2011 Annual Leadership Summit

2011. The DANR elects Dr. María Teresa Montilla as its eighth President. The DANR undertakes the Dominican American Redistricting Project (DA-R) to engage the Dominican communities in the United States in the Redistricting-Appropriation Process to achieve adequate political  representation. The Project provides education and technical assistance to the Dominican American leadership and partners with other organizations to guarantee a fair redistricting process. Ultimately, DA-R will ensure that new legislative maps reflect our population’s growth at the municipal, state, and federal levels.

Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR) & its National Dominican American Council (NDAC) 

Many Congratulate DANR and the National Dominican American Council on a Hugely Successful Leadership Summit 

 Dozens of new local council members sworn in at the DANR 14th Annual National Leadership Summit in the Bronx 

Washington, DC (October 12, 2011). Under perfect weather conditions and perfect location at the beautiful campus of Lehman College of The City University of New York in the Bronx, the Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR) and The National Dominican American Council (NDAC) held the 14 Annual National Leadership Summit from Friday, October 7, 2011, to Saturday, October 8, 2011.

With the theme “Our Advancement in Education, Economic Development and Community Empowerment: Paving the WAY,” the Summit kicked off on the morning of Friday, October 7, with a retreat of the DANR National Board of Directors.

Supporters, friends, and members congratulate DANR and the National Dominican American Council on a hugely successful National Leadership Summit.

“Congratulations to Dr. Maria Teresa Montilla, Chairman Nestor Montilla, and the DANR team, for putting together such an interesting as well as important conference,” said via e-mail Brigitte S. Perez, Director of Annual Fund, Office of Institutional Advancement of Mercy College, and new local council member of the National Dominican American Council (NDAC).

“Congratulations on a very successful event,” said Dr. Lilian Bobea, Sociologist, author, and expert in the field of security and defense.  “I was very impressed not only by DANR’s convening power but also by the high quality of the presenters and high level of participants’ interest.”

“The Summit provided a great platform for thought-provoking conversations and networking. I congratulate you on a terrific event,” said via e-mail Julissa Bonfante, Director of Business Development of VOXXI, a multimedia platform with quality insight, blogs, and analysis on news and information relevant to the multicultural and bilingual Hispanic market (http://voxxi.tumblr.com/). She flew from Miami to New York City to attend the Summit.

“Our National Board of Directors was very inspired to attend the Summit,” said DANR President Maria Teresa Montilla. “We all enjoyed thought-provoking forums addressing issues about the socio-economic and political development of our communities. On behalf of our National Board and members, I look forward to receiving your feedback. Please share your comments and suggestions by sending us an e-mail via info@danr.org.”

The Summit held a VIP Welcome Reception attended by His Excellency Raul H. Yzaguirre, Unit-ed States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic and sponsors, DANR members, students, and friends, supporters, and dignitaries. 

The elected officials, dignitaries and leaders who welcomed Ambassador Yzaguirre in his first official visit to New York included, Dr. Maria Teresa Montilla, DANR President, U.S. Congress-man Charles Rangel, NYS Assemblyman Carl E. Heastie, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., NYS Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, NYS Assemblyman Keith L. T. Wright, Jay Hershenson, Senior Vice Chancellor and Secretary of the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York, Dr. Ricardo Fernández, President of Lehman College, Dr. Félix Matos Rodriguez, President of Hostos Community College, Dr. Carol M. Berotte Joseph, President of Bronx Community College, Dr. Ramon Antonio Veras (El Negro Veras), NDAC Chairman Nestor Montilla, DANR Youth President Amaris Guzman, DANR Vice Presidents Julia Lara, Dr. Dilcia Granville, Architec Luis Facundo, Facundo Night, Maria Moreno, Francesca Pena, Claribel Martinez, NYC Councilman Robert Jackson, Massachusetts State Representative Marcos Devers, Maryland Representative Joselyn Peña-Melnyk, New Jersey Councilman Julio Tavarez, Pennsylvania Councilman Julio Guridy, New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera, New York State Senator Ruben Diaz, Commissioner Alex Mendez, Councilwoman Fiordaliza Frias, Commissioner Wendy Guzman, Bronx District Leader Yudelka Tapia and among others, Brooklyn District Leader Arelys Martinez.

During the Reception, at the East Dining Room of Lehman College – decorated with flags of 50 countries – the National Dominican American Council (NDAC) swore in its first International Council, with representatives from ten different countries.  Members included Madee Chandran – r6 catalyst Corporation, India; Hosney Abdelgelil – Tri-State Arab American Association of Engineers, Architects, and I.T. Professionals – Egypt; Wayne Kao- Korean American Association of Brooklyn, South Korea; Hashi Moto- Japanese Cultural Exchange- Japan; Jimmy Gao- Fukon American Chamber of Commerce-China; Hajia Ramatu Ahmed – National Council of Ghanaian Associations – Africa; Mitchell C. Shelowitz – Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer International Law Firm – Israel; Alina Kaymin – Russian American Chamber of Commerce- Russia; Sylvia Mata – League Of United Latino American Citizens Queens Council – South America.

Entertainment was provided by guitarist Yili Nelson and singer, composer, and television personality Nazario Brea, who is currently President and CEO of T.V. Music Video, Inc.

The Reception was followed by a “Youth Showcase” in the Lovinger Theater, where hundreds of students from around the U.S. convened for a cultural night of poetry/Latin Jazz/Bachata/Hip Hop/Merengue/Spoken Word/Art. DANR Youth Showcase notables included Headlining Artist Yunel Cruz; Artists, Urban Unity’s Ova Floh and Millie Deville; LcthePoet; Kony Brooks; LRevolution; Feel-X; City; REY; Generation x mob; Ed Nelson; Daily G; La C Guapa; Lyrica-Ysen; Megaciph; Clave Azul; and The Recreation; Truth Be Told.

On Saturday, October 8 at 8:30 AM, the Summit begun with a National Issue Breakfast on redistricting and demographics. The speakers included Joseph Salvo, Ph.D., Director of Population of the New York City Department of Planning, Néstor Montilla, Sr., Chairman of the National Dominican American Council, Jose Perez, Esq., Associate General Counsel, Latino Justice PRLDEF, and Joseph Wiscovitch, President of Wiscovitch Associates. The speakers shared information on the changing New York demographics, the Dominican community’s moving trends, percentages of voters in different districts, and implications of the current redistricting process.

Concurrent workshops followed the breakfast. Panelists and participants addressed topics on education, economic development, and community empowerment. Workshops included:

“Crime and Safety in the Dominican Republic: A National Emergency.” Presenters Dr. Ramón An-tonio Veras (El Negro Veras), Dr. Rosario Espinal from Temple University, Journalist Sara Pérez, Dra. Lilian Bobea, Community Leader Rhadames Pérez, and educator and community activist José Morales discussed crime and safety in the Dominican Republic, causes, and possible solutions, in an interactive and stimulating session. 

“Advancement in Education/Critical Issues.” Presenters New York City Public School Teacher José Cruz, New Jersey Public Schools Teacher Rhina Tavarez, NYC School Principal Nancy Diaz, Martha Madera, President of the Dominican American Association of Supervisors and Administrators (ADASA), Gloria Ortiz, Professor Martin Danenberg, and Dr. Julia Lara, DANR VP in Washington, DC, discussed school desertion, parental participation, innovative teaching technics and more on education.

“Dominicans and African-Americans: Let’s talk!” was a productive conversation where presenters, together with participants, addressed similarities and common interests of these two groups and offered suggestions for an empowerment strategy for Blacks and Dominicans in Urban America.

Presenters included New York State Assemblyman Keith L. T. Wright, New York State Assembly-man Carl E. Heastie, NDAC Chairman Néstor Montilla, Miosotis Muñoz, MA Representative Marcos Devers, Fred Price from Medgar Evers College, MD Representative Joselyn Peña-Melnyk, Rosita Romero, President of the Dominican Women Center, Facundo Knight, DANR VP in P.A. and Dr. Dilcia Granville, DANR VP in New York.

“As soon as Blacks, Dominicans, and Latinos, in general, find out that they have to work together, then life will be a better place for both groups,” said Assemblyman Wright. “Nothing can be done; nothing can be achieved unless you form a coalition.” 

“The workshop ‘Dominicans and African-Americans: Let’s Talk,’ at Lehman College this past Saturday, October 8, 2011, open the door for further discussion and planning regarding the reality Blacks and Dominicans experience together in urban America as it relates to power, politics, employment, education, and incarceration,” said Fred L. Price from Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York. “This workshop was a step in the right direction to address and plan to overcome any roadblocks to our collective advancement; I commend DANR and the National Council for affording Blacks and Dominicans such a unique opportunity to talk.”

In the workshop “National Council and Youth Leadership, I & II,.” Presenters, Dr. María Teresa Montilla, DANR President, DANR 2011 Fellows, DANR Youth President Amaris Guzmán, Professor Dr. Alberto Correa, from Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico, NDAC Chairman Néstor Montilla, Leodanis Inojosa from Puerto Rico and Dinorah Méndez from Lynn, Massachusetts dis-cussed various aspects of leadership including leadership styles and development, and establishing local councils in neighborhoods and across Urban America.

Listed presenters for “Dominicans & Puerto Ricans: Let’s talk!” included Felipe Luciano, Zenaida Méndez, Francisco Ramírez Castilla, Joseph Wiscovitch, Hon. Claribel Martínez Marmolejos, and Dr. Dilcia Granville, DANR VP in New York. They explored the social and historical background of Dominican-Puerto Rican Relations as well as their inseparable future. Panelists and participants offered suggestions for political empowerment and coalition building.

In the forum “Councils: Building Bridges” members of the NDAC International Council discussed trade/commerce among the diasporas of the countries represented. Listed presenters included Luis Balzac, Jose Antonio Ocampo from Columbia University, Kimberly Park, John Wang, Mandip Singh, Francisco J. Sánchez, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, Maritza Del Toro, Pedro Diaz Ballester, Ismael Betancourt, Peter Fontanes, CEO Fontanes Group, and DANR VP in New York Francesca Pena.

“Our Elected Officials: Standing on the Wall” offered a profile of the relationship between elected officials and the community that elects them. The focus was the strengthening of this relationship for the empowerment of both. Presenters included M.A. Representative Marcos Devers, Pennsylvania Councilman Julio Guridy, New Jersey Councilman Julio Tavárez, and Bronx District Leader Yudelka Tapia.

In “Economic Development: International Trade, e-commerce, and Jobs,” list of presenters included Virgilio Mota, Luz A. Hopewell, Dr., and Bishop Ebony Kirkland, Ana Recio Harvey, bus-business woman Cira Angeles, DANR Treasurer Luis Facundo, and Josephine Infante, Executive Di-rector of Hunts Point Development Corporation. Among other aspects of economic development, panelists addressed e-commerce and the challenges of women in business.

At 12:00 PM, the Summit’s Plenary Session at the Lovinger Theater was presided over by NDAC Chairman Nestor Montilla; it opened with Rev. Dr. Hector’s invocation Chiesa, President of the Board of Directors of Radio Vision Cristiana.

Singer and writer Cristina Necula, director of Lehman College Alumni Relations Office, performed “The Star-Spangled Banner”; and Baruch College student and DANR 2011 Fellow Paola Martínez interpreted the Dominican Republic National Anthem.

Plenary session presenters included Lehman College President Ricardo Fernandez, CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson, and Dr. Maria Teresa Montilla, DANR President, who delivered the traditional DANR national annual State of Dominicans in the U.S. address.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and New York State Senator Ruben Diaz welcomed Summit participants to the Bronx. 

New York State Assemblyman Guillermo Linares introduced His Excellency, Raul Yzaguirre, U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, to deliver the Summit’s keynote address titled: “Our Advancement in education, economic development, and community empowerment.”

Before the closing reception, held in a perfect afternoon, the Summit program included a swearing-in ceremony of over one hundred new NDAC local council members. New local councilmembers posed together in front of Lehman College’s beautiful Music Building and before the DANR and NDAC National Boards for a group photo taken by well-known photographer Eduardo Hoepelman.

At 8:00 PM, La Mega 97.9 FM presented a signature concert with Rubby Perez and friends, including Composer Ramon Orlando and singers Yunel Cruz and Alex Matos.

On behalf of the DANR Board and the National Council, President Montilla, accompanied by NDAC Chairman Nestor Montilla and DANR NY State Vice President Miguel Santana, presented DANR Life-time Achievement Award to Rubby Perez in honor of his thirtieth anniversary in the music industry.

The DANR Annual National Summit is considered to be among the most important events of the year on the Dominican-American and Latino calendars in the United States of America.

The 14th Annual National Leadership Summit was Made possible thanks to:

Lehman College, The City University of New York, Ford Motor Company Fund, Eugenio Maria De Hostos Community College, National Supermarket Association, Anheuser-Bush, La Mega 97.9FM, Cibao Meat Products, Bronxnet Television, Bronx Community College, Jet Blue, AT&T, Inno-vaciones Psicoeducativas, Inc, The Latino Studies Institute, Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation, National Dominican American Council, Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico…

For more information about the Summit, photos, media, and television coverage, visit www.danr.org.


About the DANR

The Dominican American National Roundtable is the only non-profit, non-partisan 501 (c) (3) corporation based in Washington, DC, advocating for the educational, socio-economic, and political development of our diverse communities and all people of Dominican origin in the United States of America, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

ABOUT the National Dominican American Council (NDAC)

NDAC is the national civic-engagement-community relations organ of the Dominican American National Roundtable.

Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR)

1050 17th Street, N.W. Suite 600 Washington, DC 20036


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