The Emerging Economic Value of Spanish in the U.S. Symposium: Opening Business Opportunities

December 8, 2011

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"Opening Business Opportunities" panelists

The Emerging Economic Value of Spanish in the U.S. Symposium is a forum on the demographic change that the United States is experiencing due to the unprecedented growth of the Hispanic population. The opportunity for greater cooperation and commerce is driven in part by the dramatic increase in the use of Spanish in the United States to the point where there are now approximately 36 million people in the country who speak it. Spanish is now the second language of international communication. Additionally, one out of six U.S. residents is Hispanic, one out of five public school students is Hispanic, and a quarter of children born in the United States is Hispanic. By 2025, over half of American families will be multicultural. By 2050, the United States will be the largest Spanish speaking country in the world. According to estimates made by the U.S. Census Bureau, 132.8 million inhabitants will be Hispanic by 2050, almost three times the current 46.7 million, which means nearly one in three Americans citizens will be Hispanic.

A new corporate paradigm will have to evolve to address this emerging consumer mosaic and help keep the United States on the crest of this wave of demographic change. The Spanish language will be a natural component of the new framework, and the ability to speak Spanish in addition to English will increase in value in schools, media, scientific research, business, politics, and diplomacy.

But how should the United States capitalize on the rising value of Spanish domestically and internationally? How should the U.S. address Spanish in the school system? How are corporations facing this radical multicultural change in the U.S.? How to best manage the impact and growing influence the U.S. Hispanic population has on society, the economy and politics in the U.S.?

This two-day symposium aims to open a national and international dialogue to generate ideas for leveraging these opportunities. The symposium will be conducted in English and Spanish with simultaneous translation.

The "Opening Business Opportunities" inlcude: Learn about the experiences and strategies of U.S. firms with a bilingual workforce; Learn about what the United States Department of Commerce is doing to improve commercial relations with Spain and Latin America; Explore the need for a new corporate paradigm as an opportunity for economic growth.

Speakers: Al Zapanta, president & CEO, U.S. México Chamber of Commerce; Omar Duque, president & CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Juan Ochoa, president and Chief Executive Officer of the Miramar Group; Deirdre Drake, senior vice president of Human Resources at BMO, Harris Bank; Lenore Garcia, director of the Department of Education and Culture, The Organization of American States; Homero Tristan, chair of the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago.

Recorded Thursday, November 8, 2011 at the Instituto Cervantes of Chicago.