Meet the future of public value: Spotlight on MPA student… Rodrigo Echecopar
3 December 2020
Introducing Rodrigo Echecopar, 2020-21 Master of Public Administration (MPA) student at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP). We get to know more about him, while discussing public value and why he chose IIPP and our MPA.
What were you doing before you joined the IIPP MPA?
Working in Nuestra America Verde, a civil society initiative that’s building a comprehensive Latin American plan for facing the climate crisis, from a perspective of international cooperation and a commitment to social justice. We’re currently working with more than 100 members of congress from 10 countries, promoting concrete proposals that tackle both decarbonisation and social advances for the people.
Why did you choose to apply to the IIPP MPA?
Because Mariana and the IIPP faculty are challenging the traditional understanding of the role of the state in creating value, opening new doors that help us imagine economies designed to increase the wellbeing of the people, not just the purse of a few. I believe the framework that is being developed in the IIPP will become an invaluable tool for developing policy that promotes social justice, human dignity and sustainable economic prosperity.
What challenges or topics around innovation, public policy and public value concern/interest you the most?
I come from Latin America, where the social crisis of COVID, has come together with the worldwide climate emergency and the deep inequalities we bring from our past. I’m interested in the climate agenda, but I especially want to work on how we can tackle housing, educational, healthcare issues and the new welfare challenges of our times, from a green perspective.
What do you hope to get out of the IIPP MPA?
New tools to better understand how governments from the Global South can help steer their economies towards social goals.
Why do you believe it is important that we change how public value is imagined, practised and evaluated?
The current view of public value, especially GDP, helps some specific interests while smothering others, like those of women and the environment. A new paradigm of public value is a crucial step towards building economies and institutions that nurture life, equality and basic human dignity.
What is your favourite album, film or novel?
If you had to remove one social media app from your phone, which would one would it be and why?
Twitter. It would give me more time to study.
Who would be your top three dream dinner guests (dead or alive)?
John Maynard Keynes, Salvador Allende and my grandfather, who died before I was born. I would love to meet them all and hear their takes on the current world events.
If your fellow MPA students were to visit you in your city, where would you take them and what is a local dish they would have to try?
I’d hand each of them a bike and take them at daybreak, after a winter night rainstorm, up the San Cristobal hill. The view of Santiago, with pristine clean air and the snow-packed Andes Mountains in the back, is almost worth the other 364 days of pollution and chaos. After that, I would have them try an ‘italiano’, a traditional Chilean hotdog you can find at any corner, and that comes with tomato, avocado and mayo. I dare anyone to laugh after they try it.
What is your life motto?
Don’t laugh at ‘italianos’