I recently had the pleasure of teaching in the International Anti-Corruption Academy’s Masters Program. It’s a teacher’s dream: 30 students from all around the world, with a keen interest in corruption prevention, and several years of practical experience.
These students hailed from 20 different countries of wildly diverse geographic origin and degrees of development: Germany, Switzerland, the U.S., Australia, Brazil, India, Singapore, Malaysia, El Salvador, Bahrain, Uganda, Sierra Leone, just to name a few. The viewpoints and accents flying around that room were dizzying, in the most stimulating of ways.
And we discussed the extraordinary historical moment that this program represents. Our parents and grandparents were not having these conversations, and for so many reasons: many governments would have prohibited it; airline travel was a privilege of the elite; and most fundamentally, we would not yet have come to share the fundamental conviction that corruption is something we really can change.
Still, many of these students could not have financed their way to Vienna but for one very good idea: the Siemens Integrity Initiative.
As a term of its settlement with the World Bank, Siemens set aside over $100 million to fund anti-corruption initiatives around the world. Part of that money is now used to provide scholarships to qualified and deserving anti-corruption professionals to participate in IACA’s programs. These capable students deepen their understanding of corruption issues, get to study with the world’s thought leaders (they just finished working with Robert Klitgaard, Michael Johnston, and Nikos Passos), and just as importantly from a teacher’s perspective, contribute their unique perspectives on anti-corruption theory and practice for the benefit of us all.
Anti-bribery settlements are famously hefty. There’s a lot of money there. Imagine — just imagine — if we replicated the Siemens model. Imagine if we took a small portion of that settlement money to fund anti-corruption initiatives in those countries where bribery most often occurs, and where the people suffer the most.
Would that not advance the cause? Wouldn’t everyone come out looking, and feeling, better?
But what would we do with the money? I asked the students this question. Their answers? Next post.
Andy Spalding is a Senior Editor of the FCPA Blog and Assistant Professor at the University of Richmond School of Law.