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Maria Aristigueta, dean of the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration, has presented at several national and international meetings in recent weeks.
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Aristigueta presented "Establishing a School of Excellence in Public Affairs During COVID-19 and Over the Years: the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration and lessons for South Africa" to the South African Association of Public Administration and Management (SAAPAM) on Tuesday, Sept. 28. Her talk was the 2021 SAAPAM Vil-Nkomo Lecture. The lecture was named for Biden School alumnus and world-renowned public servant and scholar Sibusiso Vil-Nkomo, who worked alongside Nelson Mandela as public service commissioner to establish integrated civil service in South Africa and was the first Black dean of the University of Pretoria.
Aristigueta gave the keynote address at the online Global Public HR Conference in South Korea. Her presentation, "Current State of the U.S. Civil Service and Enduring Questions," explored the juxtaposition between a perceived public distrust of government and decrease in morale among government employees with the need for a robust civil service infrastructure to support the delivery of necessary services and the preservation of democracy. The conference is an annual event hosted by the National Human Resources Development Institute (of South Korea) and is attended by Korean and foreign government officials, high-profile dignitaries, scholars, and experts in the field. Aristigueta was invited to speak due to her expertise in organizational behavior and performance management in the public sector and the Biden School's research strength and commitment to activities that help preserve robust, functional democracy. View the video of Aristigueta's keynote address, beginning at minute 27.
Aristigueta co-moderated a virtual panel discussion on Tuesday, November 9: "Vaccine Hesitancy and Non-Vaxxers in Latino and African American Populations: A Theoretical and Practical Perspective." The event, hosted by the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), offered views from a variety of experts on the racial and cultural causes and ramifications of vaccine hesitancy in Latino and Black communities. This webinar provided a north/south comparative exploration of the issue from organizations working on the ground with these populations as well as some current research findings. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disparate impact on communities of color, with these populations experiencing a disproportionately high burden of disease and death, seeking out the root causes of vaccine hesitancy and refusal is a critical public affairs issue. As an area of study, it can also more broadly inform understanding of the impact of public policy—and its limitations—in times of a public health crisis, as well as the leadership and implementation factors that may impact the success of enacted policies. ASPA members—including leading public affairs scholars and practitioners—as well as the general public were invited to view the webinar.