Missouri State University: Public Affairs Conference

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

By Cecilia M. Orphan, National Manager, American Democracy Project

I am pleased to announce the upcoming Public Affairs Conference at Missouri State University (MSU). MSU has long been a leader in the American Democracy Project, and this conference is one of the signature events of their on-campus and regional project. The Public Affairs Conference will take place April 12-15, 2011, and will be held on MSU’s campus in Springfield, Missouri.

The ADP organizers at MSU recognize that the challenges facing American democracy are increasingly complex and call for a new kind of leadership and collaboration. Along these lines, Gloria J. Galanes, Provost for Public Affairs at MSU and Conference Chair writes that, “Most people from the United States envision leadership as synonymous with ‘take charge’ behavior. This narrow view of leadership assumes that if someone is not visibly directing and controlling the activities of others, that person is not exhibiting leadership. This is, however, only one model of leadership—and not necessarily the model most likely to be effective in addressing contemporary issues.” Gloria goes on to write that “we need leaders who understand the need to collaborate with others, who both want to and are able to bring multiple voices to the table to ensure that the best ideas have the opportunity to surface and be recognized.” We couldn’t agree more.

At the Public Affairs Conference, participants will explore  strategies for effective leadership and collaboration with the goal of bringing diverse groups of people together to solve public problems. The conference will also showcase leaders from all around the world. This is why we’re hoping many ADP schools will consider sending representatives to this important conference.

All events are free and open to the public. No registration is necessary for conference events. The conference features a series of keynote presentations, panel discussions, and special events throughout the week, which touch upon business, family, international issues, the arts, and education.

I am heartened by MSU’s recognition that we must use new and different leadership, thinking, and strategies for collaboration to solve the pressing social problems we’re facing. This conference will be an excellent opportunity for participants to develop the collaborative leadership skills that we, as a democracy, so direly need.

To learn more about this exciting conference, please visit this website.

Question: How has your ADP chapter been deliberate about developing student leadership skills for the 21st Century?

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