The Latino Center for Leadership Development will provide SMU’s Tower Center with $900,000 over five years.
(Featured image is Jorge Baldor, founder of the LCLD)
– SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies
announced today that it has formed a strategic academic partnership with the Latino Center for Leadership Development (Latino CLD)
. The new Latino CLD-SMU Tower Center Policy Institute will identify and implement policy-focused solutions to the Latino community’s most pressing concerns, from educational and economic opportunities, to voting rights and immigration reform, to the under-representation of Latinos in elected and appointed roles, as well as corporate boards, at the federal, state and local levels.
As part of this unique partnership, the Latino CLD will provide SMU’s Tower Center with $900,000 over five years. The private funding will allow the new policy institute to attract and engage scholars and thought leaders in an interdisciplinary think-tank, create a framework to analyze and develop policy priorities and provide public forums and outreach supporting greater understanding and influence for and about the Latino community.
“America is in the midst of a fundamental, Latino-driven demographic shift,” said Latino CLD founder and SMU alumnus Jorge Baldor. He cited Pew Research Center reports showing that Latinos are expected to represent more than 30 percent of the U.S. population by 2050, adding, “With the growing number of Latinos comes a reciprocal responsibility to lead. Latino CLD is focused on developing the next generation of those leaders.”
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings added, “I’m pleased that the Latino Center for Leadership Development and Southern Methodist University are joining forces to form a premier Latino Policy Institute in the City of Dallas. The research produced by the Policy Institute will serve as an asset for policy makers and will allow for in-depth analysis and the creation of policies which will improve the lives of individuals in communities across Texas and ultimately throughout the nation.”
The policy institute at SMU will work in three major areas:
- Provide influential voices and data to support research on policy issues
- Offer two-year appointments for postdoctoral scholars who will research and publish their findings on public policy issues
- Provide research grants and public seminars to promote stronger community understanding and dialogue about key societal issues
The relationship between the new SMU policy institute and Latino CLD
also will allow promising leaders, such as those within the Latino CLD’s new Leadership Academy, “to develop as individuals and hone network skills necessary to assume positions of influence with a focus on policy and politics to help people from all spectrums of society,” Baldor
Miguel Solis, President of the Latino CLD added, “The research produced by the Institute is only step one. We will be vigilant in taking the research produced and turning that into actionable items. The Policy Institute will help to identify issues, educate the public, and offer solutions.”
“The Latino CLD-SMU Tower Center Policy Institute will provide an excellent opportunity to combine our expertise to focus on contemporary policy matters of particular interest to the diverse, growing Latino community in the U.S.,” said Joshua Rovner, Director of Studies at the Tower Center, which is housed within SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences.
“As a hub for social-scientific issues, we will play a major role in cutting through the cacophony of numbers relatedto the Latino community, allowing us to take big issues and quickly drill down to ideas for thoughtful solutions and policy implementation,” Rovner
John Tower U.S. Senator, Texas, 1961-1985, initially elected to the Senate to fill the vacancy left by LBJ when he became Vice President.
The announcement of the new policy institute follows on the heels of the Tower Center’s Sept. 8 launch of its new Texas-Mexico Program during Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s historic visit to Mexico.
“SMU is becoming a major presence in Latino-focused research and education,” said Thomas DiPiero, Dean of Dedman College
. It’s also a propitious moment to bring new expertise and scholarship to bear both nationally and locally, he notes, adding that the Dallas-Fort Worth region is the fourth-largest population center in the U.S. with 7 million people – and growing rapidly.
“Looking ahead, the successful implementation of this institute will allow SMU and the Latino CLD to contribute vital public policy research while based in DFW, a U.S. political and economic center of gravity with strong global connections,” DiPiero said.
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SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls approximately 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.
In the spirit of John Tower’s commitment to educate and inspire a new generation of thoughtful leaders, the Tower Center seeks to bridge the gap between the world of ideas, scholarship and teaching, and the practice of politics. The primary mission of the Tower Center is to promote the study of politics and international affairs and to stimulate an interest in ethical public service among undergraduates. The Tower Center is an academic center where all parties and views are heard in a marketplace of ideas, and the Center will pursue its mission in a non-partisan manner.
Latino CLD is a privately funded foundation with a vision of developing future leaders with an understanding of Latino-focused policies and actionable items for solutions that result from relationships like with the Latino CLD – SMU Tower Center Policy Institute.
The three pillars of Latino CLD are an annual Leadership Academy bringing national future leaders together, a Policy Institute and ongoing Strategic Initiatives to address critical current topics, as with KeepHB1403.com that led bi-partisan efforts to preserve in-state tuition at Texas universities for all Texas residents.