Challenges and prospects of leadership in public administration in post-Soviet countries were discussed at a panel session of the Astana Civil Service Hub (ACSH) as part of the Annual Conference of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA). The session was attended by academics, experts and practitioners in the field of public administration from 20 countries.
In his welcome speech, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the ACSH Mr. Alikhan Baimenov stated that “governance systems around the world are actively being adapted to new settings, which concerns not only the use of modern technologies. In fact, values, corporate culture and leadership are becoming even more important”. He also mentioned that even if public administration of each country of the region was formed under the specific historical, cultural, geopolitical and socio-economic factors, it is important to regularly evaluate the path traveled and “synchronize watches” with those who had similar starting positions or a common part of historical development.
ASPA’s Executive Director Mr. William Shields congratulated everyone on the 5th anniversary of signing official Memorandum of Understanding between ACSH and ASPA. He noted that the ACSH is successfully fulfilling its mission of supporting countries in sharing experience and knowledge in the field of public administration, and that “ASPA feels a particularly strong and special kinship with the Hub”.
In his welcoming speech Deputy Head of the Executive Office of the President of Kazakhstan Mr. Timur Suleimenov said that trust in public administration is under a lot of stress at the moment. In this regard, he stressed the importance of public administration and public service to ensure an effective response to the pandemic, efficient measures to support businesses, as well as social protection of the population.
Director of Public Governance Directorate of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Ms. Elsa Pilichowski, in her speech, said that it is important to develop global competencies for the public sector, including its leaders, so that they can work to solve complex social problems. She also expressed her gratitude to the ACSH for strengthening cooperation and facilitating the exchange of experience between OECD countries and the region.
Government representatives and experts from Georgia, Latvia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Lithuania and Kazakhstan presented country experiences in public administration and noted that, among other factors, the ability to influence and inspire others, reacting forward-looking and flexible during periods of growth, crisis or uncertainty.
The discussion was attended by well-known professor and experts in the field of public administration like the founder of the theory of motivation of civil servants Prof. James L. Perry, former President of the ASPA Dr. Stephen E. Condrey, Associate Professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University Ms. Saltanat Liebert, Head of International Relations Department at the Belgian Federal Public Service Policy and Support (BOSA) Mr. Peter Vandenbruaene. Based on their professional experience, they have provided recommendations on methods, style and values leadership in public administration.
During the session, there was also a detailed exchange of views between practitioners and scientists on topical aspects of leadership. It was also mentioned that under the auspices of the ACSH, a book from the Palgrave Macmillan publishing house is being prepared for publication. The book will present an analysis of public administration development in 15 post-Soviet countries over the past 30 years.