Monthly Archives: March 2011

Special Message to Fellow Public Administrators

This is Masaaki Akagi, the Executive Director of Japan Local Government Center in New York (JLGC-CLAIR, NY), and I am representing for sub-national governments (Prefectures) and municipalities of all Japan in North America.

It has past 9 days since the East Japan Great Earthquake struck Northeastern Japanese Pacific Coast in the afternoon of March 11, 2011.  On this occasion, I would like to convey a special massage to the fellow public administrators.

First, I would like to express the deepest condolence to the families of victims who have passed away.  I would like to also offer comfort to the victims and their families who were hurt and lost their fortune.   For still missing victims, Japanese governments make best efforts to find out them.  Japanese prefectures and municipalities in cooperation with JLGC-CLAIR, NY and CLAIR-Tokyo host Japan Exchange and Teaching assistants (JET) and there are 928 US and Canadian JETs in the devastated area.  We have counted all JETs in the area but 2 US JETs.  We will never give up looking for the missing JETs until we turn the last stone.

Second, I would like to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude for the physical, financial, and moral supports from fellow public administrators all over the world to the disaster.  We shall remember your kindness and compassion forever.

Third, please trust the will and abilities of Japanese public administrators and stand behind them.  Public officials in devastated area; such as Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima Prefectures; have been making best efforts to provide needed services in 24/7 to the victims of this catastrophe equally, whether they are Japanese nationals or foreigners, even though these officials are also disaster victims.  Fire fighters of Tokyo Metropolitan Fire department have been containing the nuclear accident in Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, disregarding health hazards by nuclear radiation.  We can and will manage the disaster mitigation, no matter how difficult it is.  I have never heard any report of looting, rioting, and thieves in the area, which are typical atrocities associated with a catastrophe.   Inaccurate information is still found in US media that sensationalizes the disaster.  I hope you to make fair assessment.

Fourth, for her over 3,000 year history, Japan has never failed to revive from catastrophes.  We shall build much better East Japan in a coming decade.  I believe, “THE SUN WILL RISE AGAIN.”

Thank you very much again for your cooperation and understanding and if you have any comment or question, please forward to

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The Day is off to a Great Start!

The day took off with the Section for Women in Public Administration Breakfast.  The SWPA Breakfast was held this morning and four individuals received awards.  They are as follows:  Frances Burke, Ph.D.; Joan Fiss Bishop Award; Barbara Lewkowitz, MPA; Marcia P. Crowley Award; Patricia Shields, Ph.D.; Rita Mae Kelly Research Award; and Dr. Lotte Bogh Anderson; Julia B. Henderson Award.  The keynote speaker was a special treat because she was the sister of Dr. Patricia Shields, Past Chair of SWPA.  The speaker was Peggy Beltrone, President Exergy Intergrated Systems which is the technology division of one of the largest independently owned renewable energy development companies in the United States.  In addition to the award recipients, scholarships were also provided to Kai-Jo Fu, Rusi Sun, and Sarah Towne.

The day is off to a great start!

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Social Equity…Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

The Ninth Annual Gloria Hobson Nordin Social Equity Award Luncheon was held today.  The event sold out with 125 individuals in attendance.  The Social Equity Award was presented to Ana Dineen, retired coordinator for the Family Resource Centers for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District.  Dineen grew up in San Francisco, the daughter of new immigrants from El Salvador.  She attended the University of San Francisco Nursing School undergraduate program and California University of Sacramento graduate school.  Upon graduation, she practiced in hospitals and public health settings before taking a job at the local school district initially as a school nurse.  For the last 15 years, she has served as Coordinator of the Family Resource Centers.  She recently retired from the school district after 25 years of service. 

Dineen discussed in detail the Family Resource Centers and the services they provide.  Some of the resources they provide include Back to School Resources Fair, Parent Leadership Institute, Adult ESL, and Health Workshops.   She also stated that the center never decides on services based on resources and trends, but it decides on services and then finds the resources.   Dineen concluded by saying “Don’t be discouraged by the economy…keep your eyes on the prize.”

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Ending with a great night and Starting with a Productive Day

Yesterday afternoon topped off a great day at the conference.  The afternoon ended with discussion circles and panel sessions.  After attending the professional development events, ASPA hosted its exhibit hall grand opening.  Attendees were excited about meeting and greeting the exhibitors and seeing what they had to offer.  Shortly after the exhibit hall opening, attendees headed to the Welcome Reception at Camden Yards. The event was located at a renovated warehouse.  Attendees were able to socialize with one another as well as fill their stomachs with a great meal!  The food and venue was amazing and definitely a great location for the event.   

This morning, I started the day at 5:45 a.m. with a staff meeting.  While beginning the staff meeting, the firm alarm sounded and we had to evacuate the building.  We waited for approximately 20 minutes before returning to the staff office.  Luckily, there was not a fire. 

We began the day with section and committee meetings and posters on display.   Currently, the exhibit hall is open and attendees are participating in a coffee break.  The exhibit hall is very busy and attendees are enjoying visiting the booths and picking up goodies.

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2011 ASPA Annual Conference: Without Borders – Welcome Everyone!

The 2011 ASPA Annual Conference is off to a great start!  This morning kicked off with the First-Time Attendee Breakfast.  The event was full to capacity with new members ready to learn about ASPA and all it has to offer.  Experienced ASPA members attended the event to share their experiences with new members and first-time attendees.  Antoinette Samuel, ASPA Executive Director, shared the “lay of the land” and informed attendees that they should attend special events as well as engage in hallway conversations.  She stated that these conversations are the place where the networking begins.  Ms. Samuel also encouraged the first-timers to include themselves in conversations with groups of individuals they may not know.  She suggested that attendees should “impose” on these conversations in an effort to gain knowledge from others.    

After the First-Time Attendee Breakfast, the Opening Plenary Session was held and well attended.  Meredith Newman, ASPA President, served as the moderator for the session.  The Presentation of Colors was presented by the United States Navy.  Members from the Command Choir performed two wonderful selections, the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful.  The Honorary Conference Chairs, Camilla Stivers and Water Broadnax, received special recognition and provided a few words about their appreciation for the award received. 

Congressman Steny Hoyer, Maryland’s Fifth Congressional District representative served as the speaker.  He encouraged attendees to share information with their students and constituents in their communities about events taking place in public service.  He also discussed the defining moment of him deciding to choose public service as a career.   In addition to Steny serving as a speaker, Nancy Kopp, 23rd Maryland State Treasurer, served as the second speaker for the session. 

Saturday morning has gotten off to a wonderful start.  I wonder what the rest of the day holds.  I guess we will have to wait and see.  :)

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