Who We Are

The International Leadership Alumni Conference (ILAC) is a group of like-minded leaders who are mostly graduates of rural and agricultural leadership programs from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, and the United States.

However, ILAC is designed to promote networking and professional development for the alumni of these programs as well as others who are interested in the experience. The group first formed in 1989 when the directors of these programs held their first IAPAL – International Association of Programs for Agricultural Leadership meeting in Point Clear, Alabama. The directors held their meeting and a small group of alumni attended as well. 1990 marked the first official ILAC meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. The two groups met together from 1989–1992 and then decided to hold separate conferences each year thereafter.

ILAC provides a great venue to meet other alumni and visit the host state or country and learn more about their agriculture and rural issues……we are celebrating 30+ years of networking and friendships.

Alumni Spotlight

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We Will Miss You Dear Friend

Derwood Brett

Derwood Brett, 76, of Mount Ida, AR, passed away on June 16, 2024, in Hot Springs, AR. He was born on August 3, 1947, in Camden, AR, to Eslie and Gladys (Dove) Brett. Derwood was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Marie (Brett) Adams, his brothers Bobby and Tommy; two aunts and uncles, a niece, a nephew, a great-nephew and several cousins.

Mr. Brett graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and later earned his Master of Arts in Journalism/Mass Communications from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He was proud to be the first member of his family to earn a college degree.

His career was marked by significant contributions in the fields of journalism and corporate communications. He published newspapers in Florida, Arkansas, and Louisiana. He served as the Manager of Corporate Communications for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas and later as Manager of Clay County Electric Cooperative, serving Clay and Randolph counties in Arkansas and parts of two counties in Missouri.

Mr. Brett was an active member of various professional organizations. He served on the Arkansas Press Association Board of Directors from 1982 to 1990, including a term as Board President in 1989. He was involved with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association from 1992 to 2006 and served as President of the National Generation and Transmission Communicators in 1998.

Derwood was deeply involved in his community. A member of the United Methodist Church, he was active in his local church wherever he lived. He also participated in several Chambers of Commerce and various civic organizations. While living in Mena, he was a member of the steering committee that secured legislative approval for Rich Mountain Community College (now University of Arkansas Rich Mountain) and was appointed by Governor Bill Clinton to the original board, serving two terms as board president.

He was a graduate of Leadership Arkansas (LeadAR) Class 3 (1986-1989), a rural leadership development program administered by the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. He served on the board of the Arkansas Association of Leadership Alumni (AALA) and was involved with the International Leadership Alumni Conference (ILAC).

After retiring in 2006, he moved to Mount Ida, where he dedicated himself to volunteerism. He served as President of the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the “Trail Dogs,” a group of retirees who built and maintain the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) in Montgomery and Garland counties. He was also involved with the Single Parent Scholarship Fund, serving on both the Montgomery County board and the statewide board. Additionally, he served as President of the board of Healthy Connections, Inc. from 2011 until April of this year.

He loved the outdoors, spending time on the lake or at the beach. He was an avid golfer and enjoyed hunting.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Frances Anne (West); his children Jason (wife Kelly) and grandson Nicholas; Elliott and granddaughter Thalia; and Ella Brackett (husband Brett), granddaughters Annalyse Miles, Ava Miles and Levi Brackett; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

ILAC 2025 - Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Rural-Urban Leadership Program (RULE) will host ILAC 2025.

Plan to Join Us!

September 2 - 5, 2025

Lancaster/Harrisburg, PA

"Rurban: Two Sides of the PA Coin"

ILAC 2026 - TBD

The ILAC Advisory Board is currently working with a possible host for ILAC 2026.

Are you interested in continuing your Journey?

Join the ILAC E-Mail list so we can keep you informed of opportunities to continue the experience of personal development and learning more about agriculture all around the world.

To learn about other leadership opportunities, visit our "Links" page.

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