LeadAR, one of the state’s leadership programs, is searching for its next class of leaders.
Operated by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, LeadAR offers participants an in-depth and global view of issues facing their communities, state and country. The 22-month program includes bi-monthly seminars, a week in Washington, D.C., to gain insight on the policy-making process and how it impacts Arkansas, and an international study tour to compare communities and economies and find cultural sharing opportunities.
“Our overall goal is to equip leaders with the knowledge, skills and network they need to make a difference in their communities or organization,” said Julie Robinson, associate professor of leadership, who coordinates the program. “They will learn about issues affecting rural and urban areas of Arkansans and how the state is interwoven.”
Applications for Class 19 opened June 8 and will be accepted through July 20. The application form can be found at https://bit.ly/303pcMO.
Participants selected will attend three-day seminars every other month in different communities and regions in Arkansas. Sessions will focus on infrastructure, public health and local food systems, education and criminal justice, natural resources, community development and workforce, public policy, row crop agriculture and livestock/poultry.
Some of the seminars may be delivered online, depending on circumstances regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, with community visits and tours scheduled for a later time, Robinson said.
The program culminates with an international study tour to learn how international issues compare and impact Arkansas. Past classes have visited Greece, Bolivia, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, Scotland, Panama and Costa Rica, Brazil, and China. The most recent class toured Belgium and Netherlands in 2019.
LeadAR, founded in 1984, was originally modeled after the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s leadership training program. Now, more than three decades later, LeadAR has more than 500 alumni serving as leaders in businesses and communities throughout Arkansas, especially in rural and agricultural areas.
Between 25-30 people are accepted into the program every other year. Class members will be announced in early September, and the program begins in late September. Applicants must be at least 25 years of age and can live in any part of the state, work in any sector and be in any stage of their career.
Past participants include educators, farmers, advocates, bankers, state legislators, lawyers, mayors, quorum court, city council, school board members and more. Ideally, participants will come from rural and urban areas, with 25% of the class representing agriculture or agriculture-related sectors.
LeadAR is supported by LeadAR alumni, corporate donors, foundations and the UA System Division of Agriculture. The cost to participants is $3,000.