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A Narrative of Hope
The NS project offers the possibility of improved public results at a lower overall cost to society, and proposes a narrative of hope.
“In today’s world, a world of instability, non-linearity and absence of structure, a flexible, adaptive network government is the way to go. We must be prepared to cope with unexpected outcomes, experiment to manage the risk, to fail, to learn, to pick ourselves up and this will be the world of A New Synthesis for Public Administration.”
Peter Ho, former Head of Civil Service, Singapore
A New Synthesis envisions a future in which government, the private sector and civil society leverage their collective capacity to meet the daunting challenges we face.
It provides citizens with greater voice and choice in governance.
It empowers government to actively engage the public, and it gives society the opportunity to prosper even in times of challenge.
We encourage you to continue to explore nsworld.org and join the conversation.
A Concept of Citizenship: The Key to Building Societal Capacity
Mauritians celebrating National Day.
“For the majority of less developed states, ethnic diversity and ethnic conflict have been among the most serious obstacles to both political and economic development... inter-ethnic battles undermine or destroy the effectiveness of the state” (121).
Developing countries are often not united in endorsing a concept of citizenship. Citizenship allows people to rise above ethnic, social and religious differences. It is one of the most important elements for building institutional capacity and for encouraging good government and good governance.
Mauritius is a pluralistic society, characterised by multiple religions, castes, languages, ethnicities and phenotypes. In spite of this diversity, “Mauritius has evolved into a stable and competitive democracy that has largely harmonious relations among its various ethnic communities…. Few countries have achieved anything approaching this degree of success in overcoming immense problems” (122).
Mauritius has a policy making process that involves broad-based discussions with a wide range of groups. “On any issue, ethnic, religious, environmental, social welfare, economic and labour groups would participate… this pattern of interaction between state and society can usefully be considered to be a civic network” (129). This consultation process facilitates genuine contribution from different actors in society, and those involved are given the opportunity to assert a degree of influence over the governing process (129-130). Additionally, Mauritian public service and elected members of parliament are both broadly representative of the population (130). The state is aware of and sensitive to the impact of its policies and programmes on each societal group.
“The openness of the consultative process made a strong statement about the right of each organization and each ethnic community to be included, to be heard and to participate. Exclusion from the decision-making process is probably the greatest fear of minority groups…. Leaders and members of these organizations felt themselves to be part of the system and to be partners in their society” (131). The most important factor about the consultative process is its inclusiveness; all groups are part of the collective citizenry, contributing to public results.
The Mauritian example illustrates the importance of the role of government to promote a concept of citizenship that helps people to rise above their differences and contribute to building a citizenship able and willing to create a future together. A concept of citizenship is essential to building the capacity of government and society to serve the public good and the collective interest. It is at the heart of public administration as it defines how people choose to live together.
Barbara Wake Carroll and Terrence Carroll, 2000. “Accommodating ethnic diversity in a modernizing democratic state: theory and practice in the case of Mauritius.” Ethnic and Racial Studies, 23 (1): pp. 120-142.
Mauritius Cabinet picture : http://www.demotix.com/photo/1352038/new-president-takes-office-mauritius&popup=1
Mauritians celebration : http://www.demotix.com/photo/1105347/mauritius-celebrates-national-day&popup=1