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Tuskegee University selected to host International Institute on Rural Policy Studies

July 02, 2018

Contact:  Brittney Dabney, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

ICRPS Summer Institute student in classroom
ICRPS Institute students in classroom.

Tuskegee University is hosting the 15th annual International Comparative Rural Policy Studies (ICRPS) Summer Institute from June 24 to July 7 on the university’s campus. The two-week program brings together an international, multi-disciplinary group of faculty, students and professionals to study the many facets of rural policy — from policy formulation to policy impacts. This year’s theme focuses on social justice, rural and natural resource policy.

The ICRPS Summer Institute provides a unique opportunity for students to meet and work together on comparative rural policy issues and make invaluable research and networking contacts. They also benefit from the diverse expertise among the participating faculty, who represent disciplines that include anthropology, business, economics, environmental studies, geography, indigenous studies, planning, policy studies, political science, and sociology.

Dr. Thierno Thiam, chair of the History and Political Science Department, noted all of the participants have one thing in common –– they have a strong interest in public policy, and come together to discuss relevant policy issues.

“The ICRPS program is the first of its kind that enables students to examine and compare the role of rural policy in different cultural, political and administrative contexts in Europe and North America, as well as in the South,” Thiam said.

Tuskegee will lead this year’s participants in an intensive exploration of how the context of the Black Belt South provides a lens through which disparities in social, economic and environmental justice impact the national and international discourse on race, culture and class.

“The theme was selected by virtue of who we are as Tuskegee, a school that rests in the south, and a city that has played a tremendous role in the civil rights movement,” Thiam said. 

Since 2004, the ICRPS summer institute has taken place in North America and Europe in alternating years. Nearly 400 graduate students have benefited from the innovative blend of classroom instruction, rural visits, and research meetings.

“This is a diverse program that incorporates graduate and mid-career professionals from majority and minority institutions, as well as universities in Western Europe, Canada and Latin America,” Thiam noted.

The institute will provide participants the skills to analyze and compare policies at the international, national, state, regional and local levels. It also provides the opportunity to study the nature and implications of new forms of governance in rural contexts.

This year’s program will include approximately 25 graduate students and 18 faculty members from universities around the world. Sessions will include lectures, panel presentations and interactive activities.

For more information regarding Tuskegee University’s involvement with the International Comparative Rural Policy Studies program, including a daily blog, visit

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