Published on January 21, 2009

President Obama endorses public participation

By Thea Shahrokh

Thea has worked for Involve since January 2009, she is on unpaid leave until the end of 2011. During this period she will be working as a Volunteering Advocacy Adviser with the VSO National Volunteering Programme and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport in Guyana. Thea will be posting a monthly blog on the Involve website to share her experiences, and what she has learnt about civic engagement and participation while in Guyana.

One of the first documents signed by US President Barack Obama after his inauguration announced the creation of an Open Government Directive to help the US Administration create an ‘unprecedented level of openness in government’.

One of the pillars of this initiative is a commitment to public participation in government. President Obama writes:

“Public engagement enhances the Government’s effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions. Knowledge is widely dispersed in society, and public officials benefit from having access to that dispersed knowledge. Executive departments and agencies should offer Americans increased opportunities to participate in policymaking and to provide their Government with the benefits of their collective expertise and information. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public input on how we can increase and improve opportunities for public participation in Government.”

For the full memorandum click here.

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