NIU Center for Governmental Studies celebrates 50 years

For 50 years, NIU’s Center for Governmental Studies (CGS) has provided applied research, technical assistance and public sector capacity-building services to our region, state and beyond.

On Thursday, Nov. 7, a one-day conference will be held in DeKalb to celebrate CGS’s five decades of generating and sharing knowledge with its many university and external partners, and to chart a course for the future.

Diana Robinson, director of the Center for Governmental Studies

“This celebration will not only highlight CGS’s accomplishments, but also will be future-focused. We will explore how to understand and harness the demographic, economic, environmental and technological forces that are reshaping our world,” said Diana Robinson, CGS director.

“It will be a day of celebration and idea exchange among community stakeholders in Illinois. CGS will use information from the day to help decide our strategic priorities for the next three years. Learning communities will be created for those interested in continuing to formulate innovative and effective solutions. Attendees will become better connected to like-minded stakeholders as we examine the complex challenges confronting our region and share successful approaches to navigating those challenges,” said Robinson.

Founded in 1969, CGS has an interdisciplinary staff with advanced degrees in fields such as public administration, public policy, business, economic development, history, computer science, data analysis and statistics, and mathematics. CGS works directly with community leaders in governmental and non-governmental organizations.

The CGS 50th Anniversary Conference at NIU Holmes Student Center in November is titled, “Shaping Our Future: Purpose. Partnership. Possibilities – Framing Sustainable Solutions.” The featured morning keynote speaker is Neil Howe, best-selling co-author of “The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny” and over a dozen other books on generations, demographic change and fiscal policy. Afternoon keynoter is Rebecca Ryan, APF, presenting “Future Perfect: Local Government’s Next 50 Years.” She will share the three core issues that local government must get right to remain relevant for future generations. 

NIU President Lisa Freeman will welcome attendees with observations on the day’s themes and the university’s role in addressing them. During the lunch presentation, NIU’s Anne Kaplan and James Banovetz will highlight important milestones in CGS’s history.

Morning and afternoon breakout sessions will focus on four priority areas affecting hundreds of northern Illinois communities with which CGS has worked:

new models and strategies to strengthen local economies; environmental stewardship and energy conservation; fiscal sustainability in civic organizations and local governments; and, new and emerging community health challenges and resources.

The sessions will feature subject matter experts and panelists who will frame the issues, challenges and opportunities. Sessions will promote interaction between panelists and attendees to discover innovative solutions and suggestions for future partnerships with NIU.

Complete details, the day’s schedule and registration information for the CGS 50th Anniversary Conference are available online

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