International Policy Update - Five AEA Members Helping to Advance Evaluation Globally

From Mike Hendricks, AEA Representative to the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE), with contributions from Jim Rugh, EvalPartners Co-Coordinator

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Many AEA members work internationally, and almost 20 percent of AEA members actually live outside the U.S., so it’s a little unfair to single out just a few members for special attention. However, these five members (or six, if you allow us some leeway) have made especially visible contributions in the past few months, so perhaps we can highlight them simply as visible symbols of the many AEA members who routinely are advancing evaluation on a global scale. If so, let’s tip our caps to these five internationally minded AEA members (in alphabetical order, to be fair):

  • Tessie Catsambas recently published an article in the American Journal of Evaluation titled “Creating a Global Movement in Evaluation: The Story of EvalPartners.” In case you don’t know EvalPartners, it’s an international collaborative initiative, launched jointly in 2012 by the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE) and UNICEF to improve country-led evaluation systems and policies around the world. EvalPartners has grown far and fast, and it now has 59 international partners, including AEA. You can learn more about EvalPartners here. Tessie’s article captures not only the what of EvalPartners – what happened when – but also the why and how – and it features the committed people who have led this remarkable initiative to promote evaluation globally.
  • Claremont Graduate University – okay, technically this isn’t really a person, so we’re fudging here a bit – is now offering the second round of its totally free “E-Learning Program in Development Evaluation.” This is a menu of nine self-paced, online courses offered mostly in English, but also in Arabic, Russian, and Spanish. Developed by UNICEF, Claremont, and IOCE under the EvalPartners initiative and funded by The Rockefeller Foundation, these online courses were enormously popular in the first round, enrolling 13,000 participants from 172 different countries. If you’re interested, the next set of courses begins on May 26 and runs until September 17. You can learn more about these online courses and enroll if you’re interested here.
  • Catherine Dizon and John Lavelle published an item in the EvalPartners Newsletter titled “AEA Makes Special Efforts to Develop Young Evaluators.” Catherine, at the University of California at Davis, co-chairs AEA’s Topical Interest Group on Graduate Students and New Evaluators (GSNE) along with her co-chair Carolyn Acker of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. John, at Claremont Graduate University, is the program liaison for AEA’s Graduate Education Diversity Internship program (GEDI). You can read their article and learn about other international efforts to encourage young evaluators here.
  • Rakesh Mohan was featured, albeit from long distance, at the 13th annual conference of the Israeli Association for Program Evaluation, held on March 2. The theme this year was “Advocacy for Evaluation,” and Rakesh – whom the Israelis describe as “a staunch advocate for evaluation” – provided a video lecture on the topic. In addition, he then engaged in a lively Skype discussion with conference participants, which the conference proceedings reported was a “scintillating discussion of the main ways to conduct advocacy.” Perhaps most impressive, though, is that Rakesh did all this in the middle of his Idaho night – at 3:00 a.m., to be precise. You can see here a photo of Rakesh and participants during his video lecture.
  • Donna Podems lives in Cape Town, South Africa, and works all over the world, yet she makes time to also serve on AEA’s board of directors, which requires not only occasional travel back to the U.S. for face-to-face meetings but also frequent virtual meetings at odd hours Cape Town time. Outside of her AEA responsibilities, Donna is a recognized expert on the professionalization of the evaluation field around the world. You can readhere a recent article Donna wrote for the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation about the process the South African government used to develop and institutionalize evaluator competencies. To see the importance of this for AEA members, simply look at the latest issue of New Directions for Evaluation, titled “Accreditation, Certification, and Credentialing: Relevant Concerns for U.S. Evaluators.” If interested, you can also participate in an open, ongoing discussion on this topic here.




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