A delegation from Nankai University, China visited IIAS headquarters on Tuesday April 17th, 2018. It was composed of: Zhu Guanglei (Vice-President of Nankai University), Sun Tao (Professor and Dean of the Zhou Enlai School of Government), Zeng Lijian (Director of Alumni Affairs Office) and Ms Liu (PhD Candidate at ULB, Brussels). Attendance on the IIAS side included President of IIAS Geert Bouckaert, Director General Sofiane Sahraoui, Strategic Projects Officer Steve Troupin, Accreditation Officer Bardhyl Dobra and Operational Support Officer Nilufar Lebasi. Geert Bouckaert, President of IIAS, presented the IIAS group and mentioned the excellent cooperation IIAS has with numerous institutions in China.
Zhu Guanglei thanked IIAS for welcoming the delegation and pledged his university commitment to reinforce its cooperation with IIAS and its entities. In this vein, he informed that Nankai University will be involved in co-organizing the 2018 AGPA Conference to be held in Manilla, Philippines. The call for papers will focus on three sub-themes: Risk and Disaster Management, Sustainable Cities, and Resilience in Politics and Administration. Sun Tao, Dean of the Zhou Enlai School of Government, briefly presented Nankai University and its activities: the University, whom 100th anniversary will be magnificently celebrated the upcoming year, counts with 24 Schools/colleges. The School of Government counts of 6 departments and around hundred faculty members. IIAS Director Sahraoui introduced the new IIAS strategy and the opportunities it presents institutions like Nankai University to further engage with IIAS activities. DG Sahraoui pledged IIAS presence at the 2018 AGPA conference through his own attendance as he did in 2017. Amongst other fallouts of that conference, one of the topics discussed in the conference (Aging) has been programmed in the IIAS conference in Tunis: attendance from a significant number of Chinese and Asian researchers is therefore expected. DG Sahraoui pledged full support for the organization of the AGPA conference and invited the leadership of Nankai University to carry over topics or themes of the conference into more institutionalized modes such as new IISA Study groups that can take a life of their own. Discussions veered into accreditation as President Bouckaert introduced the two related IIAS institutions: EAPAA which focuses on accreditation in Europe, and ICAPA at international level. He insisted on the fact that quality assurance is crucial for education and training in our field.
ICAPA in particular, has been established based on the work of a taskforce of the UN-DESA and IASIA and has now accredited several programs in different continents (Rutgers University, USA; Fundacao Getulio Vargas, Brazil; Ghent University, Belgium, American University in Cairo, Egypt; International University Lisbon, Portugal; Centre National de la Fonction Publique Territoriale, France, etc…). Bringing the SDGs into teaching and training practices, and mirroring that in the accreditation standards and criteria is an area where IIAS and Chinese institutions could collaborate. President Bouckaert said that there is an issue of awareness and sensitivity about the SDGs, and an action is required improve PA programs. DG Sahraoui proposed to organize a dialogue between ICAPA/EAPAA and the Chinese accreditation agency during the AGPA Conference in Manila. The idea was well received by the Nankai University leadership. The parties bid farewell and agreed to carry on discussions during the IIAS congress in Tunis.