NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization, in collaboration with the National Hispana Leadership Institute and The David Project, is launching the Building Latino-Jewish Bridges on Campus Program. This pioneering initiative, generously supported by the Bay Area-based MZ Foundation, aims to establish enduring relations between Hispanic and Jewish students.
“This is the first time national organizations are joining to convene Latino and Jewish student leaders to create a coalition on campus in support of mutual interests,” said Dina Siegel Vann, Director of AJC’s Latino and Latin American Institute.
For its inaugural year, the program will include 24 Latina and Jewish students from Boston University; University of California, Irvine; and University of Texas, Austin.
Latina students will be selected by the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI), a non-governmental organization that works to develop young Hispanas as ethical leaders through training and professional development. Jewish students will be selected by The David Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring strong voices for Israel on campus.
All participating students will first come to Washington, D.C., in June for an intensive weekend to learn together about their communities’ histories and priorities. “The orientation program is an excellent venue for students to foster mutual understanding and become aware of the strong case for Latino-Jewish cooperation,” said NHLI President Cristina Lopez. Students also will meet with Jewish and Hispanic members of Congress as well as other prominent leaders from both communities.
Immediately following the Washington weekend, the students will travel to Israel for a weeklong seminar organized by AJC’s Project Interchange, an educational institute that regularly brings opinion leaders and policymakers to Israel for first-hand exposure to various issues facing Israeli society. The PI program will include themes that strongly resonate in the U.S. Latino experience, such as immigration and integration.
“The Latino and Jewish communities in the United States share the experience of immigration from many nations, strong family ties, and a drive to help the next generation succeed no matter the cost,” said PI Executive Director Sam Witkin. “This program will help build a sense of understanding and commonality between these two important communities.”
For the Fall semester, the students will develop collaborative programs on their campuses to deepen relations between the two communities. “We hope students will come up with creative activities to mobilize their Jewish and Latino campus peers to further the building of a common Latino-Jewish agenda,” said David Bernstein, Executive Director of The David Project.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee