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Institute of Emerging Issues Engages Young Professionals

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By Tyler Gobin

The Institute for Emerging Issues, which convenes leaders from business, nonprofit organizations, government and higher education to discuss and develop action steps to combat the challenges to North Carolina, has moved to the second floor of the new James B. Hunt Jr. Library.

Founded in 2002 by former Gov. Jim Hunt, now the chair of the IEI, the organization now extends beyond its original medium, the Emerging Issues Forum, which was established in 1986 by Hunt. The forum was devised as a means to gather leaders to discuss and debate challenges facing the state. The institute was established to take the ideas created in the forum and put them into action.

In the past, the forum has attracted speakers including former President Bill Clinton, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, The New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and Steve Forbes, among others.

In one of its core initiatives, the Institute made it a priority to tackle the challenges facing Generation Z. Generation Z comprises people born between the years 1990 and 2000. According to the IEI, these individuals are facing a much more competitive global climate than previous generations, which will affect the standard of living and economic stability the members of this generation face.

As part of the mission statement found on the IEI's website, "The opportunities for Generation Z are shrinking, and it is our goal to find new pathways through which they can prosper."

John Coggin, an Emerging Leaders Fellow at the Institute, said he hopes to bridge the gap between students and the IEI, as young people are often affected by new policy initiatives.

Undergraduate students who are looking to make an impact can begin with one of multiple options. The Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation challenges high school and college students to devise a solution for a specific problem proposed by the Institute, with the winners of the competition walking away with cash prizes worth up to $5000.

IEI holds a Discovery Forum each year in downtown Raleigh in which students can present their ideas and network with leaders from the state.

"IEI realizes the importance of engaging young professionals," Coggin said.

"With the IEI located right here on campus, [it] is an incarnation of our mission, and a physical representation of what we do statewide," Dana Magliola, a spokesperson at the Institute, said.
"Students can get inspired, get informed and collaborate with the IEI's new multimedia teaching environment," Magliola said.

The Institute for Emerging Issues Commons offers three different areas of learning: Emerging Voices, Emerging Connections and Emerging Ideas.

In Emerging Voices, students can learn where a citizen or organization has taken a challenge facing the state and made a successful impact. Emerging Connections allows the user to interact directly with raw objective data. The Emerging Ideas area is where people are able to comment on other people's collaborative ideas and input their own ideas into touch screen panel tables.

"You've been inspired, you've been informed, and now we want to enable action," Magliola said.