UNCW Professor Among Global Experts Examining Volunteerism, Governance for the United Nations

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Jeffrey Brudney and Richard Dictus

A UNCW professor of public and international affairs is among a group of experts involved in a global report on volunteerism’s effect on governance.

Jeffrey L. Brudney, the Betty and Dan Cameron Family Distinguished Professor of Innovation in the Nonprofit Sector, is a member of the Expert Advisory Group that oversaw the United Nations’ 2015 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report. The report examines how people around the world are volunteering their time, energies and skills to improve the way they are governed and engaged at local, national and global levels.

The report is the first to view volunteerism as a largely untapped resource for effective governance, peace-making and sustainable development, said Brudney, who has been a member of the UN Expert Advisory Group since 2011. He attended the United Nations Volunteers Meeting in Bonn, Germany, this summer.

“Volunteers across the world can and do play a vital role in making governments more accountable and responsive. To date, though, the research and practice communities have not thought about volunteers systematically in this way,” he said. “Our usual conception is one of volunteers helping other people and growing and learning through their experience. Citizen volunteers make a huge contribution to good governance. Ordinary people have the potential to achieve extraordinary results through volunteering.”

Brudney’s service on the UN Expert Advisory Group has enhanced his own research and teaching by exposing him to diverse people, cultures, traditions and understandings, which has broadened and enriched his perspectives, he said. He uses his experiences to inform students about issues pertaining to volunteerism worldwide and to spark students’ interests about careers and opportunities overseas.

“Relating my experience helps the students to see how an international component may make their lives and future careers more stimulating and rewarding,” he said.

Photo: UNCW Professor Jeffrey L. Brudney and Richard Dictus, executive coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers program. Photo provided by Dr. Brudney.