Educating public leaders to deliver better services in Africa and beyond
By Cristy Lytal
For public administrators in many parts of the world, some of the most urgent challenges involve providing clean streets, functional sewer systems and reliable water and electricity.
The USC Price School of Public Policy, in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs capacity building branch, works to address these problems through its executive education forum, including a March workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, attended by more than 200 government officials from 18 countries.
Spearheading these efforts is USC Price Professor Frank Zerunyan, director of executive education at the USC Bedrosian Center on Governance and the Public Enterprise.
“The goal was to offer a practical and concrete platform for public servants to increase their awareness of the innovations and methods available to implement public service delivery in their respective countries,” Zerunyan said.
Before his departure, Zerunyan and a team of USC Price Master of Public Policy students co-authored a paper about innovative practices for improved public service delivery in what the U.N. refers to as “least developed countries,” or LDCs. Thirty-three of the world’s 48 LDCs are located in Africa.
In the U.N.’s African seat of Addis Ababa, Zerunyan presented this paper at a plenary session and led two workshops attended by ministers, deputy ministers, inspector generals, directors of public service departments and other senior staff from many of the world’s LDCs.
During the workshops, these participants discussed local governance challenges and shared innovative approaches, ideas and tools for addressing them. They also had the opportunity to network with colleagues from countries around the world.
“I love the experience and the satisfaction of knowing that we humbly helped a country or city in realizing a simple innovation and simple solution to some of the most basic problems that they may face in public administration,” Zerunyan said.
On April 7-8, Zerunyan presented what he learned from his experience in Addis Ababa at the annual conference of the U.N. Committee of Experts on Public Administration in New York City. He also delivered a keynote on policy issues related to urbanization, which is a significant and growing trend, with more than 50 percent of the world’s population now living in cities.
Zerunyan’s efforts to advance USC Price’s global executive education program have taken him to all corners of the globe — including recent visits to India, Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Bahrain. He is currently planning additional workshops throughout the world.
“Frank’s work with the United Nations and other international partners,” USC Price Dean Jack H. Knott said, “serves the global mission of the Price School in educating public servants about effective governance and professional administration, which are essential to economic development and transition to democracy.