Past Engagement Topics

International Engagement

RUPRI has served as a trusted source of rural policy expertise in international organizations across the world. RUPRI has served on numerous Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) working groups, has held fellowship roles with the German Marshall Fund, and has conducted joint research projects with scholars from the European Union. 

RUPRI has a long-standing relationship with numerous Canadian organizations, including as a partner with the Rural Policy Learning Commons at the University of Brandon in Manitoba, Canada. Our project work has included partners from the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation.

Rural people and places across the globe have many challenges in common, which have given rise to exciting innovations in policy and practice in different contexts.  There is much to be gained for rural America to be exposed to these innovations and for rural America to share its learning with others. RUPRI opens international channels for exchanges of ideas opportunities, and experiences in rural and regional development among policymakers, academics, and practitioners.

RUPRI continues to develop a set of institutional linkages worldwide that span the competencies of research, policy analysis and engagement, dissemination and outreach, and decision support tools.

RUPRI hosted the 4th annual International Rural Network Conference in Abingdon, VA. More than 300 scholars and practitioners from 40 countries attended the 2005 international conference, which included topics of education, community development, culture, tourism, and health.

Highlighted Work

Browse the RUPRI library for more related to International Engagement.

Human Services Panel

The RUPRI Human Service Panel was formed in 2008 to examine the rural human services infrastructure and the consequences of this infrastructure on rural people in need of services. We believe that an integrated human service system (both within human service delivery field and aligned with the healthcare delivery system) with available flexible funding and a person-centric delivery model will provide better outcomes for rural people and is well-suited to the reality and circumstances of rural human service needs.

The Panel examines a wide range of human service issues, including poverty research, child welfare, community development, service delivery administration, immigrants and migrant workers, and legal justice.

This section includes all policy briefs and papers produced by the Rural Human Services Panel during their years of operation.

We envision a system of rural human services delivery in this nation that responds to the unique social and environmental characteristics of rural America, and that are sufficiently resourced to serve the needs of its people. These systems of care and services will have the following characteristics:
  1. All individuals and families will have reasonable access to essential human and social services from wherever they may reside.
  2. Public funding for rural human services take into consideration the increased burden of costs created by geography, distance, and economies of scale due to the size and distribution of the population in rural service regions.
  3. Delivery systems that emphasize prevention and early intervention, and are responsive to the changing cultural, ethnic, and age diversity of rural populations.
  4. Delivery systems that recognize, respect, and support the inherent creativity, resiliency and culture of rural residents and communities.
  5. Systems that encourage local and regional empowerment, efficient coordination of services, and allow programmatic flexibility, administrative simplicity, and mutually beneficial partnerships.

Highlighted Work

Browse the RUPRI library for more from the Human Services Panel.

Browse the RUPRI library for more related to Human Services.

Rural Poverty Research Center

The RUPRI Rural Poverty Research Center operated 2002–2005 through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Center worked to examine (1) the causes and consequences of poverty in rural areas through both social and economic lenses, and (2) the factors affecting the success of policies for improving social and economic sustainability in rural and low-income communities.

The RUPRI Rural Poverty Research Center offered doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships 2003-2006 to nurture young scholars, provide high-quality research to the policy community, and develop the scholarly community capacity through the mentoring of young scholars.

Learn about our fellows and where they are now.

  • Jessica Ziembroski, Assistant Professor of Social Sciences, Augusta University
  • Monica Fisher
  • Allison De Marco, Advanced Research Scientist, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, and Adjunct Faculty, School of Social Work, The University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill
  • Christine Pegoraro Schull, Professor, Early Childhood Education, Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria, VA
  • Deborah Harris, Professor of Sociology, Texas State University

Highlighted Work

Browse the RUPRI library for more from the Rural Poverty Research Center.

Browse the RUPRI library for more related to Poverty.

State Policy Panel

The State Policy Panel analyzed the interdependence of urban and rural economies, resources, investments, and citizens, and how public policy affects these dynamics.

The Panel also made recommendations for inclusive decision-making structures and processes that promote participation, collaboration, and organizational, institutional, and governmental innovation.


Building sufficient capacity remains a critical rural challenge. If rural communities and regions are to plan for and implement intentional futures, validating the beneficial interdependence of rural regions surrounding thriving urban growth centers, hard and soft rural infrastructure must be strengthened.

This will require inclusive decision-making structures and processes, which promote participation, collaboration, and organizational, institutional, and governmental innovation. Diverse age, gender, ethnicity, income, and geographic constituencies must be included and engaged.

The future of rural regions and the communities of which they are comprised will be largely determined by their innovation, entrepreneurship, and asset-based placemaking successes. Equity of opportunity for economic, cultural, and social success must all be present and aligned, or future community success will be compromised.

State, regional, and local policy considerations must increasingly include specific attention to land, water, air, and natural resource stewardship, a key future quality of life determinant.

As with innovation and stewardship, a cornerstone will be a spirit of civic engagement, with active citizen participation in local decision-making, and a more general concern for state and federal policy considerations affecting their rural future. These processes must be acknowledged and encouraged.

The State Policy Roundtable was a collaborative discussion with a mission to provide rural policy leaders with powerful, proven tools to enhance rural research, practice and public policy at the state level. The ultimate goal is to create more vibrant rural communities and increased prosperity in our rural regions, our 50 states, and our nation.

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  • Identify and share emerging innovations in state and sub-state policy and program design.
  • Conduct or coordinate research to assess the impact of these innovations.
  • Build clearinghouse capacity to drive information exchange and lessen duplication of effort in these approaches.
  • Help rural regions identify, implement and maximize viable, sustainable options for renewal and development.
  • Connect practice and research to policy development and execution, to ensure evidence and experience-based successes are taken from the ground to the policy process.
  • Clearly articulate both the unique rural challenges and opportunities that the public, private, and philanthropic sectors face in supporting the above activities.

Highlighted Work

Browse the RUPRI Library for past work from the State Policy Panel.

Browse the RUPRI Library for more related to Public Policy.