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The Future of Public Service and Citizenship

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Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

200 Eggers Hall

Syracuse, NY 13244

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Public service has been severely challenged by several long-term trends, which have been well documented: declining public trust in government, political polarization, difficulty in recruitment and preparation of a high-quality workforce, low morale, negative press coverage (including high-profile failures, such as the VA and Flint, MI), demands for greater transparency, and low public esteem. Many observers have described public service as being in a state of crisis.

Against that background, recent political developments have only deepened these challenges: partisanship has further intensified, political incivility is becoming more commonplace, and government has come under even greater direct political attack from different groups and institutions.

In such a climate, how can the human capital for governing be secured and enriched? More specifically, how can public servantsin both the government and nonprofit sectorssustain and nurture their own commitments to public service? How can they most constructively engage the public—and with each other? And how can the most talented be recruited, retained, and motivated to serve?

Maxwell—the first U.S. school of citizenship that includes an interdisciplinary college of social sciences along with world-class professional programs, including the number one-ranked program in public administration—in partnership with the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) will host a one-day, highly interactive symposium to address some of the big challenges facing our local, state, national government and nonprofits .

Thought leaders, practitioners and academics from across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors will gather at the Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs on October 4, 2017, to discuss, debate, and consider strategies focused on the future of public service.

The day will begin with a keynote talk and culminate with closing thoughts from and discussion with a renowned public servant. A morning panel discussion will follow the opening keynote address with faculty and government leaders and breakout sessions. At noon, over lunch, Sean O’Keefe and NAPA President Terry Gerton will participate in a moderated conversation by Maxwell Dean David Van Slyke on the challenges and opportunities that local, state, and federal public agencies are experiencing first-hand in recruiting and retaining public servants. The afternoon will offer panel conversations with faculty, government, and nonprofit leaders on workforce changes and evolving forms of governance.

This day-long program is modeled, in part, on Maxwell’s highly successful Tanner Lecture Series on Ethics, Citizenship, and Public Responsibility, that examines what it means to be an ethical citizen. Speakers are leaders in their fields, who have wrestled with questions of rights and responsibilities and have demonstrated—through their life and work—that generative efforts can enrich both our private and public lives. The panels and individual presentations aim to stimulate participants to re-envision their own responsibilities in different, and at times unsettling ways—not merely to inform, but to engage and provoke, and to leave a lasting impression that influences future behavior. The Tanner Lecture Series seeks to expand horizons and spark new conversations about the problems and opportunities we collectively face as citizens of nations and of the world.

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Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

200 Eggers Hall

Syracuse, NY 13244

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