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Tuesday | 7:30 p.m.

April 20, 2021

Free Virtual Event

Hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences’ Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program

Fairfield University’s annual MPA Summit is a yearly public forum that brings public administration students and members of the community together with business leaders, economists, political analysts, and elected officials, to participate in a constructive dialogue about important public administration challenges directly affecting the state of Connecticut and our local communities.

The title of this year’s summit is “COVID-19 and its Impacts in Rural America” and will feature current Biden administration appointee Dr. Olugbenga Ajilore, Senior Advisor for Rural Development (USDA).

Free and open to the public, the livestream event will feature a community Q&A.

Dr. Olugbenga Ajilore, senior advisor for Rural Development at the USDA, will discuss the trajectory of the 2020 pandemic in rural America. In his talk, he will discuss the myths that are prevalent in many discussions about rural America. Drawing attention to these myths is vital as it leads to an incorrect narrative of rural communities, which is damaging because it ignores the underlying structural problems that plague so many rural communities. Reframing how we think and talk about rural America helps direct policies and programs for rural communities, to  ensure that they survive and thrive in a post-COVID world.

Olugbenga (Gbenga) Ajilore is a senior advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary for Rural Development at the United States Department of Agriculture. Prior to his current role, he was a senior economist at the Center for American Progress and former associate professor of economics at the University of Toledo. His expertise includes regional economic development, macroeconomic policy, and issues in diversity and inclusion. He has been invited to testify before Congress and has been featured in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He holds a PhD in economics from Claremont Graduate University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
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