Joel Negin: How Australian Universities Can Help Boost AusAID Expertise

    By becoming more flexible and bringing in lecturers in development studies, business and public administration, Australian universities can become efficient training grounds for future staff members of the Australian Agency for International Development, an aid expert and Australian university professor suggests.

    Joel Negin of the University of Sydney and the Menzeis Center for Health Policy notes that while educational institutions are not meant to be “AusAID training factories,” universities in the country “have a role to play in training future AusAID staff.”

    “They need to be more flexible by bringing in lecturers from public administration, development studies, sector experts and business leaders to better prepare young Australians – as well as people from around the world – to be able to make a positive impact in the complex, multi-faceted, multi-actor world of international aid and development,” he writes in the “Development Policy Blog.”

    Negin says universities can help fill the gap in AusAID staff expertise as outlined in a recent independent review of the effectiveness of the Australian foreign aid program. Citing the report, he notes that AusAID currently lacks the staff to support its expanded strategy and transition from days of hiring outside advisers.

    As AusAID tries to fill in this void, universities must also attempt to find ways to provide their graduates and interested students with the necessary skills such as “high-level negotiation capacity, stakeholder management, diplomacy and sector policy design,” Negin adds.

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    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.