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UND Engagement Center in Mountain, N.D., April 30 to celebrate community

Posted on 4/29/2011

MOUNTAIN, N.D. -- Community is one of the region's best assets, according to organizers of a forum to be held Saturday, April 30, in Mountain, N.D., and participants at the fourth annual "Community Connect" forum will be learning how celebrating community can leverage development in rural North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

The forum, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement at the University of North Dakota, in partnership with the community of Mountain. The Community Connect Project, begun in 2006, is a UND-community collaboration designed to link communities with each other and with university resources for community self-development.

The forum, to be held in Mountain's new multi-million dollar community center, will begin with a keynote address, "Community As an Economic Development Tool," by Mark Goodman, a UND graduate and director of the Center for Economic Advancement at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. His appearance is sponsored by the UND Geography Department.

Four panel discussions will be held during the day, featuring the story of how the Mountain Community Center was accomplished, how to make the most of community volunteerism, how to leverage community celebrations as economic development opportunities, and how to promote community events to increase attendance. Exhibitors will be on hand to share resources as well as research and project results.

According to members of the planning committee, the forum's host site, Mountain, is a success story for how their Icelandic identity has led to a sense of community, a famous annual celebration, and a new community center. The Icelandic Community Association, the Red River Regional Council, and other area organizations and businesses are lending support to the event.

Members of the forum planning committee are Curtis Olafson (Mountain, District 10 N.D. Senator), Loretta Bernhoft (Mountain community member), Douglas Munski (UND, professor of geography), Matsimela Changa Diop (UND, Director of Multicultural Student Services), Leslie Geir (Mountain community member), Yuliya Kartoshkina (UND graduate student) , Rachel Manley (community volunteer), Marcia Mikulak (UND, associate professor of anthropology), Sylvia Moore (Mountain ,city auditor), Tim Moore (Mountain, mayor ), Laura Munski (Grand Forks, Executive Director of the Dakota Science Center), Karen Schiff (community member), Kurtis Shelton (RSVP+ Northwest N.D. coordinator), Liane Stout (Buffalo, N.D. community member), Corene Vaughn (Pembina County Commissioner), and Julius Wangler (Red River Regional Council Executive Director).

Full program information is available at

Contact: Lana Rakow, Director, Center for Community Engagement, 701-777-2287, or at

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