"On a cold and frigid morning in Laxenburg in February 2013, a group of strangers were first introduced to each other, and set out together on the herculean task of studying this amorphous beast of corruption".
These were the words of Class Speaker Mr. Arjun Ahluwalia at the Master in Anti-Corruption Studies (MACS) graduation ceremony, held at IACA yesterday, International Anti-Corruption Day.
“At many times through this journey, it was easy to become disheartened given the staggering scale of corruption worldwide (…) However, between this diverse group of students, this driven administration of IACA and the passion of our stellar faculty (…) they continually reaffirmed my faith that our work is timely and necessary, and that each of us here is not alone. (…) IACA is a lightning rod for all those who make it a part of their life’s work to combat corruption.”
The MACS was launched in December 2012 as the first post-graduate progamme on anti-corruption and compliance. An “in career" programme, it was designed against an interdisciplinary background of theoretical and practical approaches, drawing on the best of the public sector and the business world. The MACS ran over two years combining seven on-site modules and distance learning. Module VI (Enforcement) was delivered in cooperation with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy in Kuala Lumpur.
Thirty-one students from 17 different countries were admitted, coming from national anti-corruption authorities, private businesses, academia, civil society, and international organizations. Last night, 22 of them walked across the stage to receive their Master’s degrees in Anti-Corruption Studies. Fédéric St-Martin from Canada was honoured for having produced the best thesis (Measuring the Effectiveness of Canadian Whistleblowing Law). The award for the most innovative thesis went to Amit Kumar from India (Impact Assessment of CBI Investigation in NRHM Scam in State of Uttar Pradesh, India: A case study of two districts).
During his commencement address, Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo, the guest of honour and formerly the first prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, shared his personal experience of fighting corruption. He also stressed the importance of the alumni network and reminded graduates that although those fighting corruption are always running slower than those doing it, great progress is nevertheless being made. “Seeing you here today, the first graduates of the MACS, is proof of that”.
In his laudatio, Mr. Martin Kreutner, the Dean of IACA, congratulated the 22 successful students and reminded them that the educated have to take over some additional responsibility for the public good, the polis and the res publica. “In the context of what was said on sustainable development, poverty eradication, social, economic, and political prosperity; in light of the notions of academic freedom, freedom of speech and free critical thinking, I take the liberty of inviting all of you, dear graduates, even urging you to join the forces of this notable and important cause”.
Mr. Nikos Passas, Member of the Academic Consortium, Ms. Monika Stumpf-Hulsrøj, MACS Coordinator, and H.E. Mr. Muhyiedeen Touq, Chair of the Defence Committee, also addressed the remarkable group, saluting their achievements, and thanking them for the visions and pioneering spirit they have shared with IACA and the international anti-corruption family.
The ceremony and reception that followed were joined by family, friends, faculty and a wider network of distinguished guests.
Congratulations to the Graduating Class:
Mr. Ademola ADEBO (Nigeria)
Mr. Arjun AHLUWALIA (India)
Mr. Emmanuel AKOMAYE (Nigeria)
Mr. Ivan ATUYAMBE (Uganda)
Ms. Florica DRAGOMIR (Romania)
Mr. Juliano FRANCO (Portugal)
Ms. Mweemba HAANINGA (Zambia)
Mr. D. Blamo KOFA (Liberia)
Mr. Amit KUMAR (India)
Mr. Gerhard LEVY (Austria)
Mr. Robert LUGOLOBI (Uganda)
Mr. Thomas MITSCHA (Austria)
Ms. Barbara NEIGER (Austria)
Ms. Folake OLUOKUN (Nigeria)
Mr. Khusraw PARWEZ (Afghanistan)
Mr. Yalchin RAFIYEV (Azerbaijan)
Ms. Karen SCHONFELDER (Canada)
Mr. Nuru Addis SEDIK (Ethiopia)
Mr. Kelvin SIWALE (Zambia)
Mr. Frédéric ST-MARTIN (Canada)
Ms. Carola WETT (Austria)
Mr. Andreas WIESELTHALER (Austria)