Organization inspiring top Latino high school students to become civic-minded leaders launches largest slate of immersive programs since COVID-19 pandemic started
Continuing on its mission to bring immersive, in-person leadership education experiences to top Latino high school students to develop the next generations of Latino leaders, the National Hispanic Institute is holding its flagship Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session to Sherman, Texas, and Austin College this week, July 10 to July 17.
The Texas LDZ brings together 150 students, primarily from Texas, but also from Oklahoma, Mexico and Panama, in a program celebrating its 40th year, maintaining its innovative approach to public policy education with wide-ranging applications and community building among its high school participants.
NHI established its flagship LDZ program in 1983, initially serving students in Texas via a program that met in the Texas State Capitol. Over the course of the eight-day program, students embark upon both an individualized and collaborative leadership journey, forming political parties, running for offices, and crafting and debating legislation in an extended mock legislative session that has proven transformative for its alumni. Through the mock legislative session model, participants gain a greater understanding of living and working within a democracy.
Two members of Congress and numerous other state and local government officials have graduated from NHI programs. The more than 100,000 alumni who have graduated from NHI programs also have emerged in civic leadership roles from a range of professional categories, including entrepreneurship, medicine, education, and business.
“The LDZ is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students to embark on a full eight-day immersive experience on a college campus,” notes Nicole Nieto, NHI’s executive vice president. “While they learn to communicate, negotiate and persuade, they also contemplate core philosophies of NHI that emphasize bettering communities through utilizing the assets and talents individual members bring to the table, and leading in a way that develops and grows those assets even further.”
2022 will return the largest slate of summer programs for NHI since 2019; the non-profit organization met the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic through launching online versions of its three summer leadership programs, but will return to almost exclusively in-person programs this summer.
In addition to the Texas LDZ, NHI will host three other in-person, on-campus LDZ programs plus a digital version (branded as the LDZx), along with five Great Debate programs (which introduce students to NHI concepts as well as public speaking) and two Collegiate World Series programs (which introduce students to Inquiry-Based Learning as well as helping them prepare for the college application process).
For more information on NHI and its programs, visit https://www.nationalhispanicinstitute.org/.