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Fountain Appointed Vice Chair of Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government

The World Economic Forum (WEF) in Geneva has appointed Professor of Political Science and Public Policy Jane Fountain to be vice chair of the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government. Fountain served as chair of the Council last year (chairs may serve for only one year) leading sessions at Davos and in Vienna where a major report of the Council, The Future of Government: Lessons Learned from around the World, was launched last June. Fountain was in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from October 9-11 for the Forum's Summit on the Global Agenda. Fountain directs the campus-based National Center for Digital Government and the Science, Technology and Society Initiative and had been a Global Agenda Council member of the WEF for two years before receiving these leadership appointments. 

An independent international organization since 1971, the Forum works with world leaders to shape global, regional, and industry agendas. It created the Network of Global Agenda Councils in 2008 to foster interdisciplinary and long-range thinking. By combining the intelligence and cooperation of academia, government, business, and other fields, the councils drive intellectual discussion, while monitoring and addressing the most pressing risks and challenges on global, industry and regional agendas. Each council serves as the braintrust of the WEF and an advisory board to governments, international organizations, and other interested parties. The network of more than 70 councils includes over 1000 experts and leaders from more than fifty countries. 

Fountain's Council on the Future of Government includes about 15 government, business and NGO leaders from around the world. She will attend the Davos meetings to advocate for her council's recommendations. Their work will also reach several other global and regional forums that are organized by WEF: regional meetings across the world, the Young Global Leaders meetings, industry sector meetings, and more. She serves this year under the chairmanship of Lord Peter Mandelson, who served in several cabinet positions under the Blair and Gordon governments and as the European Commissioner for Trade. 

"The Council chairs play a crucial role in leading deliberations and ensuring the members' engagement in the process of rethinking and addressing global challenges and risks," says Fountain. "This important work draws on the expertise and reputation of the NCDG and its associated global network of faculty, graduate students and practitioners. One of the five key themes for the Forum this year includes digital governance as a driver of transformation." 

 As a speaker, Fountain takes her message across the globe. This semester she will present keynote addresses at the Informatics Association of Turkey annual conference in Ankara on October 26, and at Govcamp Singapore, an event that creates an open learning environment for Gov 2.0 and open government citizens, organizations, and governments on November 18. 

Fountain is the principal investigator of the Ethics in Science and Engineering Online Resource Beta Site project and serves as co-PI or an advisor for several projects supported by the National Science Foundation. She was a recipient in 2010 of the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity, served on the American Bar Association Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of e-Rulemaking and on several advisory bodies for organizations including the Social Science Research Council, the Internet Policy Institute, and the National Science Foundation. Fountain also has worked with governments and research institutions including those of the World Bank, United Nations, European Commission, Japan, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile, Estonia, Hungary, Slovenia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

Fountain's book Building the Virtual State: Information Technology and Institutional Change (Brookings Institution Press, 2001) was awarded an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice and has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. Her articles have been published in scholarly journals including Governance, Technology in Society, Science and Public Policy, the National Civic Review, and The Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery.

You can download a copy of the Council's latest report from their website.

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  • Faculty News