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(L-R) David Vardy, Dr. Leslie Harris, Dr. Axel Meisen and Dr. Robert Greenwood.

Harris Centre launched

The Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development (The Harris Centre) was launched in October by Dr. Axel Meisen, Memorial University president, at a ceremony attended by Dr. Leslie Harris, in whose honour the centre is named. Memorial University's Board of Regents approved the creation of the centre on Sept. 8, 2004 .

The Harris Centre was formed through the merger of the Public Policy Research Centre (PPRC) and the Centre of Regional Development Studies (CORDS). The centre will build on the solid foundation of research, teaching and outreach established by the PPRC and CORDS. It is tasked with co-ordinating and facilitating the university's educational, research and outreach activities in the areas of regional policy and development. It works with all faculties and departments within the university and serves as a reliable point of access for all stakeholders seeking to work with the university in activities related to regional policy and development. The centre will also advise the university as to how it can best build upon its capacity to support regional policy and development.

“Dr. Harris exemplifies the contribution of Memorial University to regional policy and development in Newfoundland and Labrador ,” said Dr. Meisen. “He has contributed through his scholarship, his administrative leadership as president of Memorial, and through countless contributions of service to the province.”

Dr. Harris thanked Memorial University for naming the new centre in his honour. “Memorial plays a critical role in the advancement of sound public policy and cutting edge research, teaching and outreach” he said. “Only the university enjoys the level of expertise, combined with the independence necessary to address tough issues openly and honestly for the benefit of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”

Dr. Robert Greenwood, director of the Harris Centre, noted that, “by merging CORDS and the PPRC the university gains efficiencies while enhancing effectiveness in partnering with community, industry and government stakeholders. Memorial's researchers, staff and students already contribute enormously to regional development in the province. By partnering on research, policy development and educational opportunities, Memorial will continue to play a central role in the future development of the province.”

The Harris Centre also benefits from the contributions of David Vardy, associate director public policy at the centre. Mr. Vardy has served in the highest positions of the public service in Newfoundland and Labrador, including 27 years as a deputy minister. Upon his retirement from the public service in 2001, he was appointed Channing Fellow in Public Policy at Memorial.

Meanwhile, the Harris Centre released reports on growing the provincial economy in November. The reports were based on four regional workshops and a provincial symposium. The five sessions involved more than 150 individuals from throughout the province representing business, labour, community and regional development organizations and all three orders of government. The key product of the sessions was the identification of priority actions for growing the economy of the province. Two priorities were identified in all five sessions, by many of the working groups – Governance/Planning and Human Resource Development. Check out the Harris Centre Web site at www.mun.ca/harriscentre.