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Applications for the 2025 Ian Axford Fellowships are now open

The fellowships are for outstanding mid-career US professionals to research and gain first-hand experience of public policy at a New Zealand government organisation. 

Applications must be received by 5pm 15 July 2024 (NZT). 

More information, including how to apply, is available here.

Digital Accessibility in New Zealand and the US

2024 Axford Fellow Megan Seeds recently sat down with Access Advisors to talk about digital accessibility efforts in Aotearoa and the US. The conversation, which covered legislation, training and generative AI, has been written up as a blog post, which you can find here: https://accessadvisors.nz/blog/digital-accessibility-in-nz-and-us/

IPANZ Ian Axford Fellowship Welcome Webinars

In partnership with the Ian Axford Fellowships in Public Policy, IPANZ presents a mini webinar series introducing the 2024 fellows and the work they will be doing in Aotearoa New Zealand.

On Monday 25 March, Rachel Levinson-Waldman will be in conversation with Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster and Deputy Privacy Commissioner/IPANZ President Liz MacPherson. Register here.

Rachel is the managing director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty & National Security Program in America, and while in Aotearoa New Zealand she will be working in the realm of privacy, social media, and artificial intelligence.

 

 

 

Introducing the 2024 Ian Axford Fellows!

We are delighted to introduce the 2024 Axford Fellows – Rachel Levinson-Waldman and Megan Seeds – who will be starting their Fellowships in Aotearoa in February.

Rachel Levinson-Waldman – 2024 Ian Axford Fellow

Rachel Levinson-Waldman - 2024 Axford Fellow
Rachel Levinson-Waldman – 2024 Axford Fellow. Photo courtesy of Brennan Center for Justice

Rachel Levinson-Waldman, from the Brennan Center for Justice, will be hosted in New Zealand by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. Her project title is ‘Social Media Surveillance in New Zealand: Landscape, Best Practices, and Guardrails’.

“I am thrilled to join the New Zealand Office of the Privacy Commissioner, where I will have the opportunity to contribute to the office’s work on some of the most challenging issues in the realm of privacy, social media, and artificial intelligence. I have been working on these issues for years in the U.S., and I believe this exchange can be beneficial to the development of policies and norms in both countries,” says Rachel. “On a personal level, I am excited for my whole family, including my husband Ariel and our children Sarah and Eli, to experience life in New Zealand.”

 

 

Megan Seeds – 2024 Ian Axford Fellow

Megan Seeds, from Hennepin County, Minnesota, will be gaining experience in Aotearoa at the Ministry of Social Development. Her project title is ‘Strategies to transform digital experience in New Zealand’s social service delivery’.

Megan Evans-Seeds - 2024 Axford Fellow
Megan Evans-Seeds – 2024 Axford Fellow

“All of us in government are challenged to quickly harness emerging technology in a way that benefits our residents and protects their data. I’m excited to learn from new colleagues at the Ministry of Social Development and know I will have plenty to share back with my home organisation in Minneapolis,” says Megan.

It’s exciting for Megan on a personal level as well. “My family and I are very much looking forward to our time in Aotearoa. This will be my children’s first abroad experience and I’m eager to see how their eyes are opened to the many ways we are all similar and different around the world. I look forward to exploring Wellington and beyond. My family and I love spending time together outdoors and know the New Zealand landscape will not disappoint! As much as we love winter in Minnesota, enjoying a second summer via this southern hemisphere adventure is a welcomed gift.”

 

Sam Mulopulos (2023 Axford Fellow) on Artificial Intelligence (AI) – lessons from the US applied to NZ

November 2023

We hear a lot these days about artificial intelligence (AI) – the potential and the opportunities as well as the risks.  2023 Axford Fellow Sam Mulopulos’ core project in Aotearoa focussed on supply chain resilience policy, but AI is something that he has also been thinking about a lot. And when he was in New Zealand earlier this year, he wrote an article about it which has just been published in the November ‘Policy Quarterly’ (the journal of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington).

Sam Mulopulos
Sam Mulopulos

 

“This was a side project I did for fun… which lays out some ideas to inform the development of New Zealand-specific AI policy,” says Sam.

“It’s exciting to contribute in this small way to debates about technology in New Zealand.”

Read Sam’s full article: An AI Agenda for New Zealand: Lessons from the United States

Please note that any opinions expressed are Sam’s own and do not represent those of the Ian Axford Fellowship.

 

 

Final Reports from 2023 Ian Axford Fellows, Sam Mulopulos and Rachel Wolbers

An enthusiastic audience turned out at the Treasury on 1 August to see the 2023 Ian Axford Fellows, Sam Mulopulos and Rachel Wolbers, present their final reports. Sam and Rachel have recently completed their Fellowships which gave them both six months of first-hand experience of public policy research in New Zealand. The Ian Axford Fellowships are administered by Fulbright New Zealand, which organised the report back sessions in conjunction with the Institute of Public Administration New Zealand (IPANZ).

L-R: Roy Ferguson (Chair of the Ian Axford Fellowships Board) with Rachel Wolbers and Sam Mulopulos.
L-R: Roy Ferguson (Chair of the Ian Axford Fellowships Board) with Rachel Wolbers and Sam Mulopulos.

 

Sam Mulopulos

Sam was previously at the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, US Senate, and has spent his time in Aotearoa based at the Treasury and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His research has been in the area of Supply Chain Resilience. Read Sam’s full report Supply Chain Resilience Policy: Theory, Practice and Action.

Sam Mulopulos presents at the report back session.
Sam Mulopulos presents at the report back session.

 

Rachel Wolbers

Rachel, from the Oversight Board (for Meta) has been based at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in New Zealand, researching the next steps for the Christchurch Call to Action. Read Rachel’s full report The Future of the Christchurch Call to Action: How to Build Multistakeholder Initiatives to Address Content Moderation Challenges.

Rachel Wolbers presents at the report back session.
Rachel Wolbers presents at the report back session.


2023 Ian Axford Fellows Report Back Seminar – 1 August (Wellington)

The 2023 Ian Axford Fellows, Sam Mulopulos and Rachel Wolbers, will be presenting on their final reports at the Treasury (Wellington, NZ) on 1 August 2023. Please visit the IPANZ website to register for this event. We look forward to seeing you there!

Sam Mulopulos and Rachel Wolbers at the Fulbright report back session



Applications for the 2024 Ian Axford Fellowship have now closed.



Axford Annual Function in Washington DC

A double celebration of the Axford (New Zealand) Fellowships and Fulbright New Zealand’s 75th anniversary was held recently at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC. Axford alumni and friends attended, as well as some current Fulbright grantees. It was great to see the return of this event in 2023, after a few years’ break due to the pandemic. This function was held just prior to the interviews for our 2024 Fellows – who we look forward to announcing in the coming months!

Guests, including Dianne Sika-Paotonu (Fulbright NZ Scholar) and Axford alumna Lisa Lunt, listening to the speeches.

L-R: Hariata Tai Rakena (Fulbright NZ Science and Innovation Graduate), Penelope Borland (Fulbright NZ Executive Director) and Dianne Sika-Paotonu (Fulbright NZ Scholar).

Roy Ferguson (Chairperson of Axford (New Zealand) Fellowships Board), Dianne Sika-Paotonu (Fulbright NZ Scholar), and Dawn Ferguson.

A speaker addresses attendees at the 2023 Axford Annual Function in Washington DC

His Excellency Mr Bede Corry (NZ Ambassador to the US) speaking about the importance and value of international exchanges.

L-R: Melody Kim (Fulbright NZ Science and Innovation Graduate), Penelope Borland (Fulbright NZ Executive Director) and Sophie Oliff (Fulbright NZ Science and Innovation Graduate).



Awards 2023

We are pleased to announce that two Fellows have been selected this year for Ian Axford Fellowship in Public Policy. The Fellows will arrive in February 2023 and spend six months in New Zealand to carry out the following research projects:

Rachel Wolbers

 

Rachel Wolbers from the Oversight Board (for Meta) will research “Next Steps for the Christchurch Call to Action” while gaining experience at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

 

 

Sam Mulopulos

 

Sam Mulopulos from Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, U.S. Senate, will research “Supply Chain Resiliency: A comparative Analysis of Policy Solutions in New Zealand and the United States” while gaining experience at the Treasury and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade.

 

Congratulations, Fellows, we are looking forward to meeting you upon your arrival!

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