Rural Futures Institute to host panel discussion, tour with rural innovators from Japan

Rural communities in Japan and the United States face similar challenges such as recruitment and retention of young people, decline of primary and local industries, sustainability of natural resources. Similarly, entrepreneurial leaders in both countries are thinking and acting boldly to identify and build on resources to develop creative, strategic solutions.

In partnership with Japan Society, based in New York City, N.Y., and Japan NPO Center, based in Tokyo, the Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska will host five Japanese entrepreneurs and community leaders for a panel discussion entitled, “A Thriving Rural Future in Japan and the United States.” This free, public event is 3 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center, 1505 S Street. A reception will follow from 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Panelists and guests will explore alternative models, best practices and strategies for creating resilient and vibrant rural communities of the future. Panelists from Japan include:

The panel will be moderated by Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D., RFI Associate Executive Director and Chief Futurist, and Japan Society and Japan NPO Center representatives will be present.

This is one of two public forums to be hosted in the U.S. during a two-year funded project received by Japan Society and Japan NPO Center. Through RFI, the University of Nebraska is the only higher education institution from the United States involved.

On Oct. 28 RFI leadership will take the guests to Nebraska City, Neb., to tour the Kimmel Education & Research Center and Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard, and Auburn, Neb., to tour Nemaha County Hospital and visit BCom Solutions and the Rural Impact Hub.

Overall, the project seeks to build leadership capacity and consolidate lessons and learning from efforts to revitalize small towns and rural areas in the U.S.-Japan context. Specific topical areas of exploration include:

Extended guest biographies at


The Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska leverages the talents and research-based expertise from across the NU system on behalf of rural communities in Nebraska, the U.S. and around the world. Through a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, RFI encourages bold and futuristic approaches to address rural issues and opportunities. It works collaboratively with education, business, community, non-profit, government and foundation partners to empower rural communities and their leaders.

@rural_futures | /ruralfutures