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Delta Center for Economic Development forms Global Rural Network

Nov. 4, 2008 -- Arkansas State University’s Delta Center for Economic Development (DCED) has initiated a new project called the Global Rural Network (GRN) with the first meeting of the GRN’s “Delta Node” scheduled Thursday, Nov. 6, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Mockingbird Room of the Student Union.

Rick Smyre, president of Communities of the Future (COTF), along with DCED staff members, will conduct an interactive seminar on the concepts of the Global Rural Network, including how “futures” thinking and learning can improve work in rural areas. The seminar is also open to ASU faculty, staff, and students. There is no cost to attend the meeting.

“Our first step is to bring together interested individuals in the midsouth Delta region who would like to be at the cutting edge of ‘futures thinking’ and ‘transformational leadership’ for rural areas as a part of the Global Rural Network,” said Jerry Smith, Director of the Economic Development Association (EDA) University Center.

The GRN is a higher level networking experience in conjunction with the COTF. The focus of the GRN is to develop networks of rural leaders to identify trends and weak signals in areas of a changing society and understand how they will impact rural areas and help leaders understand the change of fundamental principles for economic development.

The Global Rural Network was born out of a two-year collaborative effort between ASU and the North Carolina Center for Rural Economic Development in Raleigh, N.C. Developing a new approach for leadership and economic development that can help complete transforming economy and society in rural areas evolved in the GRN concept.

“Over the next three years, it is our intent to introduce and develop ‘futures learning’ skills and coach leaders on how to apply these new ideas and skills for community transformation in the Delta region of Arkansas,” Smith continued.

For more information, contact Smith at 870-972-3000 or e-mail



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