Integrity and values in government course

How can integrity be strengthened in political campaigning? Earlier this month, Lemann Fellows and Young Leaders from Brazil gathered at the Blavatnik School of Government to explore issues around this question. They were joined by some of our MPP alumni who have been involved in campaigns or are elected officials: Zahra Latif (class of 2015), Jeremy Roberts (class of 2015), Ahmed Safar (class of 2013), and Marian Schreier (class of 2012).

The ‘Integrity and Values in Government’ executive education course was convened as part of the School’s partnership with the Lemann Foundation to promote excellence in public service through professional training. It drew on the School’s Building Integrity Programme, a multi-disciplinary research programme that seeks to provide an authoritative account of what it means to be a public institution with integrity, and to understand how to promote integrity within institutions. Many members of the Blavatnik School’s faculty led workshops, facilitated case work and worked with the participants over three days. This was complemented by sessions led by practitioners with extensive experience currently working on campaigns.

Throughout the course, the 37 participants – most of whom intend to run for public office in Brazil in 2018 – were encouraged to reflect upon and evaluate the commitments that inform public policy.

The course began with Jonathan Wolff, Blavatnik Professor of Public Policy, unpacking “The ethics of integrity”. Dean Ngaire Woods gave a key note address on the breakdown of trust in contemporary politics. Stewart Wood, Fellow of Practice, worked with groups highlighting the damaging effects of corrupt practices on political campaigns and the importance of acting with integrity. Karthik Ramanna, Professor of Business and Public Policy, ran a lively case-study session on integrity in recruitment, while Tom Simpson, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy, shared his expertise during the session “The concepts of integrity and corruption”, addressing how to tackle corruption within the political system and promote integrity, and Associate Faculty member Jody LaPorte presented her inspiring research on anti-corruption campaigns in Russia. In addition, the programme included external high-level guests who shared their insights into running for public office and political campaigns.

The three days also provided many opportunities for discussion and exploration outside of the classroom. Various extra-curricular activities gave attendees the chance to network with one another and experience the city of Oxford.