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Missouri State Hosts Public Affairs Conference

The 2nd annual Public Affairs Conference at Missouri State University is underway. The theme of this year's conference is "Horizons of Citizenship." Mike Smith has the story.

Missouri State University will host the second annual Public Affairs Conference, themed "Horizons of Citizenship." The event will be held April 19-21 and will bring a variety of noteworthy speakers from around the country to the Springfield campus. The conference is free and open to the public.

"The conference is really a showcase or a quick snapshot of the type of resource that higher education and a university can be for our democracy," said Dr. John Strong, assistant to the provost for public affairs. "A university, and specifically Missouri State with its mission in public affairs, provides forums for citizens to gather together in order to explore and discuss public issues that are important to our democracy. Last year's conference succeeded beyond our expectations as just such a resource for our community, and the line up of speakers coming to this year's conference promises to exceed what happened last year."

During the conference, panels will present discussions that offer perspectives from business, entertainment, education, politics, religion, health and other subject areas. Keynote speakers scheduled at the conference include Senator Sam Brownback, former Senator and vice presidential candidate John Edwards and former Senator David Pryor, along with former Missouri State University President Dr. John Keiser.

Among those scheduled to participate in panel discussions at the conference are: Ambassador Kenton Keith, former ambassador to Qatar and chair of the board of directors of the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange; Dr. Jacek Grodzicki, director of the International Research Center for Resolution Disputes at the University of Gdansk located in Poland; Syd Lieberman, an internationally-acclaimed storyteller, author and an award-winning teacher; Hannah Stauts, currently Idaho's youngest mayor and the youngest female mayor in the United States; and Byron Smith, an award-winning editor for film and television currently finishing "Running with Scissors," produced by Brad Pitt and starring Annette Bening, Alec Baldwin, Brian Cox and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Free parking will be available for the event in lots 13, 27 and 29 at the National Avenue and Monroe Street intersection.

Background information for conference speakers and complete program information is available online at www.publicaffairs.missouristate.edu/conference