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Date and time: Friday 28th February 2020 12.30 – 1.30 pm NB: new times
Topic: The History of Evaluation… and What May Lie Ahead
Presenter: Prof. Robert Picciotto, University of Auckland
Venue: Asteron Building, Level 5, 55 Featherston Street, Wellington NB: new venue
Register online by: 25 February 2020

This is a free seminar organised by the NZ Wellington Regional Network Committee of the AES. Our seminar series provides an opportunity for you to meet with AES members and others in Wellington and to share and learn from the experiences of fellow evaluators. Members are encouraged to bring along colleagues with an interest in the topic even if they are not yet members of the AES. Please pass this onto your colleagues and networks.

Seminar overview

While evaluation as a practice has been around from time immemorial, evaluation as a free-standing discipline arose out of the ashes of World War II when government turned to the academy to guide public policy. Since then, evaluation diffusion has resembled a succession of waves. The first wave was scientific. The second was dialogical. The third was neo-liberal and, since the turn of the century, we have been surfing on an evidence-based wave. But evaluation today is no longer a special calling: it is increasingly perceived as a specialised form of management consultancy. Does Max Weber’s logic of rationalities explain this evolution? Whereas the evaluation pioneers shared a bracing vision, half a century later the glitter has faded, and disenchantment has taken hold. Eminent evaluation thinkers are asking the same questions about evaluation that they have been routinely asking of others - with sobering results. Yet, countervailing currents and turbulent streams lie just below the surface. Once a tipping point is reached, a new wave will begin to curl. What will the fifth wave look like?

Presenter overview

Robert Picciotto, Adjunct Professor, University of Auckland, and Senior Independent Evaluation Adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is a graduate of Princeton University and a member of the Academy of Social Sciences. He retired from the World Bank in 2002 after holding several management positions, including Vice-President, Corporate Planning and Budgeting and Director-General of the Independent Evaluation Group.


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