American Dream Award event on December 11


Thanks to Bob Forrant and Derek Mitchell for an excellent presentation last night on of immigration in Lowell.  The talk was held at the Pollard Memorial Library and was sponsored by the Lowell Historical Society.  Bob provided the historical context and Derek, who is the director of the International Institute of Lowell, explained current immigration policies and practices.  It was a refreshingly rational discussion of immigration especially in light of the misinformation and disinformation that will predictably follow the President’s speech on immigration this evening.

Derek also used last night to promote the International Institute’s American Dream Award event that will be held on Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 5:30 pm at UTEC.  The recipient of the Award will be Luis Pedroso, a former client of the International Institute.  Below is a press release about the event which I urge everyone to attend:

96 year old International Institute of Lowell honors former client Luis Pedroso

Lowell, MA — November 17th, 2014– One of Lowell’s oldest social service agencies, the International Institute, will honor Luis Pedroso with the American Dream Award on December 11th at UTEC in downtown Lowell.  The American Dream Award is presented to an individual who embodies the work ethic, ingenuity and generosity that are hallmarks of the immigrant experience.

About Luis Pedroso

Luis and his family were clients of the International Institute when they first moved to Lowell in the 1970s. Luis is the co-founder and president of Accutronics, Inc., a full service EMS provider, with $25 million in yearly sales.  He is the co-founder of the Saab-Pedroso Center for Portuguese Culture and Research at UMass Lowell as well as the largest private donor to the Helio and Amelia Pedroso Endowed Chair in Portuguese Studies at UMass Dartmouth.

About the International Institute

The International Institute has been supporting new arrivals like Luis and his family since its founding in 1918.  The American Dream Award event will unveil an interactive timeline that tracks the last 100 years of immigration in Lowell and immigrant stories from the Institute’s archival files.  Attendees are encouraged to bring information about their own family roots in the area to add to the timeline with opportunities to connect current Lowell residents with their ancestors historic files and photos.

Proceeds from the event will support ongoing services for newly arrived immigrants and refugees.  Currently, the Institutes serves over 500 individuals annually with employment programs, ESOL classes, youth services, savings match programs and citizenship clinics.  “We are thrilled to be celebrating the achievements of Luis Pedroso and the positive role that immigrants have played –and continue to play–in Lowell’s economy, culture and social identity”, claims IILowell Site Director Derek Mitchell.


For more information on the American Dream Award, ticket sales and sponsorship opportunities, contact IILowell Site Director, Derek Mitchell at or visit