Paul C. Light, Founding Principal Investigator

The NYUAD Center for Global Public Service and Social Impact is designed to support the entrepreneurial, effective, and efficient production of public value by governments, nongovernmental organizations, and private social ventures. It is built upon a broad commitment toward creating the highest quality of life around the globe. The Center’s mission is to advance international understanding and effective practice for strengthening the global public service as a driver of social impact in a constantly changing international environment.

Chaired by former Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul A. Volcker, and based on a rigorous search for best practices, the Center will generate cross-national measures of public service performance, inventories of best practices, and curricula. It will work through networks of scholars, opinion leaders, and senior executives across the world to promote the public service as a destination of choice for the world’s most talented citizens.

Abu Dhabi is a nearly perfect home for the Center. As a nation deeply committed to an exemplary society in its own right, Abu Dhabi has the reputation to draw international attention to the important, but often hidden role that public service, broadly defined, plays in creating sustainable social impact. Abu Dhabi also stands at an international intersection that allows maximum collaboration among researchers and rapid diffusion of best practices for improving the quality of the public service in other nations, regions, and the world.

The Center is led by Paul C. Light, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, the Center will examine the health of the public service both inside and outside of Abu Dhabi for lessons learned, research opportunities, and practical recommendations for explaining, monitoring, and improving the state of the global public service.

The Center is built on the basic premise that public service occurs in all sectors of society. Public service obviously occurs in government, which was the once-standard destination for those seeking to produce public value. However, it also occurs in the nongovernmental sector, where decades have growth have produced a public service that is highly competitive for public service talent, and in the private sector, where social ventures have blossomed as forces for social impact.