Micronesian Area Research Center
Dr. Betances is an internationally renowned, persuasive and entertaining keynoter and workshop presenter. He was a high school dropout who was able to beat the odds and go on to complete two graduate degrees from Harvard University. Dr. B is a product of reading. He taught at Northeastern Illinois University as a Full-Professor of Sociology for 25 years.
He has also taught courses for the University of Guam in Guam, Saipan and other areas in Micronesia and has conducted seminars for CNMI Bilingual Educators on cultural identity, language and culture preservation, and indigenous rights. Dr. Betances has keynoted in conferences in the CNMI, Palau, and Guam on education, identity issues and social change. He has lectured throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on similar issues for over 40 years and has written numerous published articles on bilingual education, the issue of language and identity in the debate on political status, the impact of change in island communities, and the challenge and complexity of responding to new demographics.
He is the author of two books. His latest is: Winning the Future through Education: One Step at a Time. Dr. Betances has worked as a consultant to over one thousand two hundred and twelve school systems both public and private. He has worked in 18 countries all 50 states and four US Territories as a diversity educator and consultant for mission excellence. Currently, he serves as faculty member at the Summer Institute at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and as Senior Diversity Consultant and Trainer for Souder, Betances and Associates, Inc.
Dr. Laura M. Torres Souder is President and CEO of Souder, Betances and Associates, Inc. in Chicago. Through her visionary leadership, she leads a competent team of professionals to provide cutting edge training services to public and private clients in the areas of leadership development, educational transformation, bridging the student achievement gap, organizational change management, diversity and inclusion for mission and bottom-line success.
Dr. Souder earned her BA at Emanuel College in Boston and her MA and PhD in American Studies from the University of Hawaii as a Joint Doctoral Intern at the East West Center. She completed a post-doctoral Ford Foundation Minority Fellowship at De Paul University in Chicago. Laura has presented at Conferences throughout Micronesia, Asia and the South Pacific and has been part of research efforts sponsored by the South Pacific Commission, UNESCO and other entities on the effects of modernization and development on Pacific Island people, language and culture. She served as Curator of the Guam Museum. Dr. Souder also taught at the University of Guam for over a decade. Her courses included History of Guam, Education on Guam, Sociology, Micronesian Studies, Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies. She has written
Dr. Souder also taught at the University of Guam for over a decade. Her courses included History of Guam, Education on Guam, Sociology, Micronesian Studies, Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies. She has written an historical monograph published by the Micronesian Area Research Center at UOG entitled, Daughters of the Island: Contemporary Chamorro Organizers of Guam.; was co-editor of Chamorro Self-Determination and has also authored numerous research papers and technical reports. She was recently recognized by the Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce as the first Chamorro woman to have published a book. Laura Souder has
Laura Souder has extensive background as a senior leader, manager and supervisor in government affairs. She served as the youngest member of the Governor’s Cabinet on Guam at the age of 24 and became the Cultural attaché to the Governor representing Guam internationally. She has also evaluated programs and provided expert testimonies to government agencies, including the United Nations. As a woman of distinction, she has advocated for greater participation of women alongside men in promoting a more just and inclusive society in many diverse forums. Finally, she is spiritually grounded, is gifted with a sense of humor and a greater sense of purpose.