Center for Business and Government    

"Your appointment is especially heartening in that it confirms that the issue of corporate responsibility, and the challenge of reconciling public priorities with private interests, are of central importance to society today."

-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a letter to John Ruggie

 

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February 2004 Director's Welcome

 
 

John G. Ruggie, CBG Director2 February 2004

Dear CBG Faculty, Staff, Fellows, and Friends,

Boston area temperatures may be hitting record lows, but here at CBG productivity is on the rise.

I've just returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos, where the edge on geopolitical differences was a bit softer this year than last. In his opening plenary speech, former President Bill Clinton captured very well a challenge faced by the entire world community: there are lots of good ideas around, he said, interesting experiments and growing engagement by firms and civil society actors in helping to solve social and environmental problems. But we lack the institutional means to fully leverage these capacities, to scale up effectively, to exploit synergies. Collaborative frameworks - from the local to the global levels - are required to overcome these impediments, he concluded.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his plenary remarks, challenged the assembled business leaders to work with other social actors, including governments and civil society, to build a global system that is more inclusive, equitable and governed by the rule of law - for without those, he argued, the open world economy itself is in danger.

On a small scale, that's what we try to do at CBG.

Our Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative will commence formally with a workshop on March 4; with Jane Nelson's guidance, Jordana Rubel, CBG's Research Coordinator, has been working tirelessly preparing materials and a website. Please check it out: www.ksg.harvard.edu/csri.

For the past several months, Nell Perlmutter, HIV/AIDS Research Coordinator, has been preparing a package of deliverables from our four part series on "HIV/AIDS in Africa and Asia: Building Sustainable Partnerships". Diana Barrett of HBS presented a preview of her partnership guidelines at Davos, to considerable acclaim. The final component of this project will come to fruition in early March, when a comprehensive guide to forming partnerships in the fight against HIV/AIDS will be available on our website.

CBG senior fellows continue to be active. Bill Rosenberg is organizing a workshop on "Financing and Deploying Integrated Coal Gasification Technology," while Michael Michael, Tom Healey, and faculty members Elizabeth Keating and Cary Coglianese are focusing their efforts on an upcoming Corporate Governance conference.

In late November, the CBG fellows program, under the direction of Elizabeth Bulette, launched a new KSG student mentoring initiative, combining the groundbreaking work of its fellows with the enthusiasm of students eager to get hands-on experience and learn more about public/private partnerships. At this point, over forty students and fourteen fellows have signed on and work has begun on projects ranging from Communications Leadership to Corporate Social Responsibility.

And in keeping with the spirit of the season, Elaine Kamarck's political expertise and creative writing has been featured in a series of Newsday articles comparing the current democratic primary with the contest on the Fox TV program, American Idol. Elaine is a Lecturer in Public Policy and was Senior Policy Advisor for the 2000 Gore Campaign; her articles can be accessed via CBG's website: www.ksg.harvard.edu/cbg.

Finally, knowing how interested you are in these issues, I thought you might like to see the paper I recently wrote on American exceptionalism in the current world order. It is coming out in a book edited by our colleague, Michael Ignatieff.

As you see, we CBG'ers are not letting the weather slow us down. Hope to see you at one of our functions!


Cheers.

 John Ruggie signature

John G. Ruggie

Frank and Denie Weil Director, Center for Business and Government
Kirkpatrick Professor of International Affairs

 
 
 
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