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New Mexico State University

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NMSU symposium on quality of life as social justice stresses engagement

The 9th Annual J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium is the second part of a two-year effort between New Mexico State University and various community leaders to address issues impacting the quality of life in Las Cruces and Southern New Mexico. This year, organizers hope to establish a shared understanding of what it means to improve quality of life for residents and to build on concepts from last year that will empower local agencies and other organizations to achieve community goals.

NMSU's College of Arts and Sciences, along with the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico, J. Paul Taylor, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Dona Ana County, are sponsoring the symposium, titled "Quality of Life as Social Justice. Engage!" The two-day event runs from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Friday, April 5, at NMSU's Corbett Center Auditorium and continues from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, at the Las Cruces Convention Center.

"The J. Paul Taylor Symposium continues this important annual tradition of focusing on issues of social justice, as has been the mission of Paul Taylor himself for many decades," said planning committee member Miriam Chaiken, NMSU department head and professor of anthropology. "He inspires us to examine new ways to improve the quality of life for people in Dona Ana County, and this year our theme is engagement."

Day one of the symposium will focus on learning about engagement. Leaders from the region, including local government, public health and education, businesses and faith-based organizations who began the dialogue last year, will join members of the public from throughout Dona Ana County to discuss health and economic disparities, food security, education and literacy as well as the "Engage for Change" model to work toward improving the quality of life for area residents. Day two will focus on using engagement to improve transportation for Dona Ana County.

"We will examine ways in which the university, community, elected leaders and NGOs have collaborated to make things better, and we use this as a model for finding solutions to problems of local concern," Chaiken said.

Participation is free and breakfast and lunch will be provided. To register or for more information contact Mariaelena Johnson at 575-915-0583 or j.paultaylorsymposium2013@gmail.com.