President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will participate for the first time in history in election television programs specially directed at the Hispanic audience.

Spanish-language network Univision will broadcast the forums "to discuss education and the future of the Hispanic community."

Both of the "Meet the Candidates" events - Sept. 19 with Romney and Sept. 20 with Obama - will be held in front of a live audience at the University of Miami BankUnited Center, the network said.

Both of the sessions will be moderated by Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas, the anchors of Univision's main nightly newscast.

"Hispanics will play a key role in electing the next President of the United States and these events will help address key issues so that the more than 20 million Hispanics expected to vote this year can make an informed decision," Univision Networks President Cesar Conde said in a statement.

Conde said that direct contact with Latino voters also shows the candidates' desire to move closer to "a group that is younger and more active in social media than the average citizen, and whose influence in U.S. politics continues to grow."

The two encounters fulfill a demand by Univision that the presidential candidates directly address the Hispanic public.

Given the lack of minority moderators in the presidential debates, Univision in August proposed holding its own debate between Obama and Romney to discuss matters affecting the Hispanic population, although ultimately the two men decided to appear separately. EFE