IACA proudly celebrated the graduation of the 2015 – 2017 Master in Anti-Corruption Studies (MACS) class in a festive ceremony at its Laxenburg campus on Thursday, just ahead of International Anti-Corruption Day.
“It is not governments who suffer as a result of corruption, it is ordinary people; this is why IACA must exist – for the people. Graduates of the MACS programme are the new anti-corruption leaders, and it is up to us,” highlighted Mr. Kent Kroeker, elected as the MACS student speaker, in his address to fellow graduates and the distinguished guests.
The 22 graduates, the third cohort to have completed this unique global academic programme, come from 16 countries around the world: Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, El Salvador, India, Japan, Liberia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Uganda, and the United States of America.
Their professional backgrounds are equally diverse; this year’s MACS graduates work in international organizations, private companies, government ministries, anti-corruption commissions, law enforcement bodies, NGOs, and the media.
The guest of honour at the ceremony was Mr. Michael Hershman, co-founder of Transparency International and Chair of IACA’s International Senior Advisory Board. In his speech, he discussed the anti-corruption cause and the beginnings of IACA more than a decade ago, offering the students some words of inspiration: “You are the champions of the cause, and it gives me hope that this group of individuals will continue the fight against corruption, a group that truly understands the damage corruption causes and the benefits of tackling it.”
In his laudatio, Mr. Martin Kreutner, the Dean of IACA, encouraged the graduates to take great pride in their achievements, and asked them to reflect on how much more they can still accomplish in the field of anti-corruption.
“As graduates, all of you have the opportunity to become leaders in anti-corruption and compliance in your own countries and beyond. In fact, I would argue that with your MACS education, you have a responsibility to assume this leadership role and inspire others to follow you,” he noted.
“If you can meet this leadership challenge, and inspire others as I hope the MACS has inspired you, then the best is yet to come,” he concluded.
Professor Peter Rosner of the University of Vienna and Chair of the Defence Committee, and Professor Elena Helmer, Director of Academic Programmes at IACA, also addressed the graduates and guests. All the speakers strongly commended the achievements of the new graduates, especially the quality and diversity of their master’s theses, and emphasized the significance of their efforts in the fight against corruption.
Mr. Pawan Kumar Sinha from India was honoured for having written the best master’s thesis with his work on “Exploring Effectiveness of Automation in Controlling Corruption in Customs: Theoretical and Empirical Evidences: A Case Study of India”. The award for the most innovative thesis was given to Ms. Danielle Lewin (Australia) for “The Mechanics of Family and Friendship-based Corrupt Partnerships: An Australian Case Study”.
In addition, Mr. Abdul Noman Mahdi (Afghanistan) and Mr. Johnny Saverio Ayik Saverio (South Sudan) were presented with the Dean’s Special Award for overcoming adversity, in recognition of their determination, commitment, and personal courage in successfully completing the programme.
The MACS was launched in 2012 as the world’s first postgraduate programme in anti-corruption and compliance. It consists of seven modules, combining in-class and distance learning, and a master’s thesis. The 2015 – 2017 class attended the in-class component of one module in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The next MACS programme starts in October 2018, and the application deadline is 31 May 2018.