Lincoln Díaz-Balart
Lincoln Díaz-Balart

Lincoln Díaz-Balart ’72 knows that reaching a political agreement is often a difficult task. But, in a democracy, lasting progress is only possible through dialogue.

So what makes true dialogue possible? Find out at 5 p.m. Thurs. Feb. 18 via Zoom as Díaz-Balart hosts “Reflections on a Congressional Career: Lessons for Today’s Politics.” The talk is part of the “New Topics New College 2020-2021” series, which is a collaboration between New College and the New College Foundation.

Díaz-Balart is a practicing Cuban-American attorney, consultant and human rights advocate who is based in Miami. He represented South Florida in the Florida Legislature from 1986 to 1992, and in Congress from 1993 to 2011. He authored and passed significant pieces of legislation in Congress, such as the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act of 1997, which granted legal residency to hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the United States who were previously at risk of deportation.

Díaz-Balart also founded the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) in 2003, for which he still serves as chairman. CHLI provides internships and leadership training to college students in Washington, D.C. After leaving Congress in 2011, Díaz-Balart founded El Instituto La Rosa Blanca (The White Rose Institute), which stands in solidarity with the pro-democracy movement in Cuba.

When New College released a recent series of videos for its “More than Just a Number” campaign, Díaz-Balart talked about the impact New College made on his life.

“New College is academic rigor with freedom and diversity of thought—very rigorous studies, but students structure their course of study with their academic adviser, with a professor, and diversity of thought,” he said. “Ever since I was student government president there, it’s characterized New College. I think respect for diversity of thought is more important now than ever.”

To mark New College’s 60th anniversary, this year’s “New Topics New College 2020-2021” series features noteworthy alumni, like Díaz-Balart, whose New College experience prepared them for careers of exceptional impact.

The series runs from October through March, and tickets are $10. Reservations can be made here or by calling the New College events hotline at 941-487-4888. Tickets are free for New College students, faculty, staff and alumni. Reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance.

For more information on this and other “New Topics New College” events, visit

Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is a top-ranked public liberal arts college and the state’s Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in arts, humanities and sciences, a master’s degree program in applied data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

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