Cheyney University Professor Making Mark in US and Abroad
October 3, 2013
Gedeon M Mudacumura, Associate Professor of Public Administration at Cheyney University
Gedeon M Mudacumura, Associate Professor of Public Administration in Cheyney University's Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, joined the Cheyney University faculty in 2009. In addition to teaching classes, Dr. Mudacumura has been actively collaborating with his peers on many international issues which are relevant to the field of public administration.
In 2012, Mudacumura organized an International Conference on Democratic Governance: Challenges in Africa and Asia. Hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, the conference fell in line with Cheyney’s strategic plan to expand the scope of the University’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) program by incorporating some elements of international and comparative public administration into its curriculum. Its long-term goal was to create a niche where Cheyney University's MPA program could play a role in addressing critical democratic governance issues facing many developing nations in Africa and Asia.
Over 100 attendees from Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States attended the conference. The highlight of the program was the keynote speaker, Her Excellence Tebelelo Seretse, Ambassador of Botswana to the United States. Botswana is known as the least corrupt nation in Africa. According to Dr. Mudacumura, "exposing our students to an interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners was an enriching and unforgettable experience. The ultimate goal of this conference was to bring together a wide variety of scholars and practitioners to collectively explore the multiple facets of the problems of democratic governance, particularly as they relate to corruption, and to suggest concrete strategies geared toward solving these problems in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and other regions of the world.”
Mudacumura’s native land, Rwanda, was also a 2012 conference sponsor and will host the second International Conference on Democratic Governance in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, in June of 2014. The Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) is conference host. Conference sponsors include Rutgers University, Penn State and Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Mudacumura, will serve as co-chair of the conference which is expected to attract over 200 attendees from all over the world.
In August 2013, Dr. Mudacumura and Cheyney University’s Chief of Staff and Deputy to the President, Sheilah D. Vance, Esq., travelled to Rwanda as guests of the RGB to plan the 2014 conference and explore further collaborative possibilities.
Also while in Rwanda in August, Vance and Mudacumura solidified a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a collaboration between Rwanda’s Institut Polytechnique de Byumba and Cheyney University. The highlight of the collaboration is student, faculty and staff exchanges related to Cheyney’s aquaculture program, run by Dr. Stephen Hughes. “The project will enhance production of fish and vegetables. It has the potential of providing nutrition for many people in Africa,” insists Mudacumura.
Mudacumura, who has worked for the government of Rwanda on various development projects sponsored by the World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development, has a full plate. During the 2013 American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) conference in New Orleans, LA, he was elected by his peers to chair the organization’s Section on International Comparative Administration (SICA), which seeks to bring together ASPA members committed to introducing an international and comparative perspective into public administration practice and academic endeavors. SICA gives practitioners, instructors and researchers a forum to share experiences and to reflect on challenges facing the field worldwide. In addition, Mudacumura’s Conference on Minority Public Administration (COMPA) colleagues voted him in as their next president. As COMPA president-elect, one of Mudacumura’s responsibilities is to plan the 2015 conference which he hopes to hold at Cheyney University. “We are an ideal host for this group and have a lot of experience to share. Our location in the beautiful countryside is convenient for the attendees. It would provide exposure for our students to see other opportunities which are out there. This would help them to think globally and expose them to other countries and other possibilities.”
Mudacumura has also discussed graduate student exchanges between the US and Rwanda. “I watch the trends and see the importance for universities to have connections with schools abroad. The field of Public Administration is growing. We want to expose students to many possibilities and shift the paradigm from local to global - this will help them to compare and compete. Exposure to other cultures is essential and it works both ways. We can attract students from abroad and send our students to other countries.”
According to Mudacumura, “I have a clear goal to make our MPA program domestic and international, and to that end I am trying to expose our students to international issues – not just locally but globally. MPA graduates need to understand the issues throughout the world.”