The devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria has opened a window of opportunity not just for recovery from the catastrophe and rebuilding a more resilient infrastructure, but also for sustainable economic development. The history of how Puerto Rico takes advantage of this window of opportunity brought about by catastrophic events is being written in an unfolding present.
It is imperative that the rebuilding of Puerto Rico is undertaken, encouraged, and embraced by a wide range of civic sector actors including businesses, cooperatives, nonprofit organizations, municipalities, religious and educational institutions, both in Puerto Rico and the United States. It is precisely these stakeholders, in conjunction with decision-makers who can stimulate participation, transparency, equity, and accountability, all elements of good government.
Finding a focus area and then engaging with the community and technical experts is crucial in understanding emerging issues and trends. This will allow all of us to effectively narrow down problems, find partners to collaborate with, work on solutions and move towards change. Rebuilding Puerto Rico will be a long-term and difficult process that must include multiple stakeholders from various levels of the policy making and implementation process in order to ensure that efforts lead to a more resilient future
The Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans conference series gathers intellectuals, policy makers, community leaders, and multimedia makers to explore issues affecting the Diaspora with the goal of establishing policy priorities and focusing on stateside-led rebuilding efforts for Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
At the Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans Diaspora Summit 2019, we will mark the two years since the hurricanes struck Puerto Rico by highlighting partnerships between Puerto Rico’s civic sector with Puerto Ricans in the diaspora that are contributing to the rebuilding of the Island. We will also learn about Centro’s series of online tools available to advocates and other professionals engaged in these efforts.
We will hear about the state of Puerto Ricans stateside and on the island, and discuss the political events of the past three months. We will celebrate the inspiring demonstrations holding corrupt government leaders accountable to the people of Puerto Rico, and look towards the future.
Friday’s plenaries will shape the breakout session dialogues. We will delve into the Chatgate texting scandal that lead to a political crisis, and sparked a social movement. Then we will look at corruption, transparency, accountability and good governance moving forward. On Saturday, we will engage with elected officials and spotlight solidarity initiatives by stateside civic organizations.
The recent migration of Puerto Ricans from the island has come to increase the number of Puerto Ricans in the United States overall. Given the importance that population size and growth have in the social and political discourse in the United States, this increase will contribute to make Puerto Ricans more visible politically, socially, economically, culturally and economically.
We welcome you to the Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans Diaspora Summit 2019: Rebuild Puerto Rico, “Two Years after Maria: Challenges and Opportunities.” We hope that you find the next two days informative, engaging and inspiring. Hurricanes Irma and Maria may have brought destruction and devastation, but they also brought opportunities for us all.
The Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans Diaspora Summit Series is made possible by the continuing and generous support of Hunter College, CUNY and New York City Council.
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