This past June, I accepted an invitation from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and Ocean University of China to participate in the 2019 Public Affairs Governance Workshop in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China. The workshop included scholars from the Maxwell School and universities across China, and focused on collaborative governance, environmental policy, and shared issues in global natural resources management. Specifically, my workshop presentation focused on a new way of “mapping the institutional space” around complex environmental issues to enable more effective and efficient management, an extension of ongoing research I started in the mid-2000s on the United States Forest Service.
I was also fortunate to be able to present to students at Ocean University along with Professor Tina Nabatchi of the Maxwell School. Together, we discussed with students various theories and research on citizen engagement in policy governance with an application to land conservation in the United States. While cultural differences exist between American and Chinese ideas on governance and conservation, the students shared fascinating perspectives about both our commonalities and areas of divergence. For example, while private land conservation concepts are quite different, China’s management of “commons” areas illustrated similarities with the historical American experience and opportunities to learn from one another.
Both students and faculty at Syracuse and Ocean Universities were impressed by the work of Conservation Law Center, and we will hopefully have more opportunities like this to share our work and expand our connections in the conservation community at home and abroad.