by Alex Osei-Kojo
To sustain either the things we do or intend doing, it is often imperative to discover and articulate the reasons for doing them. These reasons supply the vitality and inspiration to keep advancing, despite daunting obstacles. As an active member of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM), here are my top five reasons for engaging in its events.
First, I attend APPAM events for purposes of building and expanding my professional network. Whenever I attend an APPAM conference, for example, I consciously search and reach out to students and scholars with whom I share research interests, engaging them in important discussions. Through such talks, I strike potentially long-lasting professional friendships for future scholarly engagements.
Second, APPAM events, especially its research conferences, offer a “global” stage to present my research, while learning from others. Often present at these conferences are some of the best minds in public policy who provide critical feedback to further improve my work. Conversely, I learn from other presenters, while critiquing their work to enable them improve. So it’s a kind of a positive-sum game.
Third, I participate in APPAM events because they offer the rare opportunity of meeting scholars in person and engaging with them about their works. It is one thing reading the works of academics from a distance; it is a little different if you can put a face to the readings. Meeting scholars face-to-face allows me to further engage them about their work. Often, I learn one or two things beyond the information already in their publications.
Fourth, I learn about new ideas and trends in current policy research through APPAM events. Compared to the last four decades or so, the field of public policy has undergone significant transformation in several ways. Despite advances in knowledge, complex phenomena – such as climate change and immigration – present pressing and complex questions that require innovative approaches to scientific inquiry, policy formulation and implementation. APPAM events offer an unmatched platform to keep abreast with these developments.
Fifth, I partake in APPAM events because they enrich and broaden my inter-cultural experience. Present at APPAM events are people of different backgrounds and experiences who bring a wealth of diversity that is usually hard to find in one place. The opportunity to experience different cultures broadens my perspective, improves my appreciation of different cultures and people, and extends my learning beyond the classroom. These experiences move me a notch higher on the ladder of global citizenship.
About the Author: Alex Osei-Kojo is a doctoral student at the School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver. He focuses his research on environmental policy, bureaucratic politics, and natural resource management.