Past Events

Our Spring Series in partnership with 


Community Resilience

Pandemics, politics, and persistent social problems make our communities seem more fractured and polarized than ever. Yet, we must all live together and create communities where people are safe, prosperous and healthy. How do we create communities where folks can come together even if they have differences in experiences, perspectives, and opportunities? How do we build communities to be more adaptive, resilient, and inclusive? How do we focus on community locally so that we can meet the challenges of the world? This series tackles the idea of community resilience, and the ways we can all work together to create stronger communities, starting right here in Western Michigan.

Available on the World Affairs Council's YouTube page

Watch the archive.

Thursday, April 15

6:30-7:30 p.m.

“Towards a Newly Vital Midwest”

 with John Austin, Director, Michigan Economic Center

Nonresident Senior Fellow with Brookings Institution and Chicago Council on Global Affairs


Photo of John Austin

Austin will share insights from his 2020 Chicago Council on Global Affairs Report: A Vital Midwest, and the opportunities and challenges facing the Midwest in building newly prosperous, inclusive and resilient communities. 

Then, he'll discuss how Covid-19 has changed the picture, and extend the discussion to include the common challenges and opportunities facing similar historic industrial regions around the world. 

Monday, April 19

6:30-7:30 p.m.

“Empowered People = Community Resilience”

panel discussion with: Tarah Carnahan, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Treetops Collective

Willie Patterson III, Director of Community Engagement, LINC Up

Carlos Sanchez, Director, Latino Business and Economic Development Center at Ferris State U.



Communities are formed when people come together. And when people prosper, communities do, too. This group of panelists will highlight the ways individuals have exhibited resiliency--and the equity gaps that still remain.

Photo of Tarah Carnahan
Photo of Willie Patterson III
Photo of Carlos Sanchez

Monday, April 26

6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

“Responsive Government = Community Resilience

panel discussion with 

Nicole Hofert, City Planner, City of Wyoming

Stephen Kepley, Mayor of Kentwood

Milinda Ysasi, Grand Rapids (2nd Ward) City Commissioner 

Join us for this panel, where officials from our local municipalities discuss the opportunities and challenges for community resilience.

Photo of Nicole Hofert
Photo of Mayor Stephen Kepley
Photo of Milinda Ysasi