Dina Siegel Vann
Dina Siegel Vann, a native of Mexico City, serves currently as Director of The Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs of AJC in Washington, D.C.
Ms. Siegel Vann’s involvement has been central in the development of the vision and the Business Plan for this Institute, reflecting the developing intersections between Latino priority concerns and issues driving the US-Latin American agenda today. Among the Institute’s main goals is pursuing outreach and coalition building efforts with the Latino communities in the US. At the same time it seeks to ensure the strengthening of ties between the U.S., Israel and Latin America, Jewish life in the region, and the stability and prosperity of all of the Americas.
Since immigrating to the United States in 1996, Ms. Siegel Vann has established an ongoing dialogue on the issues of democracy, pluralism, and human rights in Latin America with the diplomatic corps, U.S. government officials, Congress, the media, and representatives of non-governmental organizations, think tanks, and academic circles dealing with inter-group and Latin American affairs.
She has traveled widely and consistently throughout Latin America developing a vast network of political contacts. Thanks to her efforts, the Institute bestowed the 2005 and 2007 Light unto the Nations Award to Presidents Ricardo Lagos of Chile and President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia.
She was responsible for organizing the first Latino-Jewish Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. in March, 2001. More than 100 leaders of both communities met to identify issues of common concern and to craft a cooperative agenda for the future. She has organized several trips to Mexico and to Israel of national Latino and Jewish leaders. In 2006, she led the first mission to Israel co-sponsored by the National Council of La Raza. The latter resulted in the release of a Statement of Latino and Jewish Joint Purpose urging both communities to increase their level of involvement in U.S. foreign policy, particularly regarding the Middle East and Latin America.
One year later, she conceptualized and implemented the forum Latino Jewish Relations and the Challenges of Foreign Policy and Immigration Reform. The all-day event on Capitol Hill brought together Members of Congress and leaders of both communities to discuss the intersections between the domestic and hemispheric agenda with immigration reform as a compelling case study. She also coordinated two round table discussions between Latino and Jewish Members of Congress on Capitol Hill in July 2000 and March 2003.
She was the main force behind the convening of two workshops for Mexican American leaders at the national level, together with the Institute of Mexicans Abroad, seeking to provide key strategic tools to participants to succeed as community leaders, based on the U.S. Jewish model of empowerment.
Before her current position, Siegel Vann served as United Nations and Latin American Affairs Director for B’nai B’rith International. She participated as a delegate to the World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa and to two sessions of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva.
From 1982-1996 she served as Political Affairs Director for the Mexican Jewish Community. She was responsible for acting as spokesperson for Mexican Jewry and opening channels of communication with the top opinion leaders from government, political, academic, religious, and media circles in the country.
Siegel Vann graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in English Literature from Tel Aviv University and holds an M.A. in Public Relations from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
In 2006, she was distinguished by the Central American Coalition of Nevada as a “Distinguished Friend of Central America” for her efforts to foster close ties between Latinos and Jews in the U.S.