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Chinese Officials Study Best Practices in Public Administration at SIPA

Senior local government officials from The People's Government of Guangdong Province studied at SIPA.

This summer a group of 35 senior local government officials from The People's Government of Guangdong Province, the largest province in the country, came to SIPA for a specially designed month-long executive management training program offering best practices in government management in the United States and around the world.

"We are here to learn how to manage government organizations, deal with populations, provide and improve service," explained Li Jian, an official in the Province's foreign relations office. He noted that an added benefit had been the opportunity to hear the views of American scholars on historical and current relations between the United States and China.

"The program is an excellent balance of theory and practice, classroom and on-site, lessons learned and cutting-edge ideas on how government could be improved," said Bill Eimicke, director of SIPA's Picker Center and one of the program organizers. "I believe this marks the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial partnership."

The visiting officials took classes in topics ranging from financial and human resource management to management of police, emergency services and parks. Their instructors included Columbia faculty members Richard Betts, Steven Cohen, William Eimicke, Arvid Lukauskas and Lu Xiaobo, as well as outside public administration experts.

Chen Feng Qi, vice president of one of China's largest international airports, found the session on FDNY's emergency response systems, led by Deputy Commissioner Daniel Shacknai, one of the most enlightening. "[City] Governments in the U.S. have advanced experiences which are good for officials of our province to learn, so that we can improve administration and levels of service," he commented.

During a trip to the NBA Store on 5th Avenue, participants met with NBA Commissioner and Columbia Trustee David Stern (center). Stern discussed how both Columbia and the NBA are working to build relationships in China.

During the final week of class, participants attended the New York State Conference of Mayors and took field trips to the NYC 311 call center, Harlem and the 125 th Street renovation project. They also went on a sightseeing excursion to Philadelphia.

"This is a very impressive group and a very young group," says Xiaobo Lu, director of Weatherhead East Asian Institute. "The Guangdong Province is a pioneering province that started the reform era. I see hope in China's future that officials like these are so open-minded and willing to learn. It is a sign of China's willingness to become more like the rest of the world."

Published: Aug 31, 2005
Last modified: Aug 30, 2005

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