Welcoming Newcomers


Airdate: March 14, 2019

Federico Rios is the International Business and Immigrant Integration Manager for the City of Charlotte. His work focuses on community outreach and improving systems to help immigrant newcomers. Previously, Federico was program director for the Northeast Learning Community and Newcomer Services for Communities in Schools in Charlotte. He has several years experience serving as a mental health professional in Charlotte and in New York City. Federico is a board member of the Leading on Opportunity Council and Communities in Schools in Charlotte. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in serving immigrant communities, false and true narratives, embracing a new city, and optimism about equity and justice.  


  • Federico explains his role serving the immigrant and international business community in Charlotte and how his position came about.

  • He notes how a dramatic shift in demographics has led to a need to better welcome newcomers and immigrants.

  • He discusses a false narrative about immigrants and the part race plays in the response to undocumented residents.

  • Federico answers whether he supports open borders and amnesty for undocumented residents and whether his views influence his work as a municipal employee.

  • He talks about growing up in Queens, New York, what his parents taught him, and the person who helped him complete his college education after the tragedy of 9/11.

  • Federico discusses how his career began, how he found his way to Charlotte, adjusting to a new community, and going through a difficult moment.

  • He remembers his experience at working at Communities in Schools.

  • Federico answers whether he has an interest in public office and whether he is optimistic about equity and justice in America.

plus Mark’s Personal Word Essay: Out of Many, One

To Learn More About Federico

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This episode is sponsored by Blumenthal Performing Arts, celebrating its 25th year presenting the best in performing arts. 

Further support is provided by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, one of America’s leading urban public libraries, delivering exceptional services and programs, with a mission to improve lives and build a stronger community. 

And by the Arts & Science Council, Charlotte-Mecklenburg's resource hub and lead advocate for the regional cultural community, providing Culture for All.

Additional support is provided by the UNC College of Arts + Architecture, celebrating a decade of creative education in the arts and design.