New Orleans will host the next Vanguard Conference, with its class of 2018 Vanguards convening in the city Sept. 12-15.

The event is being hosted by New Orleans Business Alliance and Next City.

Vanguard is an annual urban leadership program of participants working to improve cities across sectors such as urban planning, community development, entrepreneurship, government, transportation, sustainability, design, art and media.

The conference will include a series of presentations, workshops and neighborhood tours tied to the theme “Equity as a Growth Strategy.” 

The 2018 Vanguard fellows include philanthropic changemakers, academics, policymakers and planners working for influential organizations such as the Urban League and The National Trust for Historic Preservation, as well as the Kresge and Ford foundations. 

“We are excited to bring urban leaders from around the world to New Orleans,” said Next City board chair and Vanguard alumnus Eric D. Shaw. “I know from my time living in Louisiana that New Orleans residents are full of big ideas.”

The Vanguard initiative was launched by Next City, a journalism nonprofit with a mission to inspire social, economic and environmental change in cities through reporting and events around the world. This year the organization chose 44 Vanguards from a pool of more than 500 applicants.

"Having a collection of the world’s best thinkers and urban experts in town can only contribute to developing solutions for creating a more inclusive economy in New Orleans,” said Quentin L. Messer, president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance.