About the Cambio de Colores Conference

Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors) in Missouri” is an annual conference that focuses on issues related to the current Latino immigration to the state in particular and the Midwest in general.  The conference’s main goal is to contribute to a smooth and lasting integration of the new population, through the following specific tasks:

  • To assess the changes brought about by the presence of new Latino urban and rural settlers in every region of the state.
  • To inform about the multiple contributions—economic, social, and cultural—that these new Missourians are bringing to many communities and to the state as a whole.
  • To understand the opportunities that this demographic change brings to the state, its people, communities, businesses, and educational institutions.
  • To provide a forum to discuss the change and growth challenges posed to institutions and people—both new and old Missourians.
  • To share relevant scholarship and best practices, and identify knowledge and service gaps that need addressing.

The three-day conference convenes academic research and extension specialists, public and private service providers, grassroots organizations, state and local government institutions, politicians, corporations, and newcomers themselves. The conference is sponsored by the University of Missouri, in cooperation with community and state partners. It is mostly funded by participants (numbering around 300) and sponsors.

The seventh conference, Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors) – Latinos in Missouri: Uniting Cultures – Uniendo Culturas,” is organized along themes that include change and integration, communities, youth, education, health, and civil rights.

The diverse and enthusiastic participation in these very inclusive events is demonstrating the relevance and the urgency of addressing today the challenges and the opportunities that arise in Missouri and other Midwestern states, as Latinos and other newcomers settle as workers, families and members of communities.

The main institutional support for the conference comes from the Cambio Center for Research and Outreach on Latinos and Changing Communities in Missouri, established by the University of Missouri-Columbia in the fall of 2004.


Brief History of the Conference

The Hispanic and Latin American Faculty & Staff Association of the University of Missouri-Columbia (HLAFSA) took a principal role in creating and leading the first conferences, with the enthusiastic support of the University of Missouri System institutions, and the collaboration of many organizations in our state.

A groundbreaking, three-day event took place in March 2002 at the University of Missouri-Columbia: Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors). Latinos in Missouri: A call to action!”  A synthesis of the experiences, facts and knowledge derived from this conference is the monograph Cambio de Colores. Immigration of Latinos to Missouri, which remains a state-of-the-art publication. Subsequent conferences were in 2003 in Kansas City (“Neighbors in Urban and Rural Communities”), St. Louis in 2004 (“Gateway to a New Community”), Columbia in 2005 (“Connecting Research to Policy and Practice - Hoy y mañana.) and again in 2006 (“Beyond Borders”)In April, 2007, the conference went back to Kansas City (“Everyone Together – Todos Juntos”).


Who was at the 2007 Cambio de Colores Conference?

  • Total number of registered individual participants: 228
  • Total number of institutions represented: 105
  • Total number of presentations & field visits: 45, divided in the following themes:
    • Change & Integration: 10
    • Civil Rights: 4
    • Education: 10
    • Health: 11
    • Youth, Families: 10

About the Conference Content

The conference program builds on the sharing of university and community resources ranging from academic studies to the practice-perspective of those working at the heart of the changing communities and the everyday experiences of non-professionals.  Each year the program changes as we become more experienced in working with our newest residents. 

The 2008 conference will continue to provide a platform to present, discuss, share, learn, and identify critical areas needed in developing information and promising practices to facilitate the successful transition of Latino newcomers into our communities, as well as to provide these communities the elements to make these changes in a way beneficial to all.  It will also be of interest to see the effects that current nation- and statewide discussions about immigration are having in this transition.

The presentations in the conference are mostly the result of a Call for Abstracts announced in December of 2007. The conference format includes five Plenary Sessions, and four blocks of concurrent breakout sessions addressing research, best practices, workshops and discussion panels on the themes of the conference. Also, there will be table display sessions and multiple opportunities for networking.  This conference will also look forward to building common-interest networks that may continue to operate during the year.

The five conference themes are:

  1. Change and Integration
  2. Civil Rights
  3. Education
  4. Health
  5. Youth, Families and Communities

This page updated:
14 February, 2008


Questions? ¿Preguntas?: decolores@missouri.edu
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