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LBJ School to Host Annual NASPAA Conference of Deans and Directors of Nation’s Top Public Affairs Schools and Programs

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 16, 2012 -- The LBJ School of Public Affairs will host the 2012 Annual National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) Conference in Austin Oct. 18-20. NASPAA is the accrediting body of 280 college, school and graduate programs in public administration, public policy and public affairs, which collectively award more than 10,000 public administration and public policy degrees each year.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Horizons in Public Affairs: Visions, Innovations and Strategies.” It is derived from NASPAA’s two-fold mission of ensuring excellence in education and training for public service, and promoting the ideal of public service. This year the conference will also feature panels designed to stimulate discussion on cutting-edge questions of major importance to our community.

In addition to being the lead host for this year’s conference, the LBJ School will also feature 17 faculty and staff participating in 24 panel discussions, including LBJ School Dean Robert Hutchings who will convene a special panel of deans titled, “Leading Innovation”. Topics to be discussed include updating and refreshing curriculum to keep pace with the rapidly changing world of public policy, integrating global perspectives and global sensibilities into teaching and research, bringing the practitioner perspective into the classroom and innovating with scarce resources.

“We are pleased to play host to this group of educators who do so much to prepare the next generation of leaders to take on the great challenges of our time,” said Dean Hutchings. “This conference is a terrific opportunity to showcase our school, university, and especially our city. Additionally, we were very happy to be afforded the opportunity to serve up several distinguished guest speakers and panelists who have a personal connection to the LBJ School.”

The Honorable Diana Quintero Cuello, Vice Minister for Strategy and Planning for the Republic of Colombia, will open the conference on Thursday, Oct. 18. Cuello received her Master's of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Pat Mitchell, President and CEO of The Paley Center for Media, will deliver the luncheon keynote address on Thursday, Oct. 18. Mitchell is also the former President and CEO of PBS and the Founder of TedWomen. Mitchell also sits on the LBJ School Dean’s Advisory Council.

Laura Huffman, an LBJ School graduate and Texas State Director of The Nature Conservancy, will deliver a luncheon keynote address on “Conventional Wisdom: Why It’s No Longer Conventional” on Friday, Oct. 19.

The centerpiece of the conference will be the private dinner hosted by the LBJ School for registered attendees taking place on the LBJ Plaza at sunset on Thursday, Oct. 18. The event will bring together over 400 attendees for a multimedia presentation by LBJ Library Director Mark Updegrove. The event will also feature a special welcome from the City of Austin presented by Austin City Council Member Bill Spelman, an LBJ School faculty member. The dinner is sponsored by Hill+Knowlton Strategies, The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, and Vianovo.

Additionally, LBJ School faculty will host policy topic discussions at each dinner table, treating guests with specific policy interests to informal discussions of some of the day’s biggest issues. Table topics will include: Foreign Policy and the 2012 Election; What Happened to the Immigration Debate?; Is America in Decline?; The Incredible Shrinking Middle Class; The Future of Healthcare Reform, and the Role of Social Entrepreneurship in Public Policy.

On Saturday, Oct. 20, invited deans and program directors will be treated to an inside look at the LBJ Ranch in Johnson City with a tour of the facilities by Luci Baines Johnson, daughter of President Johnson. The event will also feature a replication of President Johnson’s famed “Texas State Dinner” featuring an afternoon of activities including a BBQ dinner and music by the Hot Club of Cowtown.