Governing Across the Divide: Annual Meeting 2017

Nov 30, 2017



Annual Meeting Summary

The Academy

In November 2017, the National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy) held its 50th Annual Meeting. The Academy is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1967 and granted a congressional charter in 1984 to assist government leaders in building more effective, efficient, accountable, and transparent organizations. The Academy has over 850 Fellows, including former cabinet officers, Members of Congress, governors, mayors, and state legislators as well as prominent scholars, business executives, and public administrators.

The Focus

The focus of this year’s meeting was “Governing Across the Divide,” which built upon the Academy’s cross-country sessions during 2017 that included presentations and gatherings of Academy Fellows and others at four major universities across the United States. Gerton encouraged Fellows to visit special displays during the meeting about the Academy’s history and to record a brief testimonial about what they each value about the Academy.

The Agenda

The 2017 meeting featured an all-star cast of keynote speakers and insightful discussions to address the topic of “Governing Across the Divide.” KPMG worked with the Academy to highlight key findings and takeaways from this meeting.


Consistent with the meeting’s theme, breakout sessions on specific topics included:

  • Building human resource capacity in an intergovernmental system
  • The use of artificial intelligence in government
  • Social equity and emergency management responses
  • The changing roles of states – Focuses on environmental and healthcare policies
  • 2018 major tech trends and their impact on government and leadership
  • International perspectives on public administration in the 21st century: Current and future challenges
  • The future of citizenship and public service
  • Disaster response: An intergovernmental challenge
  • Governing infrastructure.

Other annual meeting activities included:

  • The prestigious Elmer B. Staats Lecture was given by Timothy O. Horne, acting administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration.
  • The prestigious James E. Webb Lecture was given by Katherine Gehl, an American business leader and policy activist and former president and CEO of a food manufacturing company, and Dr. Michael E. Porter, university professor at the Harvard Business School and recipient of 24 honorary doctorates.
  • The 2017 George Graham Award for Exceptional Service to the Academy was presented to Academy Fellow Thomas H. Stanton for his decades-long contributions and dedication to the organization.
  • A book event and reception on The Puzzle of the American Economy: How Changing Demographics Will Affect Our Future and Influence on Politics featured author and Academy Fellow Mark Pisano.
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