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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March 2004 Director's Welcome

 
 

John G. Ruggie, CBG DirectorMarch 2004

Dear CBG Faculty, Staff, Fellows, and Friends,

CBG's primary mission is to support our faculty in advancing their research agenda. But we also serve as a convener for public dialogue, and try to bring the best of social science to bear on resolving pressing social problems. This past month we had several opportunities to play that role.

On March 4, CBG launched its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiative. Over one hundred national and international thought leaders and business executives convened at the Charles Hotel to assess the current state of CSR, focusing both on existing approaches to CSR and devising new possibilities for advancement; presenters and discussants represented a broad range of academics and practitioners. The event culminated in a Forum, "The Public Role of Private Enterprise," which was moderated by David Gergen, Professor of Public Service and Director of the Center for Public Leadership, and included Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Director-General of the World Health Organization, former Prime Minister of Norway and Chair of the United Nations Commission on Environment and Development; Richard Cavanaugh, President and CEO of the Conference Board; Rosabeth Moss Kanter, the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School; and Vernon Ellis, Chairman of The Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum, a member of the G8's Digital Opportunities Task Force and International Chairman of Accenture. It was followed by a dinner discussion with Robert Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, who spoke on the subject of "Trends in Social Capital." The CSR Initiative is a joint venture with the Center for Public Leadership; Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations; and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. CSR is made possible by the support of a core group of Founding Supporters: The Coca-Cola Company, ChevronTexaco, General Motors, and Walter H. Shorenstein. Additional support is provided by Booz Allen Hamilton.

Business Leaders from Japan gathered at CBG on February 25, for the eleventh annual Doyukai Symposium, titled "Restructuring Security and Economic Issues in a New World Order". The symposium included frank discussions on a wide range of issues, from regional security and economic challenges to American presidential politics and the future of the US and Japanese economies. A commonality of views emerged from the day's discussions. Despite a wide range of experiences and perspectives, there was a clear sense that the interests of the Japanese and Americans continue to be aligned. In fact, it was often noted that it seems that Japan and the United States are closer now than they have been in some years. The participants also concluded that the Japanese economy is on the rebound and that cautious optimism, therefore, is in order.

Earlier this year, CBG took its convening role overseas as Asia Programs launched its AIDS Public Policy Program with a 7-day intensive training course in Beijing, China. Eight faculty from across Harvard made the trip to Beijing and, working with Tsinghua University, taught thirty government officials from various national level ministries and key agencies involved in the AIDS response. The course was a tremendous success and the Chinese National AIDS Center has asked CBG to collaborate with them to build the capacity of local officials in the worst affected provinces through a similar training course this summer.

Back to the scholarly front, we want to congratulate Lori Snyder, a pre-doctoral fellow and the former coordinator of the Environmental Economics Program at CBG, who recently accepted a position as an Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Science at Duke University. Lori's research focuses on innovation in environmental regulatory policy. She will be receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard in June and will begin her new job at Duke in August. Our best wishes to you, Lori!

Finally, I take the liberty of attaching a keynote address I've just delivered at a joint meeting of Deutsche Bank and its corporate foundation, the Alfred Herrhausen Society, in Frankfurt, entitled "Creating Public Value: Everybody's Business."

In conclusion, CBG continues to reach beyond academia and act as a convener for public dialogue, and as evidenced by our colleague's success, CBG seeds academia with innovative ideas and the next generation of thought leaders.


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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