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University Hosts Delta Leadership Institute

The McLean Institute teams prepares the final details for the Delta Leadership Institute. / Photo courtesy of Ole Miss communications

McLean Institute plays lead role in program designed to build leadership skills across eight-state region

OXFORD, Miss. – The first session of the 2013 Delta Leadership Institute will convene Nov. 4-7 at the University of Mississippi. The university’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement is playing a leading role in organizing and implementing the program, which is funded through a grant from the Delta Regional Authority.

Approximately 52 leaders from the DRA’s service area are expected to attend. The DRA is a federal-state partnership that serves 252 counties and parishes in parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

“The Delta Leadership Institute’s purpose is to build leadership skills among Delta residents and to encourage partnerships between the public and private sectors in order to improve and support community and economic development throughout the Delta region,” explained Albert Nylander, director of the McLean Institute and professor of sociology.

“The ultimate mission and takeaway is for the leaders to return to their home communities with new ideas and initiatives to improve the quality of life for Delta residents.”

During the four-day institute, participants will receive an in-depth orientation to the program and the region. They will be introduced to the DRA and its priorities: small business and entrepreneurship, education, bio-economy, public policy and governance, public health and the region’s infrastructure. Discussions will include a vision for the Delta region, systemic poverty that plagues much of the region, building relationships with elected officials and opportunities for economic development throughout the Delta region.

UM Chancellor Dan Jones will address the group on Nov. 5. Presenters include Bill Triplett, DRA chief of staff; Vaughn Grisham, director emeritus of the McLean Institute; Kappi Allen, tourism director for the Clarksdale/Coahoma County Chamber of Commerce; and Bill Luckett, mayor of Clarksdale.

Attendees will be treated to a bus trip to Clarksdale with stops at the Delta Blues Museum and Hopson Plantation.
As the program development administrator for the program, the McLean Institute will partner with Arkansas State University’s Delta Center for Economic Development and the University of Louisiana at Monroe to offer DLI programs to participants across the region.

“One of our priorities in the UM 2020 Strategic Plan is ‘Transformation through Service,’ and the Delta Leadership Institute creates the opportunity for our university to engage the Delta region and its leaders through training and developing the leadership skills needed for the 21st century,” Nylander said.

The next session of the DLI will take place in New Orleans during January 2014.

More information about the program is available online at http://mclean.olemiss.edu/.

Sharon Morris, Ole Miss News Desk

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