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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Prophetic Action and Imagination

Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Cortes speaking at podium

The 12th Annual Prophetic Voices Lecture

Ernesto Cortés
Industrial Areas Foundation

Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Time: 5:30-7:00pm
Location: Heights Room, Boston College

Abstract: Social entrepreneurship has an important role in democratic citizenship; innovative public and social action adds value to the world around us by fostering relationships and strengthening communities.  At its best, such action increases the capacity and diversity of a mix of talented leaders to respond to community issues through planning, collaboration, and reflection.  What social action can we take today to embolden prophetic witness and imagination tomorrow? 

headshot of Cortes

Ernesto Cortés is the Co-Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), which provides leadership training and civics education to poor and moderate-income people across the US and UK. He is also the Director of the West / Southwest IAF which consists of 30 broad-based organizations spanning ten states including: California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska and Iowa. Cortés’ affiliation with the IAF began in 1972, after participating in the organization’s leadership training institute in Chicago. In 1974, Cortés organized the San Antonio Communities Organized for Public Service (COPS), the well-known and highly successful church-based organization of San Antonio’s West and South side communities. Cortés has been honored by the MacArthur Foundation, the Heinz Foundation and the John F. Kennedy School of Government in recognition of his accomplishments in the field of community organizing. He completed a year-long fellowship as a Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cortés is a graduate of Texas A&M University, where he majored in English and Economics. He has received honorary degrees from Princeton University, Rutgers University, Southern Methodist University, the University of Houston, Occidental and St. Edward’s University.