The past year has been as busy as usual. Looking at some of the areas I have been working in, there is though not much room for optimism. Whereas the international economic crisis, with all the public attention it is drawing, causes just a marginal set back for most of us in the Western world, it is seriously adding to the real burdens carried by hundreds of millions of poor people living under less favourable conditions. More or less the same picture can be drawn when looking at the conditions for free, critical and independent media – especially the Public Service part of it. Tightening governmental control, huge financial problems and marginalization of national media under the pressure of streamlined international television and web services. In Eastern, Central and Southern Europe journalists and media management are familiar with these problems. Sadly enough their colleagues in the peaceful North-Western corner of the continent are beginning to “learn the lesson” the hard way.
In the field of management- and leadership studies I have been working with a committed group of researchers and practitioners at the Centre for Business Development and Management (CVL) / Copenhagen Business School. We are – when the necessary funding is secured – starting up a three year research programme looking into “Future leadership in the public sector”, or in project slang: “The era of New Public Management is coming to an end – what can be its substitute securing a new and better working environment and a more fruitful way of steering and managing the production and delivery of public services?”.
Another project at the Copenhagen Business School was brought to a successful end by the publication of the book: “On behalf of the Minister” written together with five, now all retired, permanent secretaries and director generals from the Danish public administration. In the book we are telling the story of the development of the state administration in the last fifty years with a special focus on steering- and management methods. It is a special privilege for me to be able to combine this theoretical perspective with my involvement in the more practical management work on the boards of Roskilde University and the Danish Film Institute.
In the the media area I have – besides participation in numerous workshops and conferences round Europe - been invited by the Open Society Institute (OSI) (an affiliate of the Georges Soros Foundation) to join the editorial commission of a two year project looking at the influence of the media digitalization on civil society (i.e. freedom of the press, editorial independence, cultural pluralism etc.) in selected countries in Asia, Africa, Americas and Europe.
After a couple of year’s preparation (see status 2008 and 2007) the project on “Broadcast in Small Nations” – which I am co-editing with professor Greg F. Lowe University of Tampere, Finland - is now lifting from the ground with a dozen committed and very talented contributors to a book expected to be published at the end of 2010 with indispensable sponsorship and nursing from professor Robert G. Picard and his Media Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC), Jönköping International Business School. At the end of the year I was asked by the “Steering Committee on Media and New Communication Services” (CDMC) of Council of Europe to join the new Ad hoc Advisory Group on Public Service Media Governance. I the light of the difficult situation in many countries I am looking forward to participate in this important work.
An important part of the work within CARE International (click here) has this year been focused on the climate change issue leading up to the UN December COP15 conference in Copenhagen. A field visit in October-November to CARE projects in Vietnam gave unmistakable evidence of the importance of Cares’ commitment to help the marginalized, poor people you often find even in a fast growing economy like the Vietnamese.
All in all I am living a privileged life working with so many talented and committed people in such important and diversified areas. Often too busy to remember expressing my gratitude for being allowed onboard.