Symposium Keynote Speakers Announced!

This summer the Center for Small Towns will be hosting the 2014 Symposium on Small Towns “Understanding Rural Migration: Myths, Trends, and Opportunities Exposed” on the beautiful University of Minnesota, Morris campus. June 4-5 will bring a diverse group of individuals from all over the region and country to western Minnesota with the goal of better understanding rural migration, and the reality of the rural narrative. Four keynote speakers will also be journeying out to Morris to speak at the conference, engaging in conversations that surround the topics that they are passionate about. 

 Ben Winchester and Randy Cantrell will be taking a deeper look at the rural demographic and migration trends which can be used to take on the typical doom and gloom statistics of rural life. Ben is trained as a Rural Sociologist and works as a Research Fellow for the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality, and Randy focuses on institutional change in rural areas, with a special emphasis on the role of the rural church. Rewriting the rural narrative is the central theme of the symposium, and one Winchester and Cantrell will be able to talk about vividly. 

 Craig Schroeder, a Senior Associate for the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, will talk about the youth voice and involvement in rural issues and the future of rural policy makers. Schroeder will be bringing experience from his work in creating the Youth Attraction Formula, a tool for Great Plains communities to address persistent population decline largely due to significant youth out-migration. 

 Jim Russell, a geographer studying the relationship between migration and economic development, will be present on the “Age of Return Migration”. His keynote address will focus on the shifting of the global economy, national migration patterns and what opportunities are, and will be, created. Russell is a former graduate trainee in the National Science Foundation funded “Globalization and Democratization” program at the University of Colorado Boulder. Russell specializes in geopolitics, globalization, and international migration. 

 All of the Symposium keynote speakers are incredibly accomplished in their field of study and are excited to bring a new perspective of rural migration to Morris. Their talks and workshops will be showcased throughout the two days, and the Center for Small Towns is eager to facilitate new and innovative dialogue between symposium participants and keynote speakers.

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