Institute for Emerging Issues

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Institute for Emerging Issues
Color Wheel Logo.png
MottoConnect. Think and Do.
FounderJim Hunt
TypePublic policy think tank
  • Raleigh, NC

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.


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[edit]

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.

Emerging Issues Forum[edit]

The annual Emerging Issues Forum continues to be IEI's signature event, drawing more than 1,000 attendees each year. The first annual Emerging Issues Forum took place on January 8, 1986 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh, NC. The theme was "Innovation and Competition: The Challenge to America." Speakers and participants included Chancellor Bruce Poulton, Governor Jim Hunt, NC State Student Body President Jay Everette, John A. Young, and Jim Goodnight, among others.[1]

Past speakers include former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter,[2] 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.

Forum History[1][edit]

1986: Innovation and Competition: The Challenge to America.

1987: Winning In The Global Economy

1988: Taking Control of the Future. (featuring Governor Bill Clinton)

1989: Education For a Competitive Economy.

1990: Global Changes In The Environment: Our Common Future. (featuring Carl Sagan)

1991: Changes in Europe: Challenges for America. (featuring Jimmy Carter)

1992: Priorities for America’s Future

1993: Strengthening America: New Economic Strategies.

1994: Investing in Health: An American Agenda. (featuring First Lady Hilary Rodham Clinton)

1995: Conflict, Competition, Cooperation: Power Politics in a Changing World. (featuring Ambassador Madeleine Albright; this was the 10th anniversary of the forum)

1996: The Knowledge Explosion: What the Payoff for Americans?

1997: Economic Forces: Shaping the Next Half-Century

1998: People and Planet: A Fragile Partnership

1999: Global Economic Storms. (featuring Vice President Al Gore)

2000: Shaping our Common Future

2001: First in America: Charting the Course for Excellent Schools

2002: Biotechnology and Humanity at the Crossroads of a New Era

2003: Jump Starting Innovation: Government, Universities & Entrepreneurs

2004: Creative Responses for Global Economic Change

2005: My Health Is Your Business: Making Healthcare Work in North Carolina (featuring President Bill Clinton)

2006: Financing the Future (featuring Steve Forbes)

2007: Transforming Higher Education: A Competitive Advantage for North Carolina (featuring U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings)

2008: North Carolina’s Energy Futures: Realizing a State of Opportunity (featuring Jeffrey Immelt)

2009: Changing Landscapes: Building the Good Growth State? (featuring David Brooks)

2010: Creativity, iNC (featuring U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan)

2011: An Idea Exchange for Healthcare (featuring Indra Nooyi)

2012: Investing in Generation Z

2013: @Manufacturing Works

2014: Teachers and the Great Economic Debate

2015: Innovation Reconstructed

2016: FutureWork

2017 Focus Forum: Kidonomics: The Economics of Early Childhood Investment?

2018: Kidonomics: Investing Early in Our Future.

New Forum Model[edit]

In 2018, the Institute introduces a new model for forums, having two forums per year over three years, all focused on a theme: reconnecting North Carolina.

2018-2021: Reconnect NC

Fall 2018: Reconnect to Community (featuring David Brooks)


The Institute for 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,[3] serving as the director.


  1. ^ a b Institute for Emerging Issues Records, 1985-2007 (UA011.006), Special Collections Research Center at NCSU Libraries
  2. ^ "NCSU Timelines". Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  3. ^ "Boney Named Director for Institute for Emerging Issues". 2016-10-25. Retrieved 2018-09-07.

External links[edit]