Daily Israel Report

U.S. Latina Leaders Visit Israel

Week-long program includes 12 key Latin American women, guests of AJC’s Project Interchange emphasizing Sephardic heritage.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 3/9/2010, 4:30 PM / Last Update: 3/10/2010, 12:37 PM

Twelve of America’s most prominent Latina (Latin American female) leaders are currently visiting Israel for intensive dialogue and briefings. 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.

The women 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 (NCLR) - a non-profit advocacy group focusing on improving opportunities for Hispanics in the United States.

Along with visits to various Sephardic heritage sites, the delegation will meet with many Israeli women of influence, including Shari Arison, widely considered Israel’s most successful businesswoman. They will also receive briefings by Israeli leaders on foreign policy, Israel’s strategic landscape, immigration and absorption, and will take part in sessions highlighting Israel’s diverse makeup.

The group will also hear from members of Israel’s civilian IsraAID disaster relief team, who recently returned from Haiti.

Janet Murguia, President and CEO of NCLR and a participant in the Israel program, said, "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."

Other visitors to Israel on the delegation are Lisa Quiroz, Senior Vice President at Time Warner; Sindy Benavides, Community Outreach Director of the Democratic National Committee; Ivelisse Estrada, Senior Vice President at Univision, a preeminent Spanish-language media company serving the U.S.; Leslie A. Sanchez, strategist and political commentator on networks including Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and Univision; and seven 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 U.S., Scandinavia, and Latin America, with upcoming seminars for American energy experts and journalists from India.