Yale-NUS college professor receives prestigious book award

Yale-NUS college professor receives prestigious book award
University Town at NUS. Prof Sagar's book was selected for the award "for excellence in public administration literature."

SINGAPORE - Yale-NUS College associate professor Rahul Sagar has received the 2014 Louis Brownlow Book Award from The National Academy of Public Administration, US, for his book Secrets and Leaks: The Dilemma Of State Secrecy.

Prof Sagar's book takes a look at the relationships among executive power, national security and secrecy. It examines the dilemmas faced by democracies when it comes to state secrecy, in that citizens understand the importance of national security, but are also concerned that efforts to preserve it could potentially conceal wrongdoing.

It also looks at the role that unauthorised disclosures, whistleblowers and anonymous leaks play in keeping executives in line.

The award is the most prestigious award in the field of public administration and recognises outstanding contributions to such literature.

Prof Sagar's book was commended for its "provocative and compelling arguments", and selected "for excellence in public administration literature, having provided new insights, fresh analysis and original ideas that contribute to the understanding of the role of public institutions and how they serve the public", said the award committee.

Prof Sagar, who hails from Delhi and now divides his time between Singapore and New Jersey, said he is deeply honoured to receive the award. "It is not fashionable to demand that those who wish to expose secrets do so with great care and discretion. I am therefore especially grateful for the award committee's willingness to engage with my book," he said.

He will receive the award and give an address at the National Academy of Public Administration's Fall Meeting in Washington, DC, on Nov 13.

Prof Sagar is an associate professor of political science at the Yale-NUS College and associate professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. He obtained his BA in politics, philosophy and economics from Balliol College, University of Oxford, in 2000, and obtained a PhD in government from Harvard University in 2007.

He has previously taught in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. He has also started work on a second book, in which he makes the case for respecting regimes such as international trusteeships that may not be fully liberal democratic, but which provide greater stability and well-being than a democratic regime can under troubled conditions.

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