December 09, 2000

The Great Books Foundation announces the launch of a major multi-year initiative, "A Latino National Conversation." The Foundation will coordinate and conduct several hundred community discussions nationwide in libraries and schools; build support for hundreds of on-going book discussion groups; and publish titles in a new Great Books Foundation series dealing with Latino themes. Partnerships are being formed with community groups, local and national media, and numerous institutions serving Latino communities, including the American Library Association.

"The time is ripe for people to come together to discuss the importance of Latino ideas and culture," says Great Books Foundation President Dr. Peter Temes. "The rapidly growing importance of the Latino population in business, media, and education has increased the need for serious, community-based conversation about fundamental questions of Latino experience and identity." Building on more than fifty years experience organizing and supporting book discussion groups focused on the classics, the Foundation will broaden its scope in helping to provide opportunities for Latinos and non-Latinos to explore the richness of Latino literature and thought.

A steering committee headed by Dr. Ilan Stavans, editor of The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, and including leaders in education, government, and business, will direct "A Latino National Conversation." The Foundation will build on its existing base of Junior Great Books programs for schools, which currently reach tens of thousands of Latino students and their families.

Founded in 1947 by Robert Hutchins and Mortimer Adler, the Chicago based non-profit Great Books Foundation reaches close to 1,000,000 students through its school programs, and supports close to 1,000 adult reading and discussion groups worldwide. The Foundation trains discussion leaders in a method called Shared Inquiry.

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