King’s College London is establishing an International School for Government, with former Australian Foreign Minister and High Commissioner to the UK, The Hon Alexander Downer as Executive Chair.
The School’s ethos puts citizens at the heart of policy and the political process.
President and Principal of King’s College London, Professor Ed Byrne said: ‘I’m delighted that Alexander has agreed to lead the International School for Government. As Australian High Commissioner to the UK, he was an exceptional leader and most certainly has the skills to develop and deliver the vision for the International School for Government. I’m sure he will find the new channels to prove the skills to policymakers, government, the third sector and beyond and both shape the future of policy making and Kings as we continue to provide a service to society.’
The School, which is part of the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy at King’s, will develop and deliver an innovative approach to the professional development of those working in and around government. It will establish new models of teaching, learning, analysis and engagement to ensure that the policy makers of the future are fully prepared with the hard and soft skills to understand how power, influence and change moves through political circles.
Executive Chair of the International School for Government, Alexander Downer, said “This new School will make a significant contribution to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector at a time when the public sector in the UK and beyond is under considerable pressure. New thinking is needed to address changes in technology, media and public expectations. King’s International School for Government will very effectively address those issues as well as the traditional priorities of public sector management”.
The School will carry out three main activities of policy education and training, policy research and policy engagement. Through participating in accredited internationally-oriented continuing professional development courses, an Executive Masters or another form of Executive Education, policy professionals will hone their skills by embedding public engagement into all their activities. Students will examine issues from the perspective of the governing, those seeking to influence government and those being governed. This, together with roundtables, and workshops with eminent figures and a network of alumni from public life will create perfect the environment to share knowledge and work together to solve problems collectively.
Executive Dean of the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy, Professor Frans Berkhout said; ‘Governments at all levels and around the world are struggling and frequently failing to meet the expectations of their citizens, which you can see from the lack of confidence people have in government and recent world events. At King’s, we believe the new School is a way to create new approaches to governing well that puts citizens and new technology at the heart of the policy and political process. Students will get an international perspective and experience, which we think is key to innovating governance.‘
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Notes to editors
Alexander Downer was appointed Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom in May 2014, stepping down this year. He retired from politics in 2008 after a distinguished career spanning 23 years. He was Australia’s longest serving foreign minister from March 1996 to December 2007. He was Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party from May 1994 to January 1995. Alexander was born in South Australia and educated at Geelong Grammar in Victoria, Radley College in Oxford and the University of Newcastle on Tyne. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Politics and Economics and is a Doctor of Civil Laws (honoris causa). Before entering Parliament, Alexander held a number of senior positions in government and the private sector. He worked as an economist to Westpac Bank and as an Australian diplomat in the Australian Missions to the European Union and NATO, based in Brussels. In January 2013, Alexander was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for his distinguished service as Foreign Minister. Until recently, Alexander was the United Nations’ Special Adviser on Cyprus at the level of Under Secretary General. He was also a Visiting Professor of Politics and International Trade at the University of Adelaide and a director of a number of private and public companies.