The Georgetown Conference – Rural Redefined.

April 2 – With leading speakers confirmed from across Canada, The Georgetown Conference, Rural Redefined is shaping up as a must attend event for anyone committed to ensure the viability of rural Atlantic Canadian communities.

The October 3-5 conference to be held in Georgetown PEI is about harnessing the spirit that exists in rural communities throughout Atlantic Canada, and will enable rural leaders with expanded networks and innovative ideas that they can transfer to their home communities and ongoing work.

The conference will focus on simple but powerful questions: What makes a community thrive? Do we need to redefine ‘rural’ or ‘community’ in line with evolving realities?  What are the most important challenges and opportunities for rural Atlantic Canada? 

The opening keynote “Rural Community Commitment and Success” will focus on success stories and the importance and benefits of location and sense of place.  Zita Cobb, President of the Shorefast Foundation, will speak about transformational initiatives on Fogo Island, and will be joined by Georgetown Conference Co-Chairs Donna Butt and Gilles Lepage as panelists.  Ray Ivany, President of Acadia University and Chair of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building our New Economy, will moderate.

Mary Beth Doucette, Associate Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies, Cape Breton University and Sheila Jans of Madawaska, Maine, co-author of the St. John Valley Creative Economy Project, will lead a panel discussion on the topic “The Practice and Process of Rural Community Sustainability”, focusing on rural community-based development and lessons learned.

A session on “The Business of Rural Communities” will feature Georgetown Conference co-Chair John Bragg and be moderated by Nancy Mathis, Executive Director of the Wallace McCain Institute.  This session will evolve into an interactive dialogue with diverse entrepreneurs, including examples of social enterprise.

The conference finale will be a series of “Community Builders’ Circles” modeled on the ECMA’s “songwriters’ circles”, featuring leaders of inspiring initiatives that have made a difference in their communities.  Ben Cowan-Dewar will present a session on the economic and moral boost that Cabot Links has brought to Inverness, Cape Breton, and there will be sessions led by young entrepreneurs, leaders in collaborative rural health and representatives of community foundations.

The conference will attract 250 ‘doers and producers’ from rural communities throughout Atlantic Canada as delegates.  Conference co-Chair Wade MacLauchlan, who is President Emeritus of the University of Prince Edward Island, commented: “We have been very impressed by the widespread expression of interest in attending The Georgetown Conference from leading community volunteers, from people with a stake in traditional industries as well as the new economy, and by people who are getting involved for the first time, including young entrepreneurs and new immigrants.”  MacLauchlan adds: “It is clear that the theme ‘rural redefined’ is striking a responsive chord, and that Atlantic Canadians dedicated to moving rural communities forward see this as a timely and necessary initiative.”

Get involved:

For more information contact:

Mike Kierstead
Executive Director
Newspapers Atlantic

Phone: 902-402-3777

Rural Redefined: