National Hispanic Institute Hosts Texas Great Debate
The National Hispanic Institute arrives at Austin College this week to host its annual Texas Great Debate. The event, now in its 26th year at Austin College, will bring nearly 300 young people from across Texas to campus June 9 through 12.
The National Hispanic Institute has an ongoing mission to educate the next generation of Latino leaders. The Texas Great Debate is NHI’s annual rite-of-passage event for top-performing Latino high school students in Texas between their freshman and sophomore years of high school. The event involves teams representing Austin, Dallas, Houston, the Rio Grande Valley, and Tip of Texas (Brownsville region). The teams go through several months of debate preparation prior to their arrival at Austin College.
The Great Debate is the first program within a three-part series called the School for Community Social Entrepreneurship, designed by NHI for high school students with the potential to become leaders within the U.S. and global Latino communities.
NHI says that while there is a higher education focus, the group seeks to show college as only one step toward principled leadership thinking about the Latino community—from the perspective of what the community can offer, not what problems within it need to be fixed. It’s a forward-looking leadership program that NHI president and founder Ernesto Nieto characterizes as “looking into the future.”
“We’re looking at preparation for global leadership, throughout the Americas, that factors in what we’ll need in 20 or 30 years, not just today,” he said.
The program utilizes what NHI terms “immersive-disruptive learning,” a self-directed, student-centered learning method that encourages critical thinking and challenges societal assumptions and conventions.
“Our programs do more than teach students to be better public speakers, practice public policy, and prepare for college,” said Nieto. “Our programs equip young people with the skills and competencies they need to critically assess their operating beliefs and outlooks, to make strategic changes in the mental models they use to make critical decisions about themselves, and to develop the insight and capacities to change themselves from within.”
“This enables them to exercise greater control over the outcomes they most desire in furthering their personal development, their readiness to lead healthy economic social and economic lives, and capacities to play key roles as leaders in the communities where they live,” Nieto said.
Though the evolving series will soon add a program for incoming freshmen as well as one for college students, the Great Debate introduces students to core NHI concepts as well as helping them to develop public speaking and teamwork skills.
See an overview of the Great Debate topics for 2016.
Find more information about NHI, its programs, and its new path for developing leaders.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 36 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of 1,250 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 12:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.