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Born in 1940 in Houston, Texas, Ernesto Nieto is the president and founder of the National Hispanic Institute. A graduate of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, he holds a B.S. in special education. He completed his Master's work at the University of Houston and is a recipient of an Honorary Ph.D. in humane letters from Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, Texas. Mr. Nieto holds numerous awards and honors including a Citation of Merit Award, a Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the Human Relations Award from the National Association of College Admissions Counselors.
Mr. Nieto and Ms. De León discuss their roles in defining the mission and goals of the National Hispanic Institute. They describe the NHI focus, which is the training of Latino youth to become leaders in Latino communities. They talk about about the importance of providing opportunities for Mexican American students in education and practical socio-political involvement so as to instill in them a sense of pride and accomplishment and enable them to assume leadership roles in the Latino community. Both interviewees detail and describe the purposes of the different programs offered by the NHI. They each elaborate upon their definition of leadership and their belief that the mission of the NHI fulfils that image. They express their opinion that the biggest threat to Mexican Americans is losing their cultural identity while living in and absorbing Anglo social and political values. They conclude the interview with their respective family histories and genealogies.
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