Commentary: Motivating for the Common Good

Date01 January 2014
Published date01 January 2014
Motivating for the Common Good 125
G. Oliver Koppell is a member of the
New York City Council and a practicing
attorney. He has served as an elected
off‌i cial for 35 years, as a member of the
New York State Legislature (1970–94), as
New York State attorney general (1993),
and as a member of the New York City
Council (2001–13). After graduating from
law school, he spent one year in a Maxwell
School of Syracuse University Public Service
Fellowship in India.
G. Oliver Koppell
New York City Council
As we commemorate the f‌i ftieth anniversary of
the assassination of President John F. Kennedy,
we remember his clarion call to public service
in his inaugural address: “Ask not what your coun-
try can do for you—ask what you can do for your
country.” While Kennedy’s entreaty undoubtedly
motivated many individuals to commit themselves
to a greater degree of public service, we do not have
inspiring f‌i gures like President Kennedy speaking to
young people on a regular basis in order to motivate
citizens, particularly younger Americans, to commit
themselves to careers that assist others and build our
communities and the nation. It is important to create
programs and institutions that will encourage public
Kevin D. Ward has conducted a study titled
“Cultivating Public Service Motivation through
Motivating for the Common Good

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