Walter Fields has participated in a number of international projects focused on the expansion of citizen rights, democratization and protecting human rights. His work has included participating in a state of New Jersey Trade Mission to Ghana in 1993 to observe and learn about that western African nation’s modernization efforts and to forge greater ties to the African-American community in the United States. A highlight of the trip was meeting with President Jerry Rawlings at the presidential palace in Accra. The trade mission was organized by Fields’ longtime friend Lorna Johnson, then an aide to another friend, Mayor Cardell Cooper of the city of East Orange New Jersey, who led the trade mission to Ghana.

Walter Fields was invited to brief a delegation of Japanese legislators on consumer protections in U.S. product liability law when they visited New York City. Fields was then commissioned to write a report on consumer protections for the Japanese legislature that was later used to draft legislation. At the same time, he was invited to serve as a guest lecturer on public policy at Meiji Gakuin University, a Christian college in Tokyo, by Tomoya Kaji, a professor who read Fields’ writings on the restructuring of New York City’s government after charter reform. The course focused on metropolitan governance, comparing U.S. systems and those in Japan. During his term teaching at Meiji Gakuin University, Fields was invited to lunch with Japanese legislators just days before they passed that nation’s first product liability law.

His work on voting rights and voter empowerment attracted the attention of Operation Black Vote, the leading nongovernmental organization in the United Kingdom focused on expanding Black political participation. He made several trips to London to confer with Operation Black Vote and to exchange information on organizing strategies. Two highlights of his visits to the UK were meeting legendary Black member of Parliament Bernie Grant and participating in a panel discussion in Westminster, the capital building of the British Parliament. Fields was invited to be the keynote speaker at the second annual Conference of Minority Councilors in Manchester that brought together local legislators of color from throughout Europe.

Fields was retained as a consultant to the International City County Managers Association to be part of a 4-person team to conduct a comparative study of democratization in South Africa, Swaziland and Botswana. The study was commissioned by the U.S. Agency for International Development (US AID) during the Clinton administration and was used to set aid policy in sub-Saharan Africa. The team spent weeks in the countries meeting with government officials, political stakeholders and citizens. Following this project Fields was again retained by I.C.M.A and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators to develop a training program for Black city managers in newly democratic South Africa. He spent over a year traveling to South Africa and working with the African National Congress (ANC) developing the program that assisted in the transition of local government control to Black leadership. 

Walter Fields