The heart of NYU Wagner's programs is our faculty. An amalgam of full-time, clinical/research/visiting, and adjunct professors, they are outstanding teachers, expert researchers and committed practitioners.
Beth Noveck, Founder and Director of The Governance Lab at NYU Wagner, is among a group of civic innovators from around the globe who have just been honored by the nonpartisan National Democratic Institute (NDI) for their efforts to use technology to hold governments accountable, give citizens a voice and improve democratic governance in our digital age.
The awards were presented at NDI’s 2013 Democracy dinner held December 10 in Washington, D.C.
Noveck, who is the Jacob K. Javits Visiting Professor at Wagner, was recognized for her work with The GovLab, which is helping to improve people’s lives by seeking new ways to solve public problems using advances in technology and science. She joined government officials, elected politicians, entrepreneurs, and civic activists in receiving the year's NDI honors for using technology to crowdsource legislation, increase government transparency, connect citizens, support freedom of information online, and more. The group of 18 innovators were chosen for their contributions to making democracy deliver on its promise around the world.
The other honorees for this year include:
It is only a footnote in the life of a great historical figure, but the gesture of support that Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) made for NYU Wagner more than a decade ago marks a spectacular moment in the life of the public service graduate school.
Initially postponed by the September 11, 2001, attacks, the campus visit the following May by the Nobel Peace Prize recipient and leader of the emancipation of South Africa helped to catalyze an innovative Fellowship designed to bring students from Africa to Wagner to study public policy and management. His visit that day attracted the attention of Oprah Winfrey, who provided generous financial support to launch the African Women's Public Service Fellowship.
Many dignitaries attended the event, where Mandela at the same time received NYU's Presidential Medal, and his appearance was punctuated by thunderous applause. But with quietly overpowering dignity, he delivered a simple message. The Wagner school's commitment to Africa represented an opportunity for mutual learning in the important work of nation and community building, and Mandela exhorted the next generation of public service leaders to take up the struggle for equality, justice, and liberty for all.
"The struggle for true and universal human emancipation still lies ahead of the children, youth and future generations," he said, in words that continue to resonate with urgency and truth.
The NYU Wagner community joins the world over in mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela.
Hope Tumukunde, a recent African Public Service Fellow at NYU Wagner, is working on an initiative in Kigali City, Rwanda to end violence against women and girls.
A city of nearly 1 million people and the capital of Rwanda, Kingali was one of five pilot cities included in the “Safe Cities Free of Violence Against Women and Girls Global Programme" sponsored by UN Women and other partners and launched in 2010. Ms. Tumukunde is Deputy Mayor of Kingali.
Ms. Tumukunde graduated in 2008 from Wagner (MPA, International Policy and Management). Based in good measure on her oustanding academic standing and professional stature, she was selected to be the guest speaker at the school's Convocation ceremonies that May.
Before attending Wagner as a Fellow, Ms. Tumukunde served as the Governor of Butare province in southern Rwanda, and as Governor of the Kigali Ngali province. She also worked as an employee of the government of Rwanda.
Immediately after completing her Wagner degree, she returned to her native Rwanda and served there as Commissioner at the Rwanda National Human Rights Commission.
Natasha Iskander, Associate Professor of Public Policy at NYU Wagner, is the recipient of a $550,000 grant from the Qatar National Research Foundation to support her research endeavor, “Skill-Building and Industry Development through Migration: The Role of Migrants in Qatar’s Construction Industry.”
The study will examine how migrants acquire, translate, and develop skills while working on construction sites in Doha, and will explore the skills that they may take back with them to their countries of origin or third countries. It will involve field research in Qatar and migration source countries, including India and Nepal.
Professor Iskander is an expert on labor migration and economic development, on labor mobilization and its relationship to workforce development, and on processes of institutional innovation and organizational learning. Her award-wining book, Creative State: Forty Years of Migration and Development Policy in Morocco and Mexico (Cornell University Press: 2010), examines how the governments of Mexico and Morocco elaborated policies to build a link between labor emigration and local economic development.
First-year NYU Wagner student Wemimo Abbey participated in a youth leadership forum entitled “Youth Leadership Perspectives on Challenges of the World’s Children” on the occasion of the United Nations' Children Day on November 20.
The event was held by the Peace Island Institute (PII) in New York.
Abbey, founder of Clean Water for Everyone, mentioned a huge problem -- the limited access to clean water by an estimated 2 billion people around the world. His organization works to address the shortage at hundreds of schools in Nigeria.
Ambassador Carlos Gonzalez, Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the United Nations, delivered the day’s main address. Concerning his own participation, Abbey commented later, "It was humbling."
NYU Wagner Associate Professor Daniel L. Smith has been appointed to serve on the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council (GASAC), effective January 1, 2014.
The GASAC, now chaired by the Comptroller of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Martin J. Benison, advises the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) on technical issues, project priorities, and other matters that affect standards-setting for accounting and financial reporting by state and local governments.
Members of the GASAC are chosen from a cross-section of the GASB’s state and local government stakeholders, including users, preparers, and auditors of financial information. GASAC members are selected on the basis of their professional expertise and the depth and variety of experience they bring to their work on the Council. Professor Smith was nominated to the GASAC by the Association for the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management (ABFM), where he serves on the members-elected Executive Committee.
Fresh on the heels of Bill de Blasio’s landslide victory in the New York City mayoral election, distinguished NYU Wagner alumna Jennifer Jones Austin has been named co-chair of the Mayor-elect’s transition team, which will have a key advisory role in assembling the new City administration.
Austin, who received her MS in Management from NYU Wagner in 1997, serves as the Executive Director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA). She has also held positions in health and human services for both City and State governments and major nonprofit organizations.
Her co-chair is Carl Weisbrod, a leader of city agencies and public-private partnerships in three mayoral administrations, including city-state efforts to revive the Times Square area, and as founding president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation. The work of the transition group begins immediately.
Jennifer Jones Austin assumed the helm at FPWA in 2012 after serving as Senior Vice President of Community Investment for United Way of New York City. Before joining United Way, she was the Family Services Coordinator of the City of New York, a new position to which Mayor Bloomberg appointed her in 2006 after she had served four years as Deputy Commissioner of the City's Administration for Children's Services. She served as Civil Rights Deputy Bureau Chief in the Office of the New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, and as a Vice President for LearnNow/Edison Schools Inc. From 2000 to 2010, she was a member of the board of FPWA.
She is a graduate of Rutgers University, Fordham University School of Law, and New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.