Assistant Dean Zapata Named
One of Region's Most Influential Latinos
by Alisa Giardinelli
Assistant Dean and Director of the Intercultural Center (IC) Rafael Zapata is one of the Delaware Valley's most influential Latinos, as chosen this month by the Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress and the Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations. Those named represent a wide range of fields, including politics, education, economics, and social services.
A member of the Swarthmore community since 2002, Zapata counsels and advises students on personal and academic concerns as assistant dean. In addition, in his role as IC director, he works closely with students of color, queer students, and their allies around issues of culture, identity, leadership development, and social justice education. In this capacity, he has facilitated collaboration between Swarthmore and Taller Puertorriqueño, featuring artists such as Danny Hoch and Mariposa Fernández, musical groups Yerbabuena and The Welfare Poets, and various scholars and activists from across the country and Puerto Rico.
Zapata served on the board of Taller Puertorriqueño, a Philadelphia cultural/arts organization, from 1996-1998. He rejoined the board in 2003 and since June 2006 has served as board chair. Since 2000, he has served as a reader and trainer for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. In addition, from 2004-2007 Zapata served as a peer reviewer for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, which annually disburses over $2 million to local arts and cultural organizations.