Learn how to solve problems and take action.

What is civic participation and why is it important for immigrants?

What are the skills, knowledge, and tools you can use to support your community?

What does citizenship mean for new citizens and what are the implications for non-citizens?

How do you use communication skills and innovative technology in the practice of genuine citizenship?

What is the Immigrant Leadership Institute?

The Immigrant Leadership Institute is a training program that prepares foreign born residents of Greater Philadelphia with the skills, knowledge, and tools necessary to engage in the civic life of our city and region.

While recognizing the important economic and cultural contributions immigrants make to our social fabric, the Institute represents a dynamic approach to raising new community voices, increasing social connectivity, and bridging communities.

We believe that our cities grow stronger when its residents are given the opportunity to engage. Thus, increasing the substantive participation of immigrant communities in decision-making processes is crucial for our collective wellbeing. What​ ​will​ ​you​ ​learn?


Sessions​ ​1 &​ ​2:​ ​Immigrant​ ​Leadership

During the first two sessions we will learn about grassroots immigrant leadership by mapping community strengths and taking a closer look at  existing leadership gaps in immigrant communities. We will also discuss leadership qualities and the connection between values and action, relationship building and power, and what can be done to increase civic participation among immigrant communities in our city.


Sessions​ ​3 &​ ​4:​ ​Immigrant​ ​Integration​ ​Strategies

We will do an overview of Immigrant Integration strategies, including economic development, citizenship, and civic participation. We will review the historical concept of citizenship, the current naturalization process, why engaging immigrants is important and the need for transparency in participatory democracy. We will also examine the impact specific social connectivity mechanisms can have on the health and wellbeing of individuals.


Sessions​ ​5 & ​6:​ ​Communication​ ​Skills​ ​and​ ​Technology

In these sessions we focus on learning specific communications skills that enable immigrants to speak intelligently about immigration. We will focus first on understanding the basic tenets of communication and then discuss what is messaging, how to work with the media and social media, and how to utilize innovative technology to get our message across. We will also learn about ways to promote civic participation and mobilize immigrant communities.


Sessions​ ​7 &​ ​8:​ ​Promoting​ ​Change

After learning about basic principles and practices of civic participation, these sessions will focus on how to use information about issues affecting immigrant communities, what policies are in place that make our cities welcoming places for immigrants and what policies are missing. Approaching the question of change by first looking at the strengths in our communities, these sessions will surface specific information about existing concerns and how partnerships can be negotiated to promote change.


Sessions​ ​9,​ ​10:​ ​Action​ ​Projects​ ​Results,​ ​Evaluation,​ ​and​ ​Next​ ​Steps

During the last sessions we will concentrate on understanding the critical role of evaluation and on reviewing the results of action projects implemented by the participants, reflecting on lessons learned throughout the program and developing some tangible next steps for continued engagement and  commitment. We conclude the course with a public graduation ceremony to honor the efforts of the participants and their supporters, and in recognition of the trainers, allies, and partners of the program.

To find out more about the Immigrant Leadership Institute, please get in touch!

Our Director of Community Engagement, Manuel Portillo, would love to talk to you! Send him an email at manuel@welcomingcenter.org or call him at 215.825.7765.