Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Pavilion
Bernardo Ramirez, Executive Director, Hispanic Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City
Bob Montgomery, Executive Director, International Rescue Committee in San Diego
Patience Lehrman, Director of Project SHINE, Temple University Intergenerational Center
José Ramón Fernández-Peña, Founder and Director, Welcome Back Initiative
M. Andy Chaves, Corporate Senior Manager, Marriott International, Inc.
Brenda Dann-Messier, Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education
Felicia Escobar, Senior Policy Advisor for Immigration, the White House Domestic Policy Council
Sean Greene, Associate Administrator for Investment and Special Advisor for Innovation, U.S. Small Business Administration
Eskinder Negash, Director, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), U.S. Department of Health and Human Service
The successful integration of immigrants and their children is an issue in which all levels of government, the general public, and, of course, immigrants themselves have an enormous stake. Twenty-seven million immigrants and their children have joined communities across the United States since 1990. During that time thousands of institutions--government, community, and business--have created an array of initiatives to assist this generation of immigrants in their journey to become Americans.
On May 18th, MPI hosted a very important and timely conversation about how U.S. immigrant integration efforts are faring, and a reception honoring the 2011 recipients of the E Pluribus Unum Prizes, our national awards program for exceptional immigrant integration initiatives. The first panel focused on the programs chosen as the awardees of the 2011 E Pluribus Unum Prizes and included an examination of the issues and best practices in refugee resettlement, adult literacy/ESL instruction, immigrant entrepreneurship and its role in revitalizing cities, workforce services for both high- and low-skilled immigrants, and working with older immigrants and refugees. The second panel, included senior representatives from a range of federal agencies, and discussed the federal role in immigrant integration policy and programs. Challenges and opportunities in the specific fields in which the awardees are working were addressed, as well as broader policy, coordination, and funding issues that face those seeking to promote and support immigrant integration efforts at the federal, state, and local levels. Following the panel discussions and reception, the four E Pluribus Unum winners were announced and awarded with a $50,000 prize. A Corporate Leadership Award will also be bestowed. The national prizes program honors exemplary immigrant integration initiatives and seeks to inspire and provide models to others who are working to help immigrants and their children join the mainstream of U.S. society and build stronger ties between immigrant and native-born communities.