On her recent visit to Moscow, Russia, Cat was inspired to see such a strong interest in the future both in her students at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) and at the International Development and Public Policy Alliance (IDPPA) conference on policy futures. In particular, it was great to see so many different generations, nationalities and methodologies coming together to discuss long term strategies for development.

First stop was the IDDPA conference, “Models of Development: Global Perspectives on Policy Futures” hosted by RANEPA. The conference brought together IDPPA’s network of representatives from nine development and public policy graduate schools in major emerging economies to explore global dilemmas, development strategies, and how different models of development are being affected by governance and public policy. Panels explored diverse topics including non-Western institutions and the future of development, poverty reduction in Malaysia, cross-regional cooperation and what movement from informality to formality means for development. Speakers came from nations ranging from South Africa, to India, to Brazil, to China among others, enabling a rich dialogue throughout the event. The full programme is available here.

Papers that particularly interested Cat included the importance of metaphors in the ongoing social transformation in Moscow. Thailand’s success in creating public green spaces exhibited the importance of expanding the definition of “economic value” to include social development and land. Case studies from Turkey suggested too many planners were possibly limiting change. While in India, technology has been the main driving force to effective centralization of services. Contrast this with China, which needs and is now revamping its command and control governance structures to build effective center-local relations.

On the same trip Cat delivered strategy and policy training for the Master in Global Public Policy program at RANEPA university. This was her second year teaching this course, which aims to give students an understanding of key aspects of international good practice in policy-making.

The six-day course looked at public service leadership and strategic management. Students were introduced to the role of government as a steward of change, the value of thinking about the future as a tool of public leadership, and the role of strategic planning in governance. Students were able to gain practical skills through case studies, walking through steps including developing policy proposals and thinking about the future. They applied this to the topic of reform of the inspectorate service in Russia. Given that last year’s students are doing fascinating work in the Middle East, Arctic Circle, and on block chains in Russia, Cat is hopeful this cohort (from Gambia, Nigeria, Turkey, Serbia among other nationalities) will prove to be equally successful in shaping the future.

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