On June 22, as part of the celebration of United Nations International Public Service Day, the Steven J. Green School’s Institute for Public Management and Community Service (IPMCS) was one of several cooperating organizations, and its Director was a speaker, for a virtual forum which reached every country of Africa and, has had over 16,000 viewers.
Principally organized by the African Local Government Academy (ALGA) of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-Africa), and funded by the European Union, the event was simultaneously broadcast in Arabic, English, French and Portuguese. The Green School’s IPMCS joined with the African Association for Public Administration and Management, located in Nairobi, Kenya and the University of Stellenbosch, located in South Africa, as one of several cooperating co-sponsors.
IPMCS Director, Allan Rosenbaum, cabinet ministers from Uganda and Kenya, and a faculty member from Stellenbosch, were the speakers at the first panel session of the five hour virtual conference which addressed the impact and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for the future of the public sector in Africa. Rosenbaum’s presentation focused on three points. First, he noted that, not only in the United States, but throughout the world, those who were being the most victimized by the pandemic were those who already were the most disadvantaged populations in their respective countries and that the pandemic, more than anything else, exacerbated the inequities already prevalent in every society.
Second, he pointed to the importance of multiple levels of government, and in particular sub national government, as evidenced by the experience of the United States which has been able to rely very heavily on it’s state and municipal governments in the absence of decisive action by its national government. Third, he urged both practitioners and scholars in public administration, as experts in the field of government, to broaden their traditional concerns from how to most effectively manage government, to focusing much more directly and intensely upon what government must do to more effectively address the needs of society.
Two other FIU Panthers also played very important roles in the event, which can be viewed on the UCLG-Africa Facebook page. The principal organizer, and Director of UCLG/ALGA, Dr. Najat Zarrouk, who has collaborated with FIU/IPMCS for many years on African related activities, is the proud mother of a daughter who is an outstanding FIU undergraduate. Participating on the second panel of the event was former South Korean cabinet minister, Dr. Pan Suk Kim, who received his Masters degree in Public Administration from FIU.