Anita Brown-GrahamWILSON, N.C. — Anita Brown-Graham, Director of the Institute for Emerging Issues, will be the speaker at the 112th annual commencement exercises of Barton College in Wilson, N.C., scheduled for Sunday, May 11.

“It is indeed a pleasure to welcome Anita Brown-Graham as Barton’s speaker for this spring’s commencement exercises,” shared Dr. Norval C. Kneten, president of Barton College. “I first met Ms. Brown-Graham in 2007 when the Wilson community began the task of establishing the Wilson 20/20 Community Vision. When the UNC School of Government was chosen to support this planning effort, it quickly became evident that her breadth and depth of experience would be extremely instrumental in helping us move this burgeoning long-range planning program forward. She proved to be a tremendous resource, serving as our lead consultant and creative catalyst. Now leading the Institute for Emerging Issues, she continues to be invaluable to our state as she brings together diverse members of leadership to achieve inspiring partnerships.”

Brown-Graham joined the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) as director in January 2007. The Institute for Emerging Issues, which is part of North Carolina State University, brings people together around complex issues in pursuit of a single goal: to ensure North Carolina’s future competitiveness. IEI engages people from all regions, all sectors, and all points of view to facilitate consensus and encourage action.

Under Brown-Graham’s leadership, IEI has worked to bring diverse groups together around emerging issues in the fields of health, education, environments and the economy. During her tenure as Director, IEI’s annual Emerging Issues Forum has brought experts to NC to discuss complex topics such as Teachers and the Great Economic Debate, Changing Landscapes: Building the Good Growth State, and Heathcare Innovations.  In addition to the Forum, IEI works across the state to convene thousands each year in meaningful conversations that facilitate action at the community level.

Before joining IEI, Brown-Graham served as a Professor of Law and Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government, where for 12 years she provided significant training for state and local officials and wrote books and articles focused on developing the economic base of distressed communities. Prior to that, she served as a law clerk in the eastern district of California and as business litigation counsel in a law firm in Sacramento, Calif.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and completed additional graduate studies in criminal justice at Louisiana State University. Her Juris Doctor degree was completed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Triangle Business Journal recently named her to the list of Women in Business for 2014. In 2013, Brown-Graham was honored as a White House Champion of Change.

Brown-Graham is active on various national and state boards and committees. In 2010, the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science awarded her a three year fellowship for a global comparative study on the role of higher education in driving innovation-based economies. In 2005, Brown-Graham earned an Eisenhower Fellowship, awarded by the Eisenhower Foundation in recognition of leadership impacts, to travel to South Africa for a comparative examination of issues of race and class. In 2004, she served as an American Marshall Fellow in Europe. Among a variety of additional honors and recognitions, Brown-Graham was awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2001.

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