Education Symposium are trying something different for 2017: staging the event in Edmonton, in an attempt to attract more participants from the provincial government.
The strategy appears to be working, as anywhere from four to seven cabinet members will kick off the conference with a minister’s panel, with participants speaking about rural sustainability from the perspective of their particular portfolios.
“It will be an opportunity for attendees to hear what the different ministries are thinking with respect to rural Alberta,” said organizer Bob Allen.
| Todd Hirsch
|| Doug Griffiths
Following the panel, there will be a reception that will enable Albertans to interact with the ministers. All Alberta MLAs have been invited to attend, Allen said. Allen has also organized a panel of several deputy ministers who will talk about rural sustainability.
The symposium will take place March 5 to 7 at the Fantasyland Hotel. The theme is “From Ideas to Action: Making the Connections.” It will feature keynote addresses from Doug Griffiths, a former municipal affairs minister and teacher, and Todd Hirsch, chief economist for ATB Financial.
Hirsch will speak about the economic outlook for rural Alberta and the entire province, while Griffiths will give a talk entitled “13 Ways to Kill Your Community.”
“It is a very interesting perspective on the things that we need to do to keep rural communities viable in Alberta,” Allen said. “Doug is going to facilitate an action planning workshop for the attendees with the intention of creating some sustainability plans.”
Allen explained that his hope was to have attendees create something they can take back to their communities and put into action.
“We are really excited for the opportunity to bring people from the rural areas of the province together to discuss rural sustainability,” he said. “With the decline in population in rural Alberta, some areas are having a challenging time making a go of it, and not just schools.”