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Environmental policy and Indigenous governance are the Udall Center's mainstays, and we continue to do excellent policy research and responsively engage with a range of decision-makers in and across both these areas. Our defining features – what make us who we are – include the Udall legacy of civic engagement and evidence-based policy support (affirmed through core support from the Udall Foundation), active collaboration on- and off-campus, and the impact we offer public and private stakeholders, Native Nations and tribal citizens, and an expanding international constituency.
This retreat was a chance to pause and reflect on where we want to go – potential new directions, strengthening teamwork within the Center, thematic choices, new engagements, and above all, re-envisioning our mission and relevance. The real work and tangible progress will come from face-to-face interactions among us, with subsequent input from key partners like RDI, the Udall Foundation, the NNI International Advisory Council, and others which were targeted to be identified at the retreat.
The Director has been thinking a great deal about future directions. Many of the staff heard ideas put forward in January and provided feedback during the application process for the director’s position. With the end of the academic year now upon us and before many of us disperse on travel for research and engagement, it’s time to formally expand the process of strategic visioning and to take stock of opportunities, resource needs, potential limitations, and breakthroughs that we’ll collectively pursue. The topic areas, partners, mechanisms and timeframes for future Udall Center directions are ours to determine and prioritize. This comes at an important juncture – partly as a result of the change of leadership at the Center, evolving UA institutional and financial contexts, and rapid though still uncertain changes in our external funding and programmatic environment. I’m voicing what I’ve heard in listening to many of you as well as numerous partners – and I’m firmly committed to this: future directions of the Udall Center must be based on sharpening strategic priorities, setting clear goals, and strengthening teamwork, partnerships and funding that allow us to achieve our mission while keeping an open and flexible structure as we move forward.