August 25, 2006

Media Advisory — Leadership Conference

U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin will meet with 45 Metro East high school students participating this weekend in an annual leadership retreat at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

Durbin will visit the fourth Paul Simon Leadership Conference at 2:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, in Freeberg Hall/Sledgefoot Lounge. The facility is seven miles south of Carbondale off Giant City Road. Visit to view a map of Touch of Nature.

Conference objectives are reinforcing participants' positive qualities, building on their leadership skills and career awareness education. The conference honors Paul Simon, founder of SIUC's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, who died in December 2003.

During Durbin's visit, participants will build personal computers and learn other technology skills. Other events include a panel discussion on health care industry careers at noon, Saturday, and a presentation by Father Joseph A. Brown, director of SIUC's Black American Studies Program, at 8 a.m. Sunday.

Simon and institute director Mike Lawrence used a 1994 report by the Illinois Commission on African American Males, chaired by former Illinois Attorney General and SIUC graduate Roland W. Burris, as inspiration for the weekend. That report offered recommendations in several areas, including economic development and employment, education, family life and African-American manhood, health and housing.

Contact institute assistant director Matt Baughman at 618/201-0082 for more information.