The Middle East and North Africa Public Administration Research (MENAPAR) network was incubated as an offshoot of the research activities of BIPA within the Capacity Development Facility (CDF); a joint project of BIPA and the UNDP. Details about this project can be found at www.cdfbahrain.com.
It was born on the 23 of April 2014 by acclamation of participants in its organizational meeting. It was officially announced during the closing ceremony of the MENAPAR conference on 24th of April 2014 and communicated at a subsequent Press conference.
A preliminary meeting was held on June 1st, 2013 where the idea of creating a regional network of public administration research was exposed in a workshop that was held as a prelude to the IIAS/IASIA congress. The idea was well accepted by the 50+ attendees and further pursued in a BIPA/UNDP joint workshop in early November 2013 to define what the network should look like, what agenda it should pursue, how it will be governed and how it can become sustainable. The MENAPAR conference is the crowning of a year-long effort to jump start this initiative at last and it was done!
Around 250 people came to witness this event which was held concomitantly with the first MENAPAR conference. The second conference will take place in the Spring of 2015 in a different country. The Founding BOARD, which was designated for one year, will decide who will host the second MENAPAR conference.
MENAPAR will promote evidence-based policy and decision-making in public administration through:
• developing thinking and a research culture about strategic issues in Arab Public Administration;
• building research capacities within Arab public administration;
• building networks and harnessing their collective efforts to set the cause of PA in the region;
The objectives of MENAPAR are the following:
• to promote a research culture and help build research capacities in the region’s public sectors;
• to facilitate the implementation of innovative ideas in the region’s Public Administration;
• to foster contacts and create networks among practitioners, researchers and civil servants in the Arab region;
• to further research and academic/ practitioner exchange on issues of public administration, public policies, and good governance in the Arab region;
• to harness the collective intellect and efforts of organizations in the region to promote evidence-based PA and policy-making;
• to develop an indigenous research discourse on PA; one that tackles the problems of PA in the region as identified by the local actors;
to provide a resource base for all actors in the Arab PA scene to use evidence for policy and decision-making. Resources can be in terms of people/consultants, research, or networking.
MENAPAR will achieve its objectives through a number of means; chief amongst these are:
• MENAPAR community of practice/portal;
• Annual conference to pursue the research agenda of MENAPAR;
• Seminars/forums to bring together forward thinkers and share experiences and best practices of PA and governance;
• Training curricula to build research capacity and research absorption in the public sector;
• Applied research deliverables (exp. White/concept papers, case studies, empirical studies, etc.);
• Dissemination of findings through publications, specialized policy outlets, participation in professional PA events, etc.;
• Development of research streams, research partnerships and collaborations, and organization of events to support a cross-regional harmonization of PA practices;
• Organization of panels during international events (IIAS, IASIA, etc.);
• Editing of the Arabic Review of Public Administration (ARPA);
• Communities of practice in a variety of PA subjects and projects;
MENAPAR will foster institutional contacts and exchanges with professional organizations in the field of public administration within and outside the MENA.