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NHI Podcasts

NHI Podcasts

By National Hispanic Institute Media
Ernesto Nieto, President and Founder of the National Hispanic Institute (NHI), and other senior members of the team sit with community leaders, educators, public officials, and friends to discuss and debate issues and opportunities within the hemispheric Latino community. NHI is a 41-year old nonprofit with a mission of making leadership a priority to Latino youth and communities of the future.
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Infopods 18: Understanding Community Equity Building (CEB)
In a conversation with Julio Cotto, NHI Senior Vice President and alumnus, founder and President Ernesto Nieto, and co-founder Gloria de Leon, the core NHI concept of "Community Equity Building (CEB)" is explored. Part of NHI's Spring Training program, this conversation is also relevant to alumni and the general public wanting to learn about a unique approach and mindset towards building community equity and wealth. Recorded March 25, 2020 in Austin and Kyle, Texas. Copyright (C) 2020. National Hispanic Institute. All Rights Reserved.
41:52
April 3, 2020
Infopods 17: About the 2019 NHI Learning Theme
Recorded in Maxwell, Texas at NHI's headquarters, Julio Cotto, Chris Nieto, and NHI Founder and President Ernesto Nieto discuss the 2019 Summer Learning Theme.
40:58
May 23, 2019
Live from Celebracion: Rachel Basoco
This was an interview conducted by Phil West of young entrepreneur, NHI alumna, and Celebracion presenter Rachel Basoco. An alumna of NHI at Houston and the Texas Great Debate, former Governor of the New York LDZ, All Star at the CWS, avid volunteer, and member of the Junior Faculty, Rachel has also been growing a business with NHI principles and alongside NHI members and investors. Learn more about Trenza, Rachel's business at .  For more information on NHI, visit
17:18
December 28, 2018
Live from Celebracion: Anita Fernandez
This was an interview conducted by Phil West of Anita Fernandez, 2018 NHI Distinguished Alumna at the Celebracion 2018 conference in San Marcos, Texas sponsored by the National Hispanic Institute in November. Anita was honored for her work in San Antonio and her years of service to the Institute in particular with the NHI at San Antonio Alliance () For more information on NHI, visit
18:12
December 28, 2018
Live from Celebracion: Alvaro "Varo" Maldonado
This was an interview of Varo Maldonado conducted by Phil West at the Celebracion 2018 conference in San Marcos, Texas sponsored by the National Hispanic Institute in November. Varo was honored with this rare award for his 30+ years of supporting the work of the Institute and for being the catalyst for establishing the Colorado Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session (LDZ) which celebrates 30 years this June.  For more information on NHI, visit https://www.nationalhispanicinstitute.org
13:28
December 27, 2018
NHI Notables: Ep 10 - A Conversation about Tejano Culture and Music with Ruben "El Gato" Negro and Leonard Davila
In a slight departure from previous conversations, NHI Founder and President Ernesto Nieto invites Tejano artists Ruben "El Gato Negro" Ramos and Leonard Davila of Street People to Maxwell to talk about the history and importance of Tejano music and the movement. Ernesto has been in talks with the two of them to produce a Southwest Experience that would honor, preserve, and promote American Latino cultures and forms like Tejano. They discuss the art form as a true American contribution and creation but also the challenges of keeping it relevant and popular in the 21st century. They talk about the importance of 'roots' but also of the opportunities to evolve culture and music.
55:34
September 14, 2018
NHI Notables: Ep 9 - Dr. Joseph Villescas, TXGD '93, TXLDZ '94, former NHI HQ researcher
Former head of NHI's Collaborative Research Center, Dr. Joseph Villescas has had a long history with NHI going back to being the younger sibling of an alumna. Years later, he was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus for his contributions to NHI's research, study, and publications. He was most notable for leading the editing and collaboration known as the "Perfect Storm Scenario" that is discussed on the conversation. Ernesto Nieto, NHI President and founder, is joined in the interview by colleague Julio Cotto. The interview was recorded at the NHI home office in late May 2018.
49:32
May 28, 2018
Infopods 16: About the 2018 Mock Trial Topic
Recorded in Maxwell, Texas at NHI's headquarters, Julio Cotto and Ernesto Nieto discuss the 2018 Mock Trial topic in preparation for the Great Debates.
28:48
May 28, 2018
Infopods 15: About the 2018 Extemporaneous Speaking Topic
Recorded in Maxwell, Texas at NHI's headquarters, Julio Cotto and Ernesto Nieto discuss the 2018 Extemporaneous Speaking topic in preparation for the Great Debates.
19:35
May 28, 2018
Infopods 14: About the 2018 Cross Examination Debate Topic
Recorded in Maxwell, Texas at NHI's headquarters, Julio Cotto and Ernesto Nieto discuss the 2018 Cross Examination debate topic in preparation for the Great Debates.
21:40
May 28, 2018
Infopods 13: About the 2018 Oratory Topic
Recorded in Maxwell, Texas at NHI's headquarters, Julio Cotto and Ernesto Nieto discuss the 2018 Oratory topic in preparation for the Great Debates.
24:05
May 28, 2018
NHI Notables: Ep 8 - A. J. Del Cueto, Filmmaker, TXGD '98, TXLDZ '99, TXCWS '00, JFL '02
Once known as part of a group of friends and high school volunteers known as the "LDZ Gods", A. J. Del Cueto, San Antonio alumnus and filmmaker drops by the NHI Ranch for a conversation about NHI memories, the state of Latinos in film, and future creative projects that set out to tell new Latino stories. A graduate of Central Catholic High School and the University of Texas at Austin, A.J. has been in film and working in digital and creative industries since his graduation from college. He recently went out on his own and hopes to one day establish a studio that paints new Latino and American imagery. Ernesto, A.J., and Julio Cotto discuss symbols, vision, and film as the "next text".
40:22
May 25, 2018
NHI Notables: Ep 7 - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, NATLDZ '05, Candidate for the U.S. Congress
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from Yorktown Heights, New York by way of the Bronx participated in 2005 and in her years has become an Education Director, Onsite Director, Secretary of State, curriculum specialist, trainer, and all around volunteer. This summer, Alexandria will challenge a longtime U.S. Congressman in New York for his seat. This conversation discusses her lessons and challenges of running for Congress in America's largest city while drawing on NHI learning and training as a guide. Ernesto and Alexandria discuss culture, courage, and vision as essentials for any future community leader.
33:24
May 15, 2018
NHI Notables: Ep 6 - John Rodarte, NMLDZ '88, Educator, 1st NM "Ricky Miranda" Recipient, joined by NHI co-founder Gloria de Leon
In this special episode, Ernesto is joined by co-founder Gloria de Leon as they interview New Mexico alumnus and first New Mexico LDZ "Ricky Miranda" award recipient - John Rodarte. A reflective conversation that accounts for over 25 years of history, they discuss the meaning behind the LDZ and its long-lasting impact 30 years after the first expansion LDZ - the 1988 New Mexico LDZ. John also talks as an educator and the importance of reviving the NHI and youth leadership legacy in the Land of Enchantment - New Mexico.
51:32
March 29, 2018
Infopods 12: About the Change a Life Campaign
Ernesto Nieto, NHI President and Founder, joined by Paola Hernandez and Julio Cotto, presents the opportunity for the NHI community to play a financial investor role this Spring through the "Change a Life" campaign. You can learn how you or your business can become investors and make an impact.
13:59
March 28, 2018
NHI Notables: Ep 5 - Tino Villarreal, Athletic Director of St. Joseph Academy, Head Football Coach, and NHI at Tip of Texas Project Administrator
In this episode, Ernesto interviews longtime faculty member, trainer, former staffer, and all around engaged alumnus Tino Villarreal. Tino is the Project Administrator for the NHI at Tip of Texas Alliance but is also an Athletic Director of St. Joseph Academy in Brownsville, Texas. He is also a local leader on several boards and commissions. Ernesto asks Tino tough questions about coaching, leadership, and his NHI journey that started in 1996.
45:23
March 23, 2018
Infopods 11: The 2018 NHI Summer Theme
NHI President and Founder Ernesto Nieto alongside NHI team members Julio Cotto and Paola Hernandez discuss the 2018 Theme. This year, NHI will explore the concept of social labeling and its impact on public policy making throughout the U.S. and Latin America. They discuss the different manner the theme will be discussed at each NHI summer experience as well as the overall importance of having these types of conversations as a future leader.  For more information on NHI, visit
47:59
March 2, 2018
NHI Notables: Ep 4 - Natalia Palmarini, NYC Alumna and team member at the Archdiocese of New York
NYC native Natalia Palmarini has been involved with NHI almost ten years and attended every experience from Great Debate to the LDZ to Celebration to the Collegiate Leadership Network. The Villanova University alumna has also served as a John F. Lopez Research and Management Fellow at NHI's home office and is currently serving as a part of the young faculty at the Northeast Great Debate every summer at her alma mater. She is also an active volunteer and awaiting her sister's participation in NHI this summer. Ernesto interviews this young Latina trying to navigate life just a few years out of college in the big city - New York.
35:38
February 28, 2018
NHI Notables: Ep 3 - Carlos Paz, Communications Director at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Carlos Paz, Director of Communications for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is interviewed by fellow Houstonian Ernesto Nieto, NHI President and Founder. They discuss his leadership journey with NHI, his career in community development and public service. The conversation ends with brief talks about the current political climate in D.C. and what is on the horizon for Latinos in politics.
49:51
February 24, 2018
NHI Notables: Ep 2 - Paola Hernandez, NHI Director of Special Projects
In a new segment, NHI President and Founder Ernesto Nieto launches a series of interviews with notable alumni and partners throughout the NHI community. This second interview is with newer NHI team members, former NHI at El Paso Project Administrators, and longtime volunteer Paola Hernandez. Follow up interviews will include other staff members, Project Administrators, Trustees, faculty, and longtime supporters.
26:21
February 20, 2018
NHI Notables: Ep 1 - Julio Cotto, NHI Sr. VP
In a new segment, NHI President and Founder Ernesto Nieto launches a series of interviews with notable alumni and partners throughout the NHI community. This first test run interview takes place with NHI Senior Vice President and 1997 New Mexico LDZ alumnus Julio Cotto. Follow up interviews will include other staff members, Project Administrators, Trustees, faculty, and longtime supporters.
36:15
February 20, 2018
Infopods 10: About NHI and the High School Leadership Journey
Julio Cotto, NHI Senior Vice President, and 1997 New Mexico LDZ alumnus, interviews Ernesto Nieto, NHI President and Founder, about his motivations and vision in starting the Institute. They also discuss the goals and learning impact of each experience from Great Debate, to the LDZ, to the CWS. They also highlight the unique lesson of each program and how they are relevant to today and the immediate future. Ernesto also gives highlights of what students and families can expect in 2018 including a snapshot of the alumni faculty.  For more information on NHI, visit
31:10
January 5, 2018
Platicas: Ep 4 - Reflections on 2017 and Resolutions for 2018
After an intense 2017, Ernesto Nieto, NHI President and Founder, sits down with NHI Senior Vice President, Julio Cotto, to reflect on the tumultuous 2017 while looking forward to 2018. They take a close look at the state of the Latino community, particularly in the United States. They also look forward to continued challenges and looming opportunities in the new year. This episode was recorded at Esther's Hall at the National Hispanic Institute on Friday, December 29th, 2017.
30:07
January 2, 2018
Platicas: Ep 3 - Examining the New Reality of Leadership
Ernesto Nieto, NHI President and Founder, discusses new social trends and realities with Karla Martinez, NHI alumna and Director of Six Day Great Debates, and Julio Cotto, NHI alumnus and Senior Vice President. For more information, visit .
37:16
May 9, 2017
Infopods 7: The 2017 Mock Trial Topic
In this conversation from NHI's home office, the mock trial topic for the 2017 Great Debate is discussed. Julio Cotto, NHI alumnus and Senior Vice President, interviews Ernesto Nieto, NHI President and Founder. For more information on NHI, visit .
12:47
May 9, 2017
Infopods 9: The 2017 Extemporaneous Speaking Topic
NHI President and Founder, Ernesto Nieto, and Julio Cotto, NHI alumnus and Senior Vice President discuss the Extemporaneous Speaking topic in preparation for the 2017 Great Debate sessions. For more information on NHI visit .
09:58
May 9, 2017
Infopods 8: The 2017 Oratory Topic
Ernesto Nieto, President and Founder of the National Hispanic Institute, and Julio Cotto, NHI alumnus and Senior Vice President discuss the Oratory topic for the 2017 NHI Great Debate sessions. For more information on NHI visit .
11:26
May 9, 2017
Infopods 6: The 2017 Cross Examination Topic
Ernesto Nieto, President and Founder of the National Hispanic Institute, is joined by Julio Cotto, NHI Alumnus and Senior Vice President to discuss the 2017 Great Debate Topic for Cross Examination.
15:49
May 9, 2017
Infopods 5: About the Game of Extemporaneous Speaking
At the home office in Maxwell, Texas, NHI President and Founder Ernesto Nieto, and alumnus and Senior Vice President Julio Cotto discuss the event of Extemporaneous Speaking. One of the events featured annually at NHI's Great Debate leadership experiences, the event of "Extemp" requires quick thinking. They discuss how to prepare for the competition. For more information on the National Hispanic Institute visit .
12:48
May 9, 2017
Infopods 4: About the Game of Mock Trial at the Great Debate
A brief conversation recorded at the home office of the National Hispanic Institute in Maxwell, Texas featuring President and Founder Ernesto Nieto and alumnus and Senior Vice President Julio Cotto. Throughout the talk, Ernesto and Julio explore the purpose, meaning, and structure of the mock trial competition as it is conducted at the NHI Great Debate learning experience in the summer. For more information on NHI, visit .
14:11
May 8, 2017
Infopods 3: About the Game of Cross Examination (CX) at the Great Debate
A brief conversation with NHI President and Founder Ernesto Nieto and Julio Cotto, NHI alumnus and Senior Vice President recorded at the home office in Maxwell, Texas. Throughout the brief talk, they explore the description and meaning of cross examination debate as of of the essential learning games of NHI's Great Debate learning experience. For more information on the
15:48
May 8, 2017
Infopods 2: About the Game of Oratory at the Great Debate
A brief conversation with NHI President and Founder Ernesto Nieto and NHI alumnus and Senior Vice President Julio Cotto about the summer game of "Oratory". "Oratory" is a part of NHI's Great Debate learning experience, part of the annual summer leadership academy of programs that develop future community leaders. In this conversation Ernesto discusses the history of the event and its importance in the development of leaders. For more information on NHI visit .
11:58
May 5, 2017
Infopods 1: Exploring the Great Debate Theme
A brief conversation recorded at the home office of the National Hispanic Institute in Maxwell, Texas with President and Founder Ernesto Nieto and alumnus and Senior Vice President Julio Cotto. The conversation explores the background for this year's Great Debate theme and its importance as a tool for advancing student analysis and communications. The Great Debate is a summer learning experience of the National Hispanic Institute for college bound 9th graders focused on advancing the communications skills of future community leaders. More information can be found at
13:01
May 5, 2017
Platicas: Ep 2 - 76 Years of Life, 37 years of NHI
National Hispanic Institute team members Julio Cotto and Karla Martinez interview NHI President and Founder Ernesto Nieto on the eve of his 76th birthday. In preparation for a celebration on the grounds of the Institute, Ernesto shares stories of getting the organization started while sharing his belief of the future leadership's biggest challenges and opportunities. He recounts stories of establishing this leadership organization driven and led by youth. This episode was recorded at the NHI home office in Maxwell, Texas October 5th, 2016.
49:53
October 27, 2016
Platicas: Ep 1 - A College Conversation with Ernesto Nieto, Karla Martinez & Julio Cotto
In this conversation, Ernesto Nieto interview two members of the NHI staff regarding the influences on their college choice, the challenges of navigating the admissions process, the adjustment to college life, and advice they share to current high school students and families preparing for the next step. The conversation features Julio Cotto, NHI's LDZ director who is a graduate of Boston University and NHI Midwest initiatives lead Karla Martinez who is an alumna of the University of Chicago. This conversation was recorded in September 23rd, 2017 at the Schawe Mansion at the National Hispanic Institute in Maxwell, Texas.
35:20
October 5, 2016