Student Hispanic groups from throughout the Midwest will converge in Columbia on Saturday for the annual conference of the Hispanic American Leadership Organization.
“Hispanics in the Community: Looking Ahead to the Future” will begin with a welcome from MU Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton.
“There will be guest speakers and eight workshops on issues pertaining to the Hispanic community, issues like Hispanics in the media, advocacy in the community, fundraising and Hispanics in government,” said David Combs, president of the MU branch of the Hispanic American Leadership Organization.
Leo Prieto, former regional director of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute in Kansas City, will be the keynote speaker. Prieto is also a former public policy fellow for the Congressional Hispanic Policy Institute.
During the luncheon, he will discuss the influence of Hispanics in the community and the impact they have had both in the Midwest and in the nation as a whole.
Prieto, born in Mexico and raised in Kansas, is a graduate of Kansas State University and has been active in serving the Hispanic community since he was young. He is in his third year of law school at the University of Kansas.
It has been at least 10 years since the last conference was held at MU; last year, it was at KU.
The organization is dedicated to “providing a cultural and social environment, which aids in increasing awareness of the Hispanic community on the university’s campus,” according to its mission statement.
The organization at MU was founded around 1990 and has about 20 to 25 active members.
“It’s quite an honor to have all of these speakers coming here to discuss all of these issues that pertain to the Hispanic community,” Combs said. “It would be great to have a lot of people come out and learn about them.”