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Delta Leadership Institute


Many of the 252 counties and parishes that make up the Delta region are characterized by high poverty, high unemployment levels, low educational attainment, and a loss of skilled labor. A corps of innovative leaders is needed to turn the tide in the Delta region and help it to compete in the world compete. The Delta Leadership Institute is designed to improve the decisions made by leaders across the region by strengthening leadership capacity and mutual understanding of regional, state, and local cultures and issues.

According to Dr. John L. Blackburn of the University of Alabama: "A good community is comprised of more than one generation, embraces transcending values that esteem each citizen, and creates a sense of oneness where individuals set aside personal gain, benefit or goals for the sake of the group."

To address this issue, the Delta Regional Authority supports two leadership development programs in partnership with the University of Mississippi, Arkansas State University, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe as part of the Delta Leadership Institute: 

Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy  

The Delta Leadership Institute organizes the Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy, a year-long leadership development program for regional leaders that prepares them to collaborate and address the most-pressing issues of the Delta region. Each of the eight governors and the federal co-chairman nominate five people per year for the program, resulting in an annual class of 50 Delta leaders.

The Executive Academy meets seven times in the year to discuss issues facing the region including healthcare, education, transportation, information technology, clean technology, small business development, and economic development. As members of the Executive Academy delve into a wide range of policy issues, they explore the Delta region in cities from Louisiana to Kentucky, Arkansas to Alabama, and look at the big picture during a trip to Washington, DC, for lessons in policy development and advocacy. 

Delta Leadership Network

Are you a graduate of the DLI? Join the Delta Leadership Network today and continue our work to invest in the Delta. 

These leaders and graduates from the Executive Academy are encouraged to stay in touch with each other, sharing best practices and solutions to common problems. The Delta Leadership Network comprises all alumni of the Executive Academy and is tasked in maintaining these relationships between regional leaders so as to foster collaboration and coalition building in addressing the Delta's most pressing issues. 

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