The Conference that Informs Leadership on the Border

The 2013 Conference Program and Presenter Biographies have been added to the site!  Look for them in the “About the Conference” page.


We are pleased to announce our keynote speakers for the February 7 and 8, 2013 BLC!


Dr. Richard D. Pineda is an associate professor in the Department of Communication and currently serves as the associate director of the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies. Dr. Pineda’s research and teaching interests focus on politics, media, popular culture and Latinidad. Dr. Pineda holds a BA in Political Science from Baylor University, an MA in Communication from The University of El Paso at Texas, and a PhD from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. His research has appeared in a number of communication journals including Text and Performance Quarterly, Argumentation and Advocacy, and The Free Speech Yearbook. Dr. Pineda serves on the editorial boards for the journals Argumentation and Advocacy and Contemporary Argumentation and Debate, the two preeminent argumentation journals in the country. Dr. Pineda has served the El Paso community as a member of the City of El Paso Ethics Review Board and the Capital Improvement Advisory Committee. He is also a board member for Community Scholars; a local nonprofit organization that trains high school students in the areas of leadership and policy development. Dr. Pineda grew up in El Paso, Texas and is a proud graduate of Eastwood High School.


Claudio Sanchez, NPR Correspondent, Education, National Desk

Former elementary and middle school teacher Claudio Sanchez is the education correspondent for NPR. He focuses on the “three p’s” of education reform: politics, policy and pedagogy. Sanchez’s reports air regularly on NPR’s award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. From 1984 to 1988, Sanchez was news and public affairs director at KXCR-FM in El Paso. During this time, he contributed reports and features to NPR’s news programs.  In 2008, Sanchez won First Prize in the Education Writers Association’s National Awards for Education Reporting, for his series “The Student Loan Crisis.” In 1985, Sanchez received one of broadcasting’s top honors, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton, for a series he co-produced, “Sanctuary: The New Underground Railroad.” In addition, he has won the Guillermo Martinez-Marquez Award for Best Spot News and the El Paso Press Club Award for Best Investigative Reporting.  Sanchez is a native of Nogales, Mexico, and a graduate of Northern Arizona University, with post-baccalaureate studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson and has been with NPR since 1989.


Veronica Escobar was sworn in as El Paso County Judge on January 1, 2011. She works on issues related to healthcare; Border policy; government consolidation; nature tourism; and, economic development. Judge Escobar received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1991 from the University of Texas at El Paso, and a Master of Arts degree from New York University in 1993. She has spent her professional and civic life working for non-profits, in education, and more recently in local government. Judge Escobar has been active addressing issues important to border communities. She has addressed state-wide and local organizations about border policy and immigration. On October 6, 2011, The New York Times published an op-ed article by Judge Escobar entitled “All Quiet on the Southern Front,” which discussed the failure of elected officials and presidential candidates to address the complex reality of life on the U.S.-Mexico border. Judge Escobar has been the recipient of the “Women of Integrity” award given by Women for an Ethical El Paso (2007), the “2008 Elected Official of the Year” Award given by the National Association of Social Workers, the “Human Rights Safe Communities” award given by the Border Network for Human Rights (2009), and the “2010 Elected Official of the Year” presented to her by the Rio Grande Council of Governments.