March 8, 2010 - America’s Influential Latina Leaders Visit Israel

March 8th, 2010

Week-long program includes key women from Univision, National Council of La Raza, and Time Warner


(Jerusalem, Israel) - Twelve of America’s most prominent Latina leaders are currently visiting Israel for intensive dialogue and briefings as guests of Project Interchange, an educational institute of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). The delegation includes senior figures from major American businesses, media networks, and civic organizations. They will traverse much of Israel on a program emphasizing Sephardic heritage and the achievements of Israeli and Hispanic women throughout history. The Project Interchange seminar will run through March 14 and was organized in cooperation with the AJC Latino and Latin American Institute and the National Council of La Raza.

Along with visits to various Sephardic heritage sites (”Sephardic” refers to Jews originally from Spain, Portugal, and North Africa), the delegation will meet with many Israeli women of influence -including Shari Arison, widely considered Israel’s most successful businesswoman- and will receive briefings by Israeli leaders on foreign policy and Israel’s strategic landscape. Also on the agenda are discussions on immigration and absorption, and sessions highlighting Israel’s diverse makeup and efforts toward interfaith co-existence. Additionally, the group will hear from members of Israel’s civilian IsraAID disaster relief team, who recently returned from Haiti. These and other topics, including the Israeli media and Palestinian politics and society, are intended to expose the group to a wide range of complex issues facing Israel.

Janet Murguia, President and CEO of National Council of La Raza, said, “NCLR is pleased to co-host this delegation of Latina leaders. For decades, NCLR has been engaged in constructive dialogue to promote cultural understanding and exchange among communities. We have great hopes that this trip will be a tremendous opportunity to learn and share.”

Murguia, a participant in this week’s Project Interchange program, is joined by: Ivelisse Estrada, Senior Vice President at Univision, a preeminent Spanish-language media company serving the US; Leslie A. Sanchez, strategist and political commentator on networks including Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and Univision; Lisa Quiroz, Senior Vice President at Time Warner; and eight other senior Latina leaders.

This program marks the fifth educational seminar that Project Interchange has hosted in Israel this year. Recent delegations have included the Presidents of the Pacific Island nations of Micronesia and Nauru, and journalists from the US, Scandinavia, and Latin America, with upcoming seminars for American energy experts and journalists from India.

Participants in this week’s seminar include:

Sindy Benavides, Director, Community Outreach, Democratic National Committee

Sarita Brown, President, Excelencia in Education

Alejandra Castillo, Attorney

Delia de la Vara, Vice President, California Region, National Council of La Raza

Ivelisse Estrada, Senior VP Corporate and Community Relations, Univision Communications Inc.

Cristina Lopez-Donado, President, National Hispana Leadership Institute

Janet Murguia, President and CEO, National Council of La Raza

Ana Navarro, Political Consultant

Lisa Quiroz, Senior Vice President, Time Warner, Inc.

Ramona E. Romero, Corporate Counsel, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company

Leslie A. Sanchez, CEO, Impacto Group LLC

Maria Contreras Sweet, Founder/Chairwoman of the Board, Promerica Bank

Dina Siegel Vann (staff), Director, Latino and Latin American Institute, AJC