Fostering economic development and revitalization in rural communities represents one of the most important challenges facing North Carolina and the nation. Join scholars, practitioners, and advocates to take stock of the current economic and political landscape, to consider what a new economic strategy for rural North Carolina could look like, and to consider the policy changes necessary to provide national leadership on rural economic renewal. Themes highlighted include rural identity, access to broadband, political organization and the local example of Wilson, North Carolina.
Please use the link below to RSVP:
Politics, Policy, and a New Economic Strategy for Rural North Carolina
Monday, March 28 & Tuesday, March 29, 2022
Chair: The Honorable Tony Copeland, former North Carolina Secretary of Commerce
Keynote: Dr. Mandy Cohen, EVP and CEO of Aledade Care Solutions and former Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
Day One: Monday, March 28
10:30-11:00 AM Registration
11:00-1:00 PM Welcome and Remarks from Conference Chair, Tony Copeland
Lunch will be provided
1:00-2:15 PM Session 1: Rural Communities Now: Exploring the Current Landscape
In this opening session, leading national experts and advocates will discuss what rural communities look like today, the challenges that they currently face, how the contemporary economic landscape/the new economy differs from those of the past, and how well our narratives regarding rural economic development fit the current landscape. The session will also include discussion of innovations that we’ve seen in rural economies that offer powerful examples for community development and revitalization. Moderated by Lindsey Haynes-Maslow, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences at NC State University.
2:30-3:30 PM Keynote Address with Dr. Mandy Cohen, EVP and CEO of Aledade Care Solutions and former Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
4:00-5:15 PM Session 2: Contrasts and Connections: Perspectives on Rural and Urban Communities
Panelists will discuss trends in rural and urban economic development in recent decades and will start by establishing what “rural” and “urban” currently mean in North Carolina. Panelists will pay particular attention to how economic opportunities have been unfolding in rural and urban communities, workforce development, and the role that new businesses play in shaping economic development, with a particular focus on providing opportunities for young residents. Moderated by Mac McCorkle, Professor of the Practice in the Sanford School of Public Policy.
5:30-6:45 PM Session 3: Developing a New Economic Strategy: Lessons from the North Carolina Fund
Panelists will discuss Terry Sanford’s North Carolina Fund, its innovative approach to addressing poverty in North Carolina and the model that it provided for national change, and the lessons that it provides policymakers working to address pressing issues in today’s politically charged policyscape. Moderated by Joel Fleishman, Professor of Law and Public Policy at Duke University, Director of the Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society and the Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Center.
Day Two: Tuesday, March 29
8:30 – 9:00 AM Registration
Coffee & pastries will be provided
9:00 – 10:15 AM Session 4: Case Study: Spotlight on Wilson, North Carolina
Wilson, NC offers a powerful case study for successful investment in rural communities. In this discussion, panelists will provide insight into Wilson’s journey and the revitalization efforts that have contributed to its being described as “the next innovation hub in North Carolina.” Moderated by Anderson Clayton, Broadband Analyst, Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc.
10:30 – 11:45 AM Session 5: Vital Infrastructure and Broadband Access
This panel focuses on the infrastructure necessary for economic development, offering an assessment of existing infrastructure and considering the kinds of infrastructural developments that are necessary to promote thriving rural communities. The discussion will pay particular attention to broadband access and its significance for a new economic strategy for North Carolina. Moderated by Dr. Sarah Verbiest, Executive Director of the UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health and Director of the Jordan Institute for Families at UNC School of Social Work
11:45 – 1:00 PM Lunch Break
Lunch will be provided
1:00 – 2:15 PM Session 6: Rural Communities and the Politics of Identity
Panelists will discuss diversity in rural communities considering issues like the social constructions of rural communities and how social and political portrayals of these communities compare with reality. The discussion will pay particular attention to the experiences of diverse populations that call rural communities home. Moderated by Abdullah Antepli, Associate Professor of the Practice, Sanford School of Public Policy and Associate Professor of the Practice of Interfaith Relations at Divinity School.
2:30 – 3:45 PM Session 7: Political Organization in Rural Communities
Panelists will discuss the democracy work that is taking place in rural communities, including the efforts of political parties, campaigns, and other organizations that aim to mobilize residents of rural communities for political engagement. Moderated by Deborah Goldstein, Executive Director, North Carolina Leadership Forum.
The Sanford School of Public Policy and Polis: Center for Politics also thank the following co-sponsors:
Center on Rural Innovation
Duke Rural Policy Club
North Carolina Leadership Forum
North Carolina Scholars Strategy Network