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Puerto Rico Summit

DATE: Saturday, October 12, 2019

TIME: 8:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

LOCATION: PeoplesBank Conference Room, Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development

Daylong national conference at HCC focuses on Puerto Rican diaspora in New England

Carlos Santiago speaks at HCC in 2018.

Carlos Santiago, Mass. commissioner of Higher Education, will be the keynote speaker at a daylong national summit at Holyoke Community College on Sat., Oct. 12, exploring the impact of Hurricane Maria evacuees on the Puerto Rican population of New England.

The "Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans New England Diaspora Summit" is organized by Enlace de Familias in Holyoke and Centro - the Center for Puerto Rican Studies - at Hunter College in New York City.

The summit will run from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the PeoplesBank Conference Room on the third floor of the Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development on HCC's main campus at 303 Homestead Ave.

The summit will include talks, panel discussions and breakout sessions on a wide variety of subjects, featuring academics, researchers, economists and other experts in their fields from as far away as Puerto Rico.

Santiago's talk will begin at 1:45 p.m.

HCC alumna Karianne A. Santiago-Ruiz '17, now a student at UMass Amherst and the New England Regional Liaison for the National Puerto Rican Student Coalition, will moderate a panel discussion on "Youth and Millennials" at 11:30 a.m.

Other local panelists include: Ruben Flores-Marzan, director of Planning and Community Development in Ware; Marcos Marrero, director of Planning and Economic Development in Holyoke; Vimarit Davila, supervisor, River Valley Counseling, Holyoke; Heyda Martinez, director for Institute for Maximizing Student Development, UMass Amherst; Adam Gomez, city councilor, Springfield; Zulmalee Rivera, organizer, Neighbor 2 Neighbor Massachusetts, Springfield; Victoria Ann Rodriguez, chair, Springfield Puerto Rican Parade.

The event is free, open to all and lunch will be provided.

For a full list of programs, panelists and speakers, please go to the New England Summit 2019 webpage.

8:30 a.m. - Registration
9:00 a.m. - Welcome Remarks: Christina Royal, president, Holyoke Community College; Betty Medina Lichtenstein, executive director, Enlace de Familias; Carlos Varas Ramos, master of ceremony, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College
9:20 a.m. - "State of Puerto Ricans in the United States" - Edwin Melendez, director, Center for Puerto Rican Studies
10:00 a.m. - Plenary Session: "Puerto Rico's Political and Financial Crises. What's Next? Corruption, Transparency, Accountability and Good Governance." Moderator: Gretchen Sierra-Zorita, Public Policy and Communications strategist, Washington, DC.
11:15 a.m. - Break
11:30 a.m. - Concurrent Panels: "Youth and Millenials," "Economy, Planning and Social Entrepreneurship," "Health, Mental Health and the Medicaid Financial Cliff."
12:45 p.m. - Lunch, Campus Center dining room
1:45 p.m. - Keynote Speaker: Carlos Santiago, commissioner of Higher Education, Mass. Dept. of Higher Education
2:15 p.m. - Plenary Session: "Puerto Rico Solidarity and Engagement." Moderator: Joe Rodriguez, deputy state director, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Hartford, Conn.

3:30 p.m. - Break

3:45 p.m. - Concurrent Panels: "National Puerto Rican Student Coalition," "Models for Local Engagement and Empowerment," "Stateside Impact of Hurricane Maria Evacuees."

5:00 p.m. - Break

5:15 p.m. - Closing Plenary Session

5:45 p.m. - Reception

PHOTO of Carlos Santiago by CHRIS YURKO