Written by Phil Keisling, CPS Director
One of the exciting opportunities connected with doing outreach and applied research work in the field of public service administration involves building a network of practice with like-minded faculty, students, and government officials in other countries.
Last month, from September 13-15, a small group attended the 5th iteration of an international conference that PSU helped found back in 2009. The delegation was led by former Hatfield School Director Ron Tammen, and includes Professors Doug Morgan, Marcus Ingle, Rick Mogren, and Gary Larsen. CPS Director Phil Keisling was also part of the group.
This year’s event was hosted by the College of Local Administration at Khon Kaen University in the city of Khon Kaen, Thailand. Located in the NE part of Thailand—and well removed from the hubbub of Bangkok—KKU is similar to PSU in terms of size, and boasts one of the nation’s best public administration programs. More than 150 participants, representing universities and government entities in more than 15 different countries, made this the largest conference to date.
In addition to the presentation of more than 60 academic papers that examined a wide range of topics related to public administration, performance management, governance, and accountability, attendees focused especially on topics related to urban sustainability. Former Portland mayor Charlie Hales, along with his wife and First Stop Portland founder Nancy Hales, traveled to Khon Kaen to deliver several well-received keynote addresses. Participants also learned about ambitious efforts underway in Khon Kaen—a city of about 200,000 people—to start work next year on a 12-mile light-rail line with financing raised through an innovative public-private partnership.
PSU has been a co-sponsor of these biennial conferences since the first one was held in
Lanzhou China in 2009. PSU hosted the 2011 conference, while Waseda University (2013) and Lanzhou University (2015) hosted the most recent ones. In 2019, the School of Public
Administration at the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam—one of that
country’s premier programs—will host the 6th international conference.
While international partnerships certainly can take time to build, they’ve become an
increasingly vital part of the work the Center does. In recent years, delegations from Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, and China have contracted with CPS for a wide range of leadership development and training purposes, and a number of students (including several from KKU) can now be counted among our graduates. We look forward to more opportunities to collaborate and learn from our international partners in the years ahead.