s first bilingual distance learning consortium, is coordinating the 1st Hispanic Virtual Congress in partnership with the bilingual Internet expertise of Universia Puerto Rico (UNIVERSIA.PR) and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). HACU represents more than 400 Hispanic-serving colleges and universities in the United States, Latin America and Spain. Universia represents a network of more than 800 universities around the world.
Other 1st Hispanic Virtual Congress partners are:
  • The Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration (CONAHEC), a leader in model cross-border research and higher education partnership initiatives involving Canada, Mexico and the United States;
  • The Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications (WCET), which promotes the use of best educational technologies for its member learning communities, nonprofit organizations and corporations in the United States and abroad.
  • The Inter-American Distance Education Consortium, or Consorcio-red de Educación a Distancia (CREAD), a leader in cost-effective educational technology and distance education partnerships and other initiatives throughout the Americas.
Among featured speakers will be WCET Executive Director Sally M. Johnstone and Jose Silvio, the former general program coordinator for UNESCO’s International Institute of Higher Education for Latin America and the Caribbean. Silvio now is a faculty member in the Educational Technology and Distance Learning Program of the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University in Florida – home base to CREAD. Additional speakers will be announced at the Virtual Congress Web site in coming weeks.
“The Congress is a unique opportunity to share knowledge with a global community interested in the emerging trends in information technology, distance learning and online pedagogy, but with a special focus on issues of access, retention and academic success of Hispanics,” said Universia.pr Managing Director, Graham A. Castillo Pagán.
Hernández said recent studies report that online learning will be a critical factor in higher education strategies in coming years, with nearly 2 million students already studying online in the United States.
In the United States, she said, online learning strategies must address both the digital divide between minority and non-minority populations in terms of access to the Internet, as well as how to best use emerging education technologies to address historically low Hispanic high school and college graduation rates.
“As the youngest, largest and fastest-growing segment of the American population, Hispanics are destined to play a key role in U.S. culture and the economy,” said HACU President Antonio R. Flores.
“Barriers to higher education access and to the optimal use of educational technologies pose challenges to Hispanic achievement,” Flores said. ” This conference will bring our best wisdom to bear on these issues.”
For more information, visit www.HispanicVirtualCongress.com
By Yubelkys Montalvo

Exhibit on Latino Achievement Opens at Universidad del Sagrado Corazon

Friday 08th of April 2005
Exhibit on Latino Achievement Opens at Universidad del Sagrado Corazon
Universidad del Sagrado Corazon April 7, 2005
Cultural antrophologist Ricardo Alegría, Puerto Rican historian Teodoro Vidal, plastic artist Pepón Osorio, physician Antonia Novello and artist Chita Rivera are five Puertorricans among the distinguished latinos like Ellen Ochoa, Rebecca Lobo and labor leader Dolores Huerta, included in the photographic exhibition “Nuestros Caminos/Nuestras Historias: Retratos del Logro Latino” that will open April 7, and continues through June 25, in Sala de las Artes at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón.

“Nuestros Caminos/Nuestras Historias: Retratos del Logro Latino” presents narratives of 25 individuals and one extended family that tell a much larger story about the influences—from family members to public figures-that made them who they are today. The exhibition was developed by the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives and organized like itinerant by the Servicio de Exposiciones Itinerantes de Smithsonian Institution. The exhibition, its national tour and related programs are made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund.
“This exhibition is an anthology of compelling biographical portraits that evoke the depth and breadth of Latino contributions to American society,” says Luben Montoya, interim director of the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives. “There will be well-known names in the exhibit as well as people who may not be as famous, but whose inspirational stories need to be told.”
Among the exhibition’s portraits are composer and orchestra director Tania León, public servant Alfred Rascon and Dr. Juan Romagoza. A biographical narrative that includes excerpts from recent oral history interviews complements their portraits. For example, the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Mario Molina tells how he became fascinated with science. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson describes the event that led him to pursue a life of public service.
The exhibition includes personal stories, photos, oral histories and dichos, or traditional sayings. The influential dichos pass knowledge, experience and values down through the generations. They include such sayings as ?Sí, se puede! (We can do it!); Si no sabes de dónde vienes, no sabes a dónde irás (If you don’t know where you are coming from, you don’t know where you are going); Si vale la pena hacerlo, vale la pena hacerlo bien (If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing it well); and El que algo quiere, algo le cuesta (No pain, no gain).
“These stories celebrate what’s at the heart of so many Latino success stories-a desire to achieve and make a difference,” said Sandra Ulsh, president of Ford Motor Company Fund. “Visitors to this Smithsonian exhibit will have the opportunity to learn about Latinos who have made varying but very important contributions to the American fabric.”
A seven-member advisory committee that included historians, curators and people known for their work in the U.S. Latino community, selected the men and women featured in the exhibition. Their stories combine to provide an inspirational, illustrated anthology of Latino accomplishments across generations.
Ricardo Viera, a consultant on Latino and Caribbean contemporary art and photography, challenged three of today’s most exciting photographers to create the 25 portraits. Through color photographs, Celia Alvarez Muñoz, Héctor Méndez-Caratini and Luis Mallo reveal their subjects’ character within the context of his or her own “place.”
Nicolás Kanellos, the Brown Foundation Professor of Hispanic Literature at the University of Houston and director of a national Hispanic literary research program, wrote the exhibit’s introduction. Kanellos also is founding publisher of the journal The Americas Review and of the publishing company Arte Público Press.
“This exhibition is more than a collection of individual photos and stories, more than a gallery of heroes and heroines, past and present. It is a collective narrative of the multiple ways we have succeeded by contributing to our communities, to the nation, to mankind,” Kanellos says. “They inspire all of us to pursue excellence, not for fame or recognition, but moved by our desire, as Latinos and as Americans, to leave this world a better place than we found it.”
The mission of the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives is to foster understanding and appreciation of Latino history and culture using the vast resources of the Smithsonian’s collections, research and public programs, both in Washington and across the United States.
The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history, which are shown wherever people live, work, and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at www.sites.si.edu
By Wilmarie Latorre

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