DETROIT – Leaders of Filipino-American groups all over the United States and guests from the Philippines will converge here on August 2-5, 2012 for the 10th National Empowerment Conference of the Federation of Filipino American Association (NaFFAA).
Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose L. Cuisia Jr. has accepted an invitation to serve as the keynote speaker at the conference, which will mark the celebration of NaFFAA’s 15th foundation anniversary.
With the theme “Celebrating Our Identity and Solidarity,” the three-day gathering will feature plenary sessions and workshops on such topics as “The FilAm Vote,” “FilVets and Family Reunification,” “Immigration Reform,” “The Dream Act,” “The SAVE Act,” “Medicare/Medicaid Portability,” “Medical Missions to the Philippines,” “National Filipino Foundations,” “Overseas Workers,” “The Empowered Filipino: Shared Experiences and Success Stories,” “Domestic Violence,” “Human Trafficking,” and “Filipinos in the Arts, Entertainment and Sports.”
Aside from Ambassador Cuisia, the other invited speakers include Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Detroit City Mayor Dave Bing, Commission on Filipinos Overseas Commissioner Imelda Nicolas, Philippine National Red Cross President Richard Gordon and Philippine Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez.
One highlight of the conference is a special tribute to NaFFAA Founder Alex Esclamado. This will be done during a “Shining Moments in NaFFAA History” presentation during the Gala Night.
Esclamado was elected NaFFAA’s first national chairman during the organization’s founding in Washington DC in August 1997. The delegates from NaFFAA’s 12 regions will also elect their new national leaders, including the chairman, vice chairman and treasurer. The national board is comprised of regional and youth chairs who are elected at regional conferences.
Conference hosts Willie Deschavez and Emraida Kiram have scheduled night entertainment for delegates and guests, including a “Detroit Riverboat Princess Cruise” and a “Glitz and Glamour” fashion show. Capping the conference will be an interfaith service and appreciation ceremony.
Outgoing National Chair Ed Navarra said he considers the national gathering in Detroit as “an important event in the life of our community as we meet to map out our vision and action plans for the next two years.
“This being an election year, we also need to gear up for the presidential elections and ensure that all Filipino Americans actively participate in the electoral process. As the vehicle of our community’s aspirations for political empowerment in this country, NaFFAA must lead the way in all aspects of civic engagement – from voter registration to casting our ballots in November.”
The venue for this year’s conference is the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, 400 Renaissance Center Dr., Detroit MI 48243.