The National University of Public Service (NUPS) was the host of this year’s annual conference of the Transatlantic Policy Consortium (TPC) between 10-12 June at the Ludovika Campus. The international event titled “Rethinking Public Governance” had 44 speakers including experienced experts, young researchers and PhD students who could present their respective research results on the various aspects of current issues in public service.
Embracing several European and American higher education and training institutions dealing with public policy and public administration, TPC provides opportunities for its members to establish mutually fruitful co-operations, joint publications, researches and exchange programmes. The 17 year old consortium emerged from the co-operation between the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (Indiana University, US) and École Nationale d’Administration (France).
This was the first time for NUPS to be both the host and the main organizer of the annual conference of the consortium. At the Opening Plenary Session of the event – jointly organized with Indiana University and the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer – Prof. Dr. András Patyi, Rector of NUPS, Prof. Dr. Charles F. Bonser, Founder of TPC and Prof. Dr. Andreas Knorr, German Co-Chair of TPC welcomed the conference participants.
The Opening Plenary Session also included the keynote speeches of Dr. Joseph Shevel, President of the Galilee International Management Institute (Israel) and Prof. Dr. Zoltán Ács, Professorial Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science (UK) who highlighted current security and economic-political issues respectively.
Composed of three separate tracks, the conference focused on global security challenges, state and administrative capacity building and multidisciplinary studies. Furthermore, the opening day served as an opportunity for PhD students to present their respective research results and acquire experience and advices on presentation. The conference enjoyed the participation of speakers from several countries including Finland, Romania, Palestine, Germany, the United States and Australia. The presentations focused on several issues from state building, citizen participation in state affairs, European law enforcement co-operation against terrorism, illegal migration and border policing to human security of immigrants.
In addition to their participation within the tracks, speakers could attend a gala dinner and a ceremonial closing dinner and experience the Hungarian music and dance performance of “Felszállott a Páva”. The Ludovika Campus of NUPS was honoured to have Dr. Tamás Fellegi, CEO of the Hungary Initiatives Foundation at the gala dinner of the conference. The foundation operating in Washington D.C. is a non-profit organisation aimed at the strengthening of co-operation between Hungary and the United States of America and was the main sponsor of the 2015 Conference of the Transatlantic Policy Consortium.
The educational and research performance of NUPS in the course of 2014 academic year has made an important contribution to the modernization of public service and throughout to the integration processes at European and international scale. In 2014 NUPS successfully introduced a new comprehensive and career-based further training system of public servants which is considered to be the first step towards a professional knowledge-transfer system among European public services. We have also undertaken the mission of changing the culture of continuing education in the public sector. A modern, on-line education system was introduced; methodology was shifted towards active, personalized learning. Our mission remains to facilitate mobility among career-paths in public service and fostering public values through education and research.
Our future plans need to rely on results already achieved. What can be the role of a university in rethinking the State and the responsibility of public governance? Which fields of science can reflect effectively to the complexity of rapidly changing social and economic challenges such as globalization, security crisis and shortage of energy resources? How can a university provide criticism and forward looking advice to create a responsive, competitive and efficient State? Our answer to these questions above is that ‘the science of state’ shall synthetize theories of political, legal, social, policy, economic and management researches. ‘The science of state’ must be a logical framework of analysis and evaluation in which traditional scientific approach has to relate to complex public values such as competitiveness, sustainability, security, democracy or rule of law. These standards should be paradigms of the methodology of the science of state. This is the way to develop a state that is able to provide public good, protect public values and show ethical leadership.
NUPS’s long-term strategic mission is to rebuild ‘the science of state’ based on a comprehensive approach of diverse researches and to facilitate international policy dialogue. Nowadays the reform of public sector and its innovation is in focus of this policy discourse.
As the chair of the Hungarian State Reform Committee – appointed in 2014 - I strive to mobilize NUPS potentials for the service of renewing sciences of state. Establishing the OECD Global Network of Schools of Government with our partners in Paris in 2014 has also been an important step towards these objectives. Following the agenda of public sector innovation the major action to be taken is to invest in the capacity and capabilities of civil servants as well as building the culture, incentives and norms to facilitate new ways of working. Our common vision, shared values, and comprehensive strategies are heading towards this direction. We redesigned our training portfolio to reflect more effectively to the contemporary challenges of social, economic, and security issues affecting the public sector.
The year of 2014 addressed new challenges and risks in the international security, too. In the year of Jubilee of the Great World War I. new phantoms of international armed conflicts appeared. It draws our attention to the importance of military and security sciences that need to be addressed by NUPS as well. NUPS has a special duty to fight for the peace and security of people by education and researches as the successor of the Military Academy established in 1808 and located in the historic Academy building built in 1836. The art of diplomacy is going under tremendous changes that require new approach of international relations in terms of education. The new Faculty of International and European Studies of NUPS is not simply a new ‘organizational unit’, but the driving scientific force in improving capacities of international studies, creating values for the changing diplomacy and extending our transnational relations.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to our staff, students, national and international partners for their support and contribution to the University’s success. I sincerely hope that our common achievements will encourage all of our students, colleagues and partners to take further joint actions for the Public Good.
Prof. Dr. András Patyi