SUNY Orange Sponsors Events on Oct. 17 and 24 as Part of “Global Initiative: Latin America”

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – As one of the marquis events in SUNY Orange’s year-long “Global Initiative: Latin America,” the College will host lecturers from Princeton University, New York University and the Worker’s Rights Law Center to discuss the migration of Latin American and Caribbean immigrants into the Hudson Valley during a pair of panel workshops in October.

Keynote speaker Dr. Margarita Cervantes-Rodriguez, a professor of international migration at Princeton and a research scholar for the Center of Migration and Development, will headline the workshops, scheduled for 7:15 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 17 on the College’s Middletown campus and 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the Newburgh Extension Center. The Middletown event will be held in Room 207 of the Bio-Tech Building while the Newburgh workshop will be in Room 221 of the Tower Building (formerly the Key Bank Building) at 1 Washington Center.

PHOTO: Global Initiative logoEach of the panelists will deliver a brief presentation before opening the event to questions and discussion topics from the audience. SUNY Orange professor Dr. Jean Carlos Cowan organized the panel and will serve as moderator. Cervantes-Rodriguez will discuss “The Transnational and Global Dimensions of Migration and How They Impact Our Communities.”

Joining Cervantes-Rodriguez will be Patricia Moreno, a professor of medical interpretation at NYU and an English professor at City College of New York, who will talk on “The Impact of Immigration on Health and Social Services: Language Access and Mental Health.” Daniel Werner, legal director of the Worker’s Rights Law Center located in Kingston, and Diana Vazquez, a paralegal at the Center, will discuss “Exploring Law and Immigration: The New Immigration Laws, Guest Worker Program, and Immigration and National Security.”

“We’ve acquired some dynamic speakers who will address key topics, but we are most excited about the opportunity for community members to bring their experiences to the discussion,” says Paul Basinski, SUNY Orange global studies professor and chair of the College’s Global Initiative: Latin America. “We fully expect this event to foster frank and interesting discussion regarding the issues facing not just Latin Americans in Orange County, but residents from all ethnic groups within the Hudson Valley.

“Orange County is becoming a melting pot of ethnic diversity, symbolic of the true international society in which we live today, and that has required many of us to re-examine how we operate, from human services and healthcare organizations to education and employment providers, and beyond,” Basinski adds.

For much of her career, Cervantes-Rodriguez’s research has focused on international migration and transnationalism. Her migration research includes the migration impact on sending and receiving societies; the incorporation of immigrants in labor and housing markets (occupational and residential segregation and occupational mobility); undocumented migration; refugees, repatriation programs; reintegration of qualified Latin American nationals into their countries of origin; adaptation of return migrants; guest worker programs; economic citizenship programs; ethnic economies, women and children as migrants; second generation; immigrants’ rights; social policy for immigrants; and migration as a foreign policy instrument.

Earlier this year, Moreno received NYU’s “Award for Outstanding Service.” She has been teaching within the university’s Department of Foreign Languages, Translation, and Interpreting since 2004, having joined the staff as an adjunct professor just after NYU established its medical interpreting certificate program. The college’s medical interpreting program is considered the most comprehensive offered in New York City and includes 160 hours of instruction and an internship.

Moreno also serves as a Spanish language interpreter for several major hospitals in New York City.

Werner co-founded the WRLC after six years as an attorney with Farmworker Legal Services of New York, Inc. Before he began representing farm workers in New York, he received a NAPIL (now called Equal Justice Works) Equal Justice Fellowship to represent citrus harvest workers in Florida. In total, Werner has been a farm worker advocate in six states, including with the United Farm Workers in California. He is a 1996 graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Law.

Vazquez, raised in Newburgh, began working with the WRLC in 2006. During high school, she worked in a local factory and is intimately familiar with the issues impacting low-wage workers in the region. In 2002, she attended the AFL-CIO Union Summer, where she helped to organize grocery store workers in New York City. She was also a member of the Youth Resources Development Corporation Americorps at the Rural & Migrant Ministry in Poughkeepsie. Vazquez is a 2006 graduate of Bard College.

The College’s Global Initiative is a yearlong focus on Latin American culture, heritage, geography, art, music, language and much more. Spearheaded by SUNY Orange’s new Global Studies Department, this debut Global Initiative project is designed to integrate all elements of Latin American culture into the College’s curriculum while also involving students, faculty, staff and community members in discussions, lectures, workshops and other special events.

A number of the College’s academic departments have incorporated Latin American-based courses into their programs, while a robust schedule of events throughout the academic year includes an array of Latino lecturers invited to speak to both students and county residents, along with concerts, art exhibits and plays by Latino artists that will be performed by the College’s Arts and Communication Department. Many other events are being planned and will be announced as they are scheduled.

For more information on “Global Initiative: Latin America” contact SUNY Orange at (845) 341-4983 or visit

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940