Dr. Edmund Buckner selected as a 2023 Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy Fellow

One of Alcorn State University’s professors will participate in a program that enhances the skills of community leaders.

Delta Regional Authority selected Dr. Edmund Buckner, professor of agriculture, as one of the 2023 Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy Fellows. Buckner is one of 40 community leaders from eight states chosen to participate in the program.

The institute is an extensive, nine-month executive leadership program that brings together public, private, and nonprofit sector leaders from the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt. The program provides fellows with resources to address local and regional challenges via local, regional, and national experts-led sessions. The sessions cover policy areas such as infrastructure, transportation, small business, entrepreneurship, workforce development, public health, and other sectors necessary to promote economic growth in the region.

“The Delta Leadership Institute is an integral part of strengthening the economic prosperity by investing in the Delta’s most valuable resource: our people,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Dr. Corey Wiggins. “The 2023 DLI Fellows are the most diverse group of community leaders we have ever convened, and I look forward to seeing their personal growth over the next year as they develop the skills needed to move the region forward.”

His acceptance to the program is significant for Buckner because of the chance to increase his leadership ability and because Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson recognized his talent enough to recommend him for the institute.

“It is indeed a great honor to be selected for this nationally recognized leadership training opportunity,” said Buckner. “I want to thank Congressman Thompson for supporting me in this training opportunity.”

Buckner strives to aid Mississippi Delta residents who lack significant opportunities that would help them financially, educationally, and medically. He believes his time in the institute would better equip him to tackle those challenges with life-changing solutions.

“I see myself working with like-minded individuals to help address the critical needs of farmers and rural communities in the Mississippi Delta. Most people in the Delta are Black and face socioeconomic issues such as limited economic resources and access to affordable healthy food, inadequate employment opportunities, scarce affordable housing, and uneven access to quality STEM education at the K-12 level. I hope we will enhance our ability to address the issues mentioned above and meet new collaborators dedicated to addressing the needs of the Mississippi Delta.”

The Mississippi Delta is where Buckner’s roots are buried, so continuing his effort to give back means a lot to him.

“Addressing the challenges people and communities face in the Delta is critical because this is where my heritage is rooted. My father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were farmers in the area. I still manage the same family farm. I see the poverty and the strength of the region, and I know that if provided the opportunity, the communities could thrive and have a bright future.”