28 July 2017 - In a bid to better gauge how to best integrate anti-corruption education into universities in the Asia-Pacific region, professors and researchers from some 15 countries from across the area recently gathered in Singapore for an Expert Group Meeting of the Anti-Corruption Academic Initiative (ACAD).
The workshop - organized by UNODC in partnership with the National University of Singapore - provided a platform for academics from the region to share their experiences and good practices in introducing anti-corruption education at universities in their respective countries. Representatives from Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Fiji were all present, with the workshop also offering a forum to discuss the challenges faced when researching and teaching anti-corruption.
Over the course of two days, the participants discussed their respective approaches in terms of substance, structure and methodology, and stressed the relevant challenges and possible ways to overcome them. They also analysed current corruption problems in the Asia-Pacific region, and highlighted the importance of preparing students to face these challenges. The contribution of research to the teaching of anti-corruption was also emphasized. Overall, the workshop enhanced the capacity of the participants to deliver high-quality anti-corruption education in their respective universities, and consider ways to strengthen the ACAD Initiative in Asia-Pacific.
"Such a workshop was really needed and sparked a lot of interesting ideas and discussions that we are now taking back with us to our home countries," noted Dr. Nazir Hussain from the Quaid-i-Azam University in Pakistan, who now wants to introduce research and teaching on anti-corruption in his department.
UNODC's global coordinator of the ACAD Initiative, Sigall Horovitz, meanwhile highlighted the importance of understanding this crime: "The ACAD Initiative was born out of the need for a deeper understanding of corruption issues and to prepare the new generation to deal with this problem. Since its founding in 2011, we have conducted numerous global and regional workshops and expended our academic network significantly. We have also seen how research and teaching on anti-corruption issues has grown and are confident that this trend will be sustained and strengthened over the years."
The workshop also tied in with UNODC's Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, part of the Doha Declaration Global Programme. This initiative supports the integration of crime prevention, criminal justice and other rule of law aspects into education at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, thus contributing to community participation in crime prevention and promoting a culture of lawfulness.