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Mohrman honored for work in international public administration

March 21, 2013

Kathryn Mohrman, co-director of the Center for American Culture at Sichuan University in China, was honored on March 18 with the 2013 Julia J. Henderson International Award. The recognition comes from the American Society for Public Administration’s (ASPA) Section for Women in Public Administration (SWPA).

“The winner of the Julia Henderson award is recognized for their demonstrated commitment to international public administration, and to promoting careers in international public administration and public service,” said Suzanne Discenza, current chair of SWPA. “Dr. Kathryn Mohrman was selected because of her role in the ASU/Sichuan collaboration and her recent recognition from USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development).”

In the past year, Mohrman has received two grants from the Ford Foundation to host conferences for the 19 American culture centers in China that were launched by the U.S. State Department. She is also the principal investigator of a $2.4 million USAID grant that supports an initiative of the Higher Education Engineering Alliance Program to improve Vocational and University Leadership and Innovation in Vietnam.

Mohrman, who has been a professor of practice in the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University since 2008, said she is “honored and thrilled” by the award. “It is a great pleasure to have my name associated with one of the leading examples of women in public administration in the international sphere,” she said.

Julia J. Henderson is one of two female charter members of ASPA, and one of only two women to serve on its national council. During her career, she served for more than 40 years at the United Nations, and is the former secretary general for the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

“She was a real path breaker for women in international fields and for women in public administration,” said Mohrman, who is also director of the University Design Consortium. “I am humbled to be put into a category that has Julia Henderson’s name at the top.”

Like Henderson, Mohrman has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to international public administration, and to encouraging American, Chinese and other students to pursue public service, or careers in local or international public administration. Her current work is particularly aimed at forging new ground in bringing Chinese, Vietnamese and Americans together for academic collaboration, best practices and as colleagues.

She was nominated for the Henderson award by Barbara Lewkowitz, 2012-2013 chair of SWPA, who observed Mohrman’s work as a graduate student in ASU’s Master of Public Administration program.

“Her passion for promoting public administration at the international level was apparent,” Lewkowitz said, “and I enjoyed listening to how the collaborations were developing.”

Prior to working for ASU, Mohrman served as executive director of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, Johns Hopkins University; was a Fulbright Scholar in Japan, Korea and Hong Kong; and was a member of a 30-person collaborative representing 20 nations worldwide that examined higher education issues in the 21st century.

She also has been director of research and development at the Hong Kong-America Center at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and she is a past president of Colorado College, where she expanded international activities for both faculty and students.