An explorer of Public Administration and Development: Dr. Paul D. Collins (in memoriam)

Published date01 August 2019
Date01 August 2019
An explorer of Public Administration and Development: Dr. Paul
D. Collins (in memoriam)
This is a short piece to pay tribute to Dr. Paul D. Collins, former editor
and chair of the Editorial Advisory Panel (EAP) of Public Administration
and Development (PAD). Paul passed away in his hometown London
(United Kingdom) on June 28, 2019. He was a longtime public adminis-
tration scholar and practitioner and editor of PAD for more than a
decade (19952010). He gave us an immense legacy in the field of pub-
lic administration and development studies. His large experience as
researcher, UN official, consultant, teacher, writer, editor, and activist
for better public administration systems in the lowand medium
income countries left us a void.
Paul combined his scholarly grounded analysis with his extense
experience in the field. He served in African universities in the 1960s
and 1970s, especially in Nigeria and Tanzania, where besides teaching,
he had a chance to do firsthand research in the emerging postcolonial
system of public administration in those countries. Paul witnessed the
opportunities to make improvements in public administration in newly
independent countries and the need for new models that were not
dependent on the colonial legacy. His experience and analytical skills
led him to work for a decade for the United Nations Development Pro-
gramme (UNDP) in New York, where he directed many programs aiming
at exchanging experiences, training and improving public administration
systems around the world. I remembered hearing his experience in
working with the North Korean government, Albania, and former Soviet
republics. In PAD, he wrote dozens of pieces exploring new fields and
new ways of looking at a particular issue. For example, Paul realized that
China and other Asian countries had lessons to be learned as they were
achieving impressive social and economic development outcomes.
However, there was not much written about public administration in
those countries, accessible to practitioners and scholars. The existing
written material had Western eyes. Thus, he led PAD to look East and
be one of the first public administration nonregional journals to publish
comprehensive analyses on China and Asia led by Asian scholars. His
experience in the UN and as consultant in the donor side, such as work-
ing with RIPA international and for DFID, in the 1980s and 1990s saw a
model of practice in international development that needed change. It
was just a question of time. He was also one of the first editors to realize
the strength of the new emerging donors that are changing the interna-
tional development landscape. Paul was sharp and frank in his evalua-
tions. His analyses were unique in raising issues that no one else
realized or dared to challenge. He was an explorer in the field of public
administration, always looking for solutionsfor new issues and different
ways to analyze old ones.
I first met Paul when I applied for the position of PAD associate
editor in 2008. I got to know him well along the years, particularly dur-
ing the time I was working at the University College London (UCL)
when we met almost every week. More than a scholar and teacher,
Paul was a very good friend and a colleague that everyone liked to
have the company, as being with him was always an invitation to have
a good time discussing the latest developments in public administra-
tion and laughing with his smart jokes and sarcastic British humor,
often drinking a good local beer. Below, I share some stories I col-
lected from scholars that lived and worked with Paul along the
decades. Let's keep Paul in our hearts and minds and carry his legacy
for the next generations.
Jose A. Puppim de Oliveira, Professor, Fundação Getulio Vargas
(FGV EAESP and FGV EBAPE), Brazil & EditorinChief, Public Admin-
istration and Development (PAD)
I first got to know Paul in 1968, when we were both among the
youngest (and least experienced) teachers in the newly established
Department of Political Science in the University of Dar es Salaam.
Paul was a teaching assistant, doing research at the same time toward
his eventual doctorate, and I was an assistant visiting lecturer. At that
time, classes were small, as the yearly cohort of students (who were
almost all Tanzanians) was less than 20. Eventually, most of these stu-
dents rose to high positions in their chosen fields, since this was one
of the first groups of students to pass through what was formerly
the University College of Dar es Salaam (one of our students, a Ugan-
dan, eventually became the President of his country.) As Paul and I
were both interested in public administration, we became fast friends.
The faculty of this small department included a number of ideologi-
cally very assertive members from Britain and Canada, on the one
hand, and a small number of Africans, including the Chair, who were
much more moderate, on the other. Between the two of us, Paul
and I tried to look after our students and to teach from a balanced syl-
labus. After this brief experience, we stayed in touch by post (and
later, internet). Paul generously appointed me to the editorial advisory
board of his new journal, eventually asking me if I would, along with a
South African colleague, organize a special issue on metropolitan
issues worldwide. I did this, with the result that this particular issue
of the journal became one of the most cited sources in a growing
and very important field. With Paul's passing, we have lost a truly ded-
icated development scholar, whose mind and practice were open to
the most innovative ideas.
Received: 13 August 2019 Accepted: 15 August 2019
DOI: 10.1002/pad.1865
Public Admin Dev. 2019;39:163164. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons, 163

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