Frank Zerunyan, a USC Price School of Public Policy senior fellow, traveled to the Kingdom of Bahrain in June to take part in a United Nations (U.N.) forum and expand USC’s global footprint by building human capacity in public service.
The theme of the annual United Nations Public Service Forum Day and Awards Ceremony was “Transformative eGovernment and Innovation: Creating a Better Future for All.” More than 700 participants attended, including high-level U.N. officials, representatives of Bahrain, senior government leaders, mayors, academics, civil society representatives, business executives and representatives from international and regional organizations.
Zerunyan, who also serves as director of executive education (EXED) at USC Price and is a sitting mayor and council member in the city of Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., chaired a plenary session on the challenges and opportunities in transferring innovative practices to public sectors of least-developed countries. He also gave two lectures over two days on the potential of collaborative governance and the role of facilitative leadership for improved service delivery.
“Through our collaboration with the United Nations, we have been able to deliver our capacity building mission throughout the world,” Zerunyan said. “As a public servant, it is an honor to share our humble experience here in the United States with public servants around the world.”
USC was the only university from the western United States to take part in the forum. There were 18 countries, including eight state ministers, represented at the lecture given by Zerunyan.
“I never had a bunch of students show up to my class in limousines with police escorts,” he joked.
“This is very good exposure for USC Price to show the world that we are one of the best public policy schools in the country and the world,” Zerunyan said. “It also gives me access to the highest echelon of executives around the world to help them increase public sector capacity and foster leadership. Training public servants locally and globally in public administration or public policy is precisely our mission at EXED.”
At the beginning of the year, Zerunyan was appointed to an ad hoc committee of experts charged with building public sector capacity in lesser-developed countries. Since then, he has made two trips to U.N. headquarters in New York, participating and presenting at committee meetings and the meeting of the larger public administration body, the Committee of Experts in Public Administration.
Already this year, Zerunyan has spanned three continents in an effort to broaden interest in the global executive education program at USC Price — including visits to India, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Brazil. Following the U.N. forum in Bahrain, he received requests to conduct programs in Asia and Africa where many lesser-developed countries are located.
“I was impressed by Frank Zerunyan in terms of his profound knowledge and vast diverse experience as a mayor, scholar and lawyer,” said U.N. public administration officer Garegin Manukyan. “He is an eloquent speaker who has a mastery to effectively utilize the knowledge and skills he possesses under the various hats he wears.”
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