From fascination to conviction

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About five months since August, 11 proud international Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows (2009-2010) of the Fulbright Exchange Program are undertaking their Fellowship programs in the top-rank Maxwell school of Citizenship and Public Affairs in NY's Syracuse University. The Fellows represent 10 countries from all over the globe: India, Tunisia, Liberia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Moldova, South Korea and Israel.

The Fellows are chosen through a globally competitive screening and qualification system through the auspices of their respective Fulbright country commissions and the Institute of International Education (IIE) with grants from the US Department of State.

Each Fellow is expected to make good use of their professional expertise, experiences and dexterity through an exchange program with fellow counterparts from various participating countries. As Fellows, they will be attending special seminars, academic courses, site visits, agency visits and dialogs, professional development activities and professional affiliation activities that are all geared towards attaining their individual program plans for their country re-entry application.

Coming from a diversity of professions, academic credentials, unassailable experiences, fields of interest and expertise, personal advocacies and convictions, the Fellows are connected and bonded in the universal principles of effective leadership, good governance, networking and collaboration, conflict management and resolution, crisis management, citizenship and civil society initiatives among others. One of the perennial issues that keep cropping up is CORRUPTION.

For some, investigating and curbing corruption is a fascination. For others it is a passion. A few more press on as a matter of conviction.

In the interest of fascination, passion and conviction, it is worth looking deeper at the state of corruption among the Fellow's countries.

THE Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) just recently released the annual survey results of the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2009. A CPI score near 10 is categorized as least corrupt, and a score near 1 is more corrupt. A median score of 5 is considered as fair.

The ranking of Maxwell-Humphrey Fellows' Countries in CPI-2009 survey showed the following:

1. Israel (6.1)
2. South Korea (5.5)
3. Tunisia (4.2)
4. India (3.4)
5. Moldova (3.3)
6. Liberia (3.1)
7. Dominican Republic (3.0)
8. Philippines (2.4)
9. Ecuador (2.2)
10. Sierra Leone (2.2)

Israel is taking the lead as the least corrupt, with a CPI score of 6.1 which is above the fair median ranking. This is followed by South Korea at 5.5 in CPI. The rest of the Fellow's countries have serious problems of corruption with a collective CPI scores ranging from 2.2 to 4.2, which are below the fair median ranking.

Ecuador and Sierra Leone have the lowest survey rating with a 2.2 CPI level, making them the most corrupt among the Fellows' countries this year.

The USA - the Fellows' host - garnered a CPI of 7.5, making it as one of the 20 least corrupt countries in the world.

With 180 countries participating in this year's survey, the top 10 countries perceived as least corrupt are:

1. New Zealand (9.4)
2. Denmark (9.3)
3. Singapore (9.2), Sweden (9.2)
5. Switzerland (9.0)
6. Finland (8.9), Netherlands (8.9)
8. Australia (8.7), Canada (8.7), Iceland (8.7)

On the other hand, the top 10 countries perceived as most corrupt are:

1. Somalia (1.1)
2. Afghanistan (1.3)
3. Myanmar (1.4)
4. Sudan (1.5), Iraq (1.5)
5. Chad (1.6)
6. Uzbekistan (1.7)
7. Turkmenistan (1.8), Iran (1.8), Haiti (1.8)

Somalia came out as the most corrupt country in the world for this year, with a score of 1.1 and rank of 180th. Not surprisingly, New Zealand came out as the least corrupt country this year with a score of 9.4 at the 1st rank.

Progression, deterioration

A closer look at the Fellows' countries' performance in the CPI using a 5-year comparative interval growth rates show some interesting patterns.

Four Fellows' countries are consistently deteriorating since 2000: Israel, Ecuador, Sierra Leone and Tunisia.

Israel, Ecuador and Sierra Leone have been deteriorating by 2-3 points in the years preceding 2009. Interestingly, Tunisia is showing sharp deterioration over the years beginning 2000. From a CPI score of 5.2 in 2000, it declined into 4.9 in 2005 and further dropped to 4.2 in 2009.

On the other hand, four other Fellows' countries are showing consistent improvements: India, Moldova, South Korea and Liberia.

Both India and Moldova scaled up by 4-5 points from 2008 to 2009. Liberia showed upward leap by almost 10 points, when its CPI of 2.2 in 2005 jumped to 3.1 in 2009. South Korea also exhibited sharp improvements for the past decade, with CPI progression of 4.0, 5.0 and 5.5 in 2000, 2005 and 2009 respectively.

The Philippines, like USA, displayed a holding-on pattern for the past five years with 1-2 points of variances thereby maintaining its momentum since 1995. The Dominican Republic just participated this year in the annual corruption survey, starting with a 3.0 CPI score.

For more analysis on Philippine and ASEAN corruption levels,
please click on these links:
http://cyberron.blogspot.com/2009/11/holding-on.html and