Institute for Emerging Issues

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The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) is a non-partisan public policy organization that exists to enhance North Carolina’s long-term prosperity. A “think-and-do tank,” IEI connects North Carolinians across sectors, regions, and perspectives for collaborative work on key emerging issues affecting our state’s future economic competitiveness. As a unit of North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC), IEI advances the University’s research, service and outreach contributions statewide. IEI was formally established by the University’s trustees in 2002.

History The Institute’s roots reach back to 1986, when Gov. James B. Hunt, Jr., and NC State Chancellor Bruce Poulton convened the first Emerging Issues Forum. The Forum is an annual, two-day gathering of international, national and statewide thought leaders and stakeholders who discuss challenges and opportunities for North Carolina. A defining feature of the Forum is participants’ collaborative effort to build consensus around specific recommendations for further collective action.

In 2002, the University’s trustees established the Institute of Emerging Issues to administer the annual Forum and to conduct a related program of work across North Carolina.

Process and Work IEI serves North Carolina as a “unique convener,” regularly gathering leaders from business, nonprofit organizations, government and education to discuss and develop action steps designed to enhance North Carolina’s future prosperity. IEI focuses its works in four issue areas: education, healthcare, the natural and built environments and the economy. IEI partners with stakeholder organizations across North Carolina to arrange productive conversations in communities throughout the state.

In 2013, IEI launched the Emerging Issues Commons, an innovative, award-winning “civic engagement gallery” located in the James B. Hunt, Jr. Library, on NC State’s Centennial Campus. IEI is expanding its connection to citizens and their concerns through the Commons, which includes a digital platform.

The annual Emerging Issues Forum continues to be IEI's signature event, drawing more than 1,000 attendees each year. Past speakers include former President Bill Clinton, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, Steve Forbes and others. Recent Forum topics have included “Generation Z,” advanced manufacturing and world-class teaching.

On February 5-6, 2018, IEI will host the Emerging Issues Forum, “kidonomics,” at the Raleigh Convention Center. State and national early childhood and economic development experts will focus on early childhood investments and how those investments impact the state's wider economic future. As with every Forum, IEI staff will facilitate a process through which attendees define and build consensus around specific responsive actions.

Leadership The Institute of Emerging Issues reports formally to the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. IEI is guided by a National Advisory Board, chaired by Mr. John F.A.V. Cecil, President, Biltmore Farms, LLC. Gov. James B. Hunt, Jr., who served as founding Chair 2002-2014, is Chair Emeritus. Leslie Boney joined IEI in January 2017, serving as the director.


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