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Renowned US community development expert Jim Diers to speak in Wanaka

Renowned US community development expert Jim Diers to speak in Wanaka

September 12, 2016. For immediate release

Global community development expert Jim Diers will visit Wanaka next week to talk about what it means to build a successful community.

Wanaka’s own community development initiative, LINK Upper Clutha, is bringing Diers to town next Thursday (September 22) for a public seminar on building  community based on its existing strengths.

Seattle-based Diers, who serves on the faculty of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute, will share stories of successful community development projects where people have collaborated across their usual silos to benefit local economies, improve morale and support struggling neighbourhoods.

He will encourage residents to express their hopes for Wanaka’s future in the face of growth and empower people and organisations to take action during an interactive evening at the Lake Wanaka Centre.

The free event is open to all residents in the Upper Clutha, LINK facilitator Kathy Dedo says.

“It’s for anyone who cares about the community we live in, regardless of their job or role.  We’re all citizens of this place, and Jim will help us collaborate in new and unexpected ways.

“As we undertake our own research and engagement to connect people and uncover community-led priorities, LINK Upper Clutha is asking: ‘What is community development, what does it mean in Wanaka, and why should we care?’ Jim’s talk will help us find the answers together,” Dedo adds.

“We are delighted that Jim is visiting Wanaka and we look forward to hearing what he has to say about building on our existing strengths to create an inclusive and connected community. Some of our Steering Group have experienced his workshops before, and walked away inspired, encouraged and committed to action.”    

Diers says: “I am so excited to visit Wanaka again. The exponential growth in the Upper Clutha presents great opportunity and challenge, and I hope to help empower the community to take action for itself, and have fun along the way.”

Event details

  • Thursday 22 September 2016, 7:00-9:30pm at the Lake Wanaka Centre
  • Free event, refreshments provided


Photo caption:
Community development expert Jim Diers

For more information, please contact:
LINK Upper Clutha Facilitator Kathy Dedo: 021 130 6276,

About LINK Upper Clutha
LINK Upper Clutha – formerly known as the Upper Clutha Community Development Scheme – is a locally-driven, central government-supported entity focused on connecting people, organisations and infrastructure to ensure a united approach to community development and social and economic enterprise.

About Jim Diers
Jim Diers has a passion for getting people engaged with their communities and in the decisions that affect their lives.  He put that passion to work for a direct-action neighbourhood association, a community development corporation, a community foundation, and America’s largest health care cooperative. He was appointed the first director of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods in 1988 where he served under three mayors over the next 14 years. He teaches courses in community organizing and development at the University of Washington and serves on the faculty of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute. He travels internationally to deliver speeches, present workshops, and provide technical assistance to communities.

Celia Crosbie
Written by Celia Crosbie
Celia is an award-winning former journalist who has worked for newspapers and radio stations in New Zealand and magazines in the United Kingdom. She has worked in public relations in both NZ and London. Celia also specialises in digital media strategy and website copywriting for SEO.