LANSING — State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) was among 39 select lawmakers to complete a leadership training program that identifies and assists emergent state and provincial leaders in the Midwest.

Hammoud met with fellow lawmakers from Michigan, other Midwestern states and four Canadian provinces Aug. 11-15 in Minneapolis for The Council of State Governments’ 23rd annual Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development (BILLD).

“The Bowhay Institute is one of the pre-eminent leadership training programs in the nation,” said Iowa state Rep. Bob Taylor, who serves as co-chair of the steering committee. “The legislatures in the region have benefitted greatly from the skills their members have gained through this unique educational experience. Many of the graduates now hold leadership positions in their states.”

Legislators from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan were chosen to participate through a competitive, nonpartisan selection process.

“It was an honor to complete this prestigious training program beside a group of legislators with diverse experiences and backgrounds,” Hammoud said. “Having productive discussions on policy issues is how we advance and deliver creative solutions. It was incredibly helpful to hear what does and does not work in other states. This will help us determine how to shape legislation in Michigan.”

BILLD was founded in 1995 to help new legislators meet the demands of federal devolution and, in many states, term limits. These two emerging forces have highlighted the shortage of training available for legislators, a void that BILLD aims to fill.

A program of The Council of State Governments’ Midwestern Office, BILLD is held in partnership with the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Seminars are conducted by Humphrey faculty, Midwestern legislative leaders, and professional development experts. In addition to courses designed to develop leadership skills, the program analyzes a variety of public policy issues, including health care, US-Canada trade and the regional economy.

The program is funded through grants from foundations, organizations and corporate sponsors, and an in-kind contribution provided by The Council of State Governments’ Midwestern Office.

The Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development is named in honor of the late James Bowhay, longtime director of The Council of State Governments’ Midwestern Office, founded in 1933. The Council of State Governments has national headquarters in Lexington, Ky., and regional offices in Atlanta, Chicago (Lombard, Ill.), New York and Sacramento, Calif. The goal of this national, nonpartisan organization is to assist and advance state governments.