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Beyond Borders Conference Sept. 27

The Portland Public Schools' Multilingual and Multicultural Center will host a conference next week that focuses on the successful integration of immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants to the United States into the economic, social, cultural and political life throughout this country and Maine. The all-day event, titled Beyond Borders: A Conference on Migration and Integration, will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at the University of Southern Maine’s Portland campus.

The keynote address will be given by Dan-el Padilla Peralta, a Princeton University professor and Columbia University Fellow who came to the United States from the Dominican Republic with his family in 1989. In his memoir, “Undocumented,” and in his lectures, Peralta chronicles his journey from the rough streets of New York City to the top of his class at Princeton, offering an honest and inspiring glimpse of the American immigrant experience.

Peralta’s address will be followed by breakout sessions led by experts in the fields of education, workforce development, immigration policy, and integration. Presenters will include representatives from the Portland Public Schools; as well as the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP); the Migration Policy Institute; college professors; and leaders from a variety of local organizations and nonprofits. At the end of the day, local political leaders and changemakers will lead a “call to action” discussion focusing on expanding the learning gained from the conference into attendees’ everyday lives.

The conference welcomes attendees from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including educators, policymakers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, members of community-based organizations, and individuals. For more information on the conference and to register, go to the Beyond Borders page on the Portland Public Schools website. 

Media who wish to attend the conference are asked to RSVP Communications Coordinator Tess Nacelewicz at

The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with approximately 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 50 languages. 49.8 percent of the district’s students are white and 50.2 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.

The Portland Public Schools' Multilingual & Multicultural Center provides support for multilingual students and families in a variety of ways. Services include providing registration assistance for new students, language access for families who need translation and interpretation services, parent orientation sessions for new arrivals to the United States and parent workshop sessions. The center also runs Make It Happen! - a college readiness program for multilingual students.