What is Cambio de Colores?

Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors) is a multistate conference about the integration of Latinos and immigrants in new destinations. It is a professional development opportunity in which people from various fields who work with Latinos and immigrant communities come together to share research and best practices that facilitate the integration of newcomers. See the conference topics here.

What is the importance of this conference?

Rural and urban communities throughout the Midwest have been reshaped by the arrival of large numbers of Latinos, immigrants, and refugees.  Over the past sixteen years, the Cambio de Colores Conference has served as a hub for stakeholders to take stock of how our communities are adapting to these changes and share experiences of how to improve immigrant integration and community wellbeing.  This multidisciplinary conference has traditionally focused on native and foreign-born Latino newcomers (the majority of new arrivals in these new destination areas), but is interested in the challenges inherent in multicultural changing communities, including the experiences of all newcomers, faith groups, and marginalized groups. The integration of these very diverse groups is being studied by academics and pursued by stakeholders, as the newcomers seek to become part and parcel of the social, economic, and cultural fabric of their new communities.

The 2018 Conference

The conference theme this year is “Latinx in the Heartland: Fostering Resilience and Cross-Cultural Connections” and aims to unite communities across their differences to move “adelante” (forward) in these highly challenging and dynamic times. Changes to national and local policies in immigration, healthcare, education, and others affect many people in changing communities, such as newcomers and Latinx populations. “Latinx” refers to those of Latin American descent in a more inclusive, gender-neutral fashion. “Newcomer” is a term used to describe those who have recently settled in an area, whether immigrant or not, and those who continue to feel new to (or excluded from) a community due to their ethnic, cultural, racial, religious or other background, even after years or decades of residence. Resilience and cross-cultural connections in changing communities support community inclusion, belonging, well-being, and prosperity. The conference will focus on these issues by exploring the research conducted by our scholars, the practices implemented in our communities, and the outreach strategies implemented to build cross-cultural collaborations. America’s diversity is its strength, especially when we work together, and now is the time for collaboration beyond disciplines, silos, sectors, perspectives and cultures to create bridges of opportunity. Resilience and connections across sectors can help stabilize and strengthen all our communities through this period of radical change. Read more about the theme in the Call for Presentations.

The conference convenes public and private service providers, grassroots and advocacy organizations, education and healthcare providers, academic researchers, students and extension specialists, state and local government institutions, policymakers, corporations, and newcomers themselves. The conference program focuses and builds on the sharing of university, government, and community resources, linking academic studies to the more applied perspective and best practices of people and institutions working at the heart of changing communities. This synergy is the signature characteristic of this conference, which engages a wide array of stakeholders as individuals, organizations, and communities invested in economic and social development.

Cambio de Colores serves as a unique venue to share, learn, discuss, and identify critical areas where the development of information and promising practices will facilitate the successful transition of newcomers into communities large and small. The conference organizers seek presentations, posters, and panels on the conference themes described in this call, as well as workshops targeted to community members, leaders, and officials with the tools necessary to address these changes in ways that are sustainable and beneficial to all. See details about submissions and theme groups in the following pages.

Led by the University of Missouri, Cambio de Colores is a collaborative effort that includes University of Missouri Extension, the campuses of the Missouri system, and other educational institutions across the United States, as well as government and private organizations. Since 2009, the conference has benefited from the cooperation of the interstate initiative on “Latinos and Immigrants in Midwestern Communities,” North Central Education and Research Activity 216 (NCERA 216), and since 2015, has benefited from the cooperation of the Missouri Dual Language Network (MODLAN).