Posted on May 11, 2010 by Tia Lalani

Christopher Thrall speaks to Lars Hallstrom about Creating Rural Connections.

By Christopher Thrall –

Lars Hallström, Director of the Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities (ACSRC), and Karsten Mündel, Director of Learning and Beyond (LaB) at Augustana, will represent our campus at the Alberta Rural Development Network’s Creating Rural Connections conference in Lethbridge this month. The Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN) is a partnership of 21 post-secondary institutions in Alberta which work together to support and enhance rural development.

“This is the first major event to be created and hosted by the ARDN,” says Hallström. “It’s a significant step forward in building the profile of this network. The conference will provide the opportunity for researchers, community members and representatives from rural communities across the province to connect, find out what others are doing, and possibly develop joint initiatives.”

Drs. Hallström and Mündel will give a presentation on a newly-created rural internship program. As part of that internship experience, the ACSRC and LaB will bring the interns to the conference.

Creating Rural Connections will enable people involved in rural development to share information and ideas. More than 60 presenters will take part in the keynote and concurrent sessions on topics ranging from sustainable rural living to quality of life, governance and leadership to renewable energy and agriculture.

“This conference emphasizes the link between research, education and community success, and provides extensive opportunities for networking, exchange and collaboration,” said Dee Ann Benard, ARDN’s executive director. “We hope it will lead to new working relationships between rural communities and post-secondary institutions to help communities move in the direction they want.”

The ACSRC promotes collaboration in facing the diverse and unprecedented challenges faced by rural communities, challenges which have not received the kind of prominent and sophisticated research and policy consideration as have the needs of major cities in recent years.

The ARDN was established in 2006 when all of Alberta’s publicly-funded, publicly-governed post-secondary institutions signed a memorandum of understanding. Adult education and training are key to strengthening communities: ARDN members contribute educational leadership in their communities, and works with its members to ensure that rural needs are addressed. Their new website connects rural Albertans and researchers to information related to rural development.

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