Founder & President
IRENE VILAR is an award winning author and Guggenheim fellow, publisher, environmental activist, and founder and executive director of the Colorado based non profit Americas for Conservation + the Arts 501(c)(3). Vilar serves on the advisory council of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry as well as on the boards of the Latino Alliance for Literacy Advancement and the Jaipur Literary Festival. She is also a member of the Denver Foundation Environmental Affinity Group (EAG). Vilar has been an active public speaker for multicultural literacy, reproductive and mental health, environmental justice, and access/equity issues in connecting communities to the outdoors. Since the publishing of Vilar’s first book in 1996, she has given numerous academic lectures and workshops on writing, reproductive health, and environmental justice. Vilar gave the keynote at the 2010 National Convention of State Senators and Legislators Hispanic Caucus on Latino Mental Health, “Severe Depressive Disorder: Overcoming Adversity and Stigma”. Vilar is also a member of the Oxford Union Debate Society and a recipient of the Community Builder 2016 Love This Place Award from the City of Denver Office of Sustainability.
AFC+A www.americasforconservation.org and its main four programs, the annual Americas Latino Eco-Festival ALEF (leveraging the arts and Latino leadership for conservation gains) Mandel Vilar Press MVP (advancing diversity and conservation in publishing), United Cultures for Arts + Nature Youth Ambassadors U-CAN (growing the next generation of diverse eco leaders through the arts), Latina Environmental Giving Circle LEGC (powering Latina environmental stewardship) aim at environmental and multicultural education and a diverse, non segregated, and inclusive conservation agenda facilitated by arts engagement.
MVP www.mvpress.org is the first and only non-profit publishing initiative in the US advancing both diversity and conservation in publishing. In its 1st 18 months of operations 2014-2016, MVP has published 10 books, received 7 national reviews, made it to Miami's One Book One City program, received a Washington Post best of Fall 2016 feature, and two Publisher Weekly starred reviews
ALEF www.americaslatinoecofestival.org has garnished in its first four editions 20 national features and over 30 million media impressions. Through is annual k-12 eco exhibit AFC+A’s education component works with 20 plus schools in Colorado and Mexico and has engaged over 5k students. AFC+A has, through ALEF, brought together 2,000+ advocates, conservation enthusiasts, national media, policy-makers, and leaders from the world's leading organizations representing Latino constituencies and environmental mandates, as well as 12,000+ community at large.
Irene Vilar also founded The Americas book series published by the University of Wisconsin Press and now at Texas Tech University Press. The series published over fifty books in translation in the last ten years and is considered an important contribution in the advancement of democracy through publishing across cultures. See HERE for a statement on this crossroads.
Vilar was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Her memoir The Ladies’ Gallery (Other Press, 2009, originally published in 1996) was a Philadelphia Inquirer and Detroit Free Press Notable Book of the Year and was a finalist for the 1999 Mind Book of the Year Award. Her latest memoir, Impossible Motherhood (Other Press, 2009), has been published in Italy, France and Germany, and won the 2010 IPPY Gold Medal for Best Memoir/Autobiography and the 12th Latino Book 2nd Place Award for Best Women’s Issues. Both memoirs explore generational and national trauma.