Forum Programme

Sunday, June 19

12:00-5:00 Registration : SW VA Higher Education Center
5:30 – 8:00 Opening Reception : Martha Washington Inn A Virginia Welcome
  • Governor Mark Warner, State of Virginia (Invited)
  • Charles W. Fluharty, Director, Rural Policy Research Institute & Conference Co-Chair

Music Entertainment by The Highland All Stars

Monday, June 20

8:30 – 9:00Tea/coffee
9:00 The Power of Place
  • Charles W. Fluharty, Director, Rural Policy Research Institute & Conference Co-Chair – Moderator
A Regional Welcome and Framing
  • Anne B. Pope, Federal Co-Chair, Appalachian Regional Commission (Invited)
  • Congressman Rick Boucher, Virginia, United States House of Representatives (Invited)
A Conference Welcome and Framing
  • John Bryden, Scotland, Chairman, International Rural Network
  • Tom Johnson , United States, Board Member, Rural Policy Research Institute & Conference Co-Chair
The Power of Place: Empowering Rural Innovation
Power to Act Locally – New Governance
  • Charles W. Fluharty, Director, Rural Policy Research Institute & Conference Co-Chair - Moderator
  • Brady J. Deaton, United States, Chancellor, University of Missouri - Columbia
  • Jose Maria Caballero, Mexico, Lead Agricultural and Rural Development Economist, World Bank
  • Mary Robertson Lacroix, Canada, Manager, Innovative Rural Communities Project and Founder, Ontario Rural Council
  • Marta Marczis, Hungary, Project Manager, UNDP for Democratic Governance Regional Support Centre Europe
12:30 – 2:15Lunch
2:15– 3:45Workshop Sessions
3:45 – 4:15Break
4:15 – 5:45Workshop Sessions
6:30Picnic on Barter Green
8:00Mountain Tales and Music, Roadside Theatre Barter Theatre

Tuesday, June 21

8:30 – 9:00Tea/coffee
9:00 – 10:30 The Power of Place : Healthy People through Healthy Communities
  • Wayne Myers, United States, Past Director, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy - Department of Health & Human Services and Past President, National Rural Health Association - Moderator
  • Lakshmi Murthy, India, Founder Vikalpdesign, Udaipur, Rajasthan
  • Aileen Robertson, Denmark, Registered Public Health Nutritionist & Consultant
  • Craig Veitch, Australia, Professor of Rural Health, School of Medicine, James Cook University
10:30 – 11:00Break
11:00 – 12:30Workshop Sessions
12:30 – 2:15Lunch
2:15 – 3:45Workshop Sessions
3:45 – 4:15Break
4:15 – 5:45 Workshop Sessions Option: Trip to Bristol Motors Speedway (until 6:30)
Evening Events on own
  • Theatre
  • Biking & Walking tours of Virginia Creeper Trail
  • Appalshop Film Festival
  • Local Restaurants

Wednesday, June 22 : Mobile Tours

Mobile Workshops

On Wednesday, June 22, midway through the conference, participants embarked on a day long mobile tour of the area. The day began at 8:30 at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center with departure times set for 9:00. Elements of the day tours included several stops to view local projects and meet local people, presentations on the bus and early evening dinner events with local entertainment from the community. There were eight different options to choose from.

Whitesburg, Kentucky hosted by Appalshop and the Center for Rural Strategies. Traditional and more recent histories of the area were presented as well as a visit to arts and crafts center, rural health center, a mining site and concluded with a “Coal Miner’s Dinner” and Square Dancing.

Alta Pass, North Carolina hosted by Handmade in America, visited the EnergyXChange at the Yancy County landfill, the town of Bakersville, a Handmade Small Town program. Delegates participated, dined and were entertained at the famous Orchard at AltaPass

Jonesboro , Tennessee’s oldest town and the home of National Storytelling Festival and International Storytelling Center hostedhis tour. Participants heard the many stories of Appalachia and the town demonstrated what it did to tap into the historic preservation and cultural arts to transform the community. Time was also spent at the local craft shops before the evening dinner, held in the Old Eureka Hotel with great food and mountain music.

Abingdon, Virginia hosted a half day tour of the local community. Participants visited the Art Center, local wildlife center and talked with local residents and elected officials, and had a walking tour of the town.

Carroll County , Virginia tour began in Abingdon and wend its way south along the Virginia Creeper Trail visiting a winery, a community center, a wellness center and featured a stop at the Crossroads Institute in Carroll County, an innovative partnership between the Carroll County Public Schools and Virginia Cooperative Extension Service. This tour was hosted by the newly established Council for Rural Virginia.

Dublin, Virginia is the location of Virginia’s First Regional Industrial Facility Authority and they hosted this tour. Delegates learned about regional cooperation, where a citizen driven effort transformed competitors into cooperators, both business and local government, for the benefit of the region. There was a wonderful evening of food and entertainment.

St. Paul , Virginia - Wood, Water, Wildlife, & Coal - Delegates visited sites for an on-the-ground discussion of sustainable timber harvesting, utilization of low-grade hardwoods in buildings, solar dry kiln operations and more. Delegates lunching with St Paul High School Team Estonoa students saw the nationally recognized wetland restoration and education center project. Local crafts, impact of brownfields on communities, and restoration of surface mines for productive post-mining land uses. Buffet dinner of locally produced organic farm fair with music by Sandy Shortridge of Buchanan County was provided.

Wise County, Virginia is located in the beautiful southwestern portion of Virginia in the heart of the Appalachian mountains and is home to many innovative and creative partnerships successfully developed to address the health, transportation and technology needs of its citizens, particularly its frailest and eldest citizens and the families providing care for them. The tour visited examples of these partnership including a visit to University of Virginia’s College at Wise, the Mountain Empire Older Citizens, Inc complex, the John Fox, Jr. House and Museum, Mountain Empire Transit and the St. Mary’s Health Wagon. The tour concluded in Coeburn, “The Town of Friendly People”, with a delightful and fun-filled evening of fun, food, fellowship, music and dancing.

Mobile Workshops are supported through a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission. Check out the National Geographic:Discover Appalachia website at to learn more about the areas our delegates visited

Thursday, June 23

8:30 – 9:00Tea/coffee
9:00 – 10:30 The Power of Place: Education and Sustainable Development
  • David McSwan, Australia , IRN President - Moderator
  • Jeannie Herbert, Australia, Chair of Indigenous Australian Studies, James Cook
  • Dumisani Nyoni, Zimbabwe, Vice Chairperson, EcoVentures International
  • Rachel Tompkins, Ed.D, USA, President, Rural School & Community Trust
10:30 – 12:00Workshop Sessions
12:00 – 1:45Lunch
1:45 – 3:15Workshop Sessions
3:15 – 3:45Break
3:45 – 5:15Workshop Sessions
Evening Conference Banquet
Music Entertainment provided by East Tennessee State University Bluegrass Band

Friday, June 24

8:00 – 8:30Tea/coffee
8:30 – 10:00Workshop Sessions
10:00 – 10:15Break
10:15 The Power of Place: From Vision to Practice
Creating a space in public policy for community voices to be heard
  • Rick Foster, United States of America, Vice President for Programs, W.K. Kellogg Foundation - Moderator
  • Marilia Bernardes, Brazil, President, Open Cities International Foundation
  • Marcia Brand, United States, Director, Office of Rural Health Policy, United States Department of Health & Human Services
  • Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, USA (Invited)
  • Kathryn Packer, United Kingdom, Head of Rural Policy, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Conference Concluding Thoughts
  • Brian Dabson, Associate Director, Rural Policy Research Institute
1:00IRN Luncheon
IRN Business Meeting
5:00IRN Evening Gathering
Martha Washington Inn


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