McCormack Professor Calls for Greater Connectivity Infrastructure During Panel at UN Headquarters


Panel Part of Meeting on Sustainable, Inclusive SocietiesAroon P. Manoharan, associate professor of public policy and public affairs in the McCormack Graduate School, participated in a special panel at the UN headquarters in New York City this spring.

The panel, “Innovative Policy Approaches and Technologies to Foster Participation of All,” was part of the 2018 UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Special Meeting on “Sustainable, Resilient, and Inclusive Societies Through Participation of All.”

“My presentation focused on the potential of technology for public participation and inclusivity,” said Manoharan, whose primary research interest is e-government and the use of information technology in government and politics. “During the presentation, I highlighted the three Cs—connectivity, capacity, and cooperation—that are essential to enable technology to foster participation and promote sustainable development.”

He stressed the need for competency training for public administrators through innovative approaches, such as online learning and certificate programs from universities globally. He also called for greater connectivity infrastructure and global cooperation, citing examples of best practices in the area of municipal e-government. These strategies can enable active citizen participation, which is essential for promoting sustainable, resilient, and inclusive communities worldwide.

The two other panel discussions focused on best practices and innovative policies to facilitate participation and inclusivity. Manoharan has been involved in e-government projects in Prague, Czech Republic; Cape Town, South Africa; and Sofia, Bulgaria. He called the ECOSOC panel “invigorating.”

“There were multiple perspectives and insights shared on sustainable development, and it further highlighted the important functional role of e-government in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

Manoharan directs UMass Boston’s Global Comparative Public Administration Program. His research focuses on the performance of cities in the implementation of e-government initiatives, in terms of privacy, usability, content, service, and citizen participation. 

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