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"Society needs our engagement and leadership and we are responding to the challenges and opportunities, both domestically and globally, with an ambitious array of programs that are benefiting society's understanding of issues at the critical crossroads between the public and private sectors."

-Ira A. Jackson

 

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April 2001 Director's Welcome

 
 
2 April 2001

As we anxiously await the arrival of the signs of spring in Cambridge after a long, snowy (and now very wet!) winter season, the pace and scope of activity here at the Center for Business and Government accelerates and expands.

Faculty seem to arrive in my office daily with their latest publication (Lew Branscomb dropped by with his new book with Phil Auerswald, Taking Risks: How Innovators, Executives and Investors Manage High-Tech Risks) or new idea for some cutting-edge conference, research project or funding opportunity.

Staff are working flat-out to arrange a major conference later this month that we're hosting along with the National Commission on Entrepreneurship on public policy and high growth companies. We're also busy planning for a serious and methodical examination on economic policy-making during the '90s that Jeff Frankel is organizing for late June; and they continue launch a number of events that engage prominent decision makers in stimulating discussions (including former Premier Tang Fei of Taiwan, Mario Monti of the European Commission and Taichi Sakaiya, former Japanese Minister of State for Economic Planning).

Each day seems to bring with it another headline or crisis - the electricity meltdown in California, the challenge of sustaining productivity improvements in a now-sputtering new economy, the controversy around global warming and the Kyoto Protocol. Each seems to speak to the need for doing what we do: providing guidance to business, government and leaders of civil society on how we can find approaches that better align markets with social values and in a way that engenders greater public trust and confidence.

I'm regularly visited by colleagues and new associates from other centers here at the Kennedy School, from around Harvard University, and throughout the world who are looking for ways to collaborate with us or to tap the talents of our faculty in helping them address opportunities and obstacles at the edge of new frontiers of teaching, applied research and engagement.

We're also enthusiastically awaiting the arrival of Harvard's new President, Larry Summers, whose extraordinary career represents the epitome of what CBG is all about and what we aspire to advance: academic and intellectual excellence, public sector leadership, and understanding and active engagement between the worlds of business, government and civil society. We couldn't hope for a leader of our University who better captures, appreciates, and promotes the agenda that we work on here at CBG.

An exciting and exhausting time indeed!

A word or two about some coming attractions and new people at CBG that I hope might attract your interest and involvement:

· John Ruggie, former Dean of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, arrives at the Kennedy School this month as the Evron and Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of International Affairs, and takes up residence within CBG. Most recently, John served Assistant Secretary of the United Nations, where he was the principal architect of the UN Global Compact. We are honored to have John in our ranks and look forward to his contribution and involvement in many areas, including promoting public values through private initiative and through voluntary public/private partnerships.

· Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter joins Michigan Gov. John Engler, Congressman Ed Markey and Sen. Thomas Carper from Delaware at a major Forum event associated with our conference on entrepreneurship and public policy that Associate Professor David Hart has developed. The Forum, open to the public on April 10 at 6 p.m., will confront the question: "Entrepreneurship: What's Government Got to Do With It?"

· Professor Bill Hogan, former Congressman Phil Sharp and Rick Sergel, president and CEO of National Grid USA (formerly New England Electric System), will help illumine the West Coast electricity crisis in "California Blackouts: Could It Happen Here," a Forum event on April 9 at 6 p.m. Bill and his team from CBG's Harvard Electricity Policy Group (HEPG) will also be holding an important executive session with industry, policy and academic experts in Philadelphia earlier in April 4

· The following week, on April 17, CBG hosts another Forum event with Ray Anderson, CEO of the Interface Group, speaking on "The Greening of Corporate America," at 8 p.m.

· We have a number of CBG luncheon presentations during the month of April, including Shelley Metzenbaum of KSG on April 5, speaking on "Performance-Focused, Information-Driven Environmental Protection: Lessons from the Charles River;" Mary Schapiro from the NASD, on April 12, speaking on "Self Regulation: A Capital Markets Success Story;" and Walter Mattli of Columbia, on April 26.

These are just some of the events and activities that CBG is promoting and hosting during a very active month of April - too many to list in one short message.

The life of the Center is animated by ongoing faculty research, teaching and outreach on many other fronts. For instance, Associate Professor Cary Coglianese has assembled a world-class faculty advisory group for CBG's Program on Regulatory Policy including Alan Altshuler, Lew Branscomb, Akash Deep, Mickey Edwards, Jeff Frankel, Tony Gómez Ibáñez, John Dunlop, Howell Jackson, Bill Hogan, Sheila Jasanoff, Elaine Kamarck, Robert Lawrence, Henry Lee, Fred Schauer, F.M. Scherer, Hal Scott, Philip Sharp, Malcolm Sparrow, Rob Stavins, W. Kip Viscusi and Richard Zeckhauser.

This month, Professor Rob Stavins will launch the new Environmental Economics Program at Harvard University based in CBG; Professor Dale Jorgenson continues to do important, groundbreaking work through his chairmanship of the National Research Council Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy at the National Academy of Sciences; Professor Robert Lawrence, having recently arrived back at KSG from his stint with the Council of Economic Advisors in Washington, is planning a new Program in International Trade at CBG; Professor Tony Saich is exploring new programs and linkages with institutions throughout Asia, including the Central Bank of China; Jack Donahue continues to provide leadership to CBG's Kearns Program on Business, Government and Education and, with Professor Dick Light, is planning a major conference for the fall on the digital divide; and Paul Brest, President of the Hewlett Foundation, and I are hosting a two-day "charette" on the "state of the art" of corporate citizenship in June.

We have recently completed an inventory and analysis of CBG's research, teaching, and engagement activities at the request of Dean Joseph Nye. This was a healthy exercise that sharpened our focus on our core mission. In my somewhat biased opinion, CBG has enormous assets, most especially our talented faculty, fellows and staff. Society needs our engagement and leadership and we are responding to the challenges and opportunities, both domestically and globally, with an ambitious array of programs that are benefiting society's understanding of issues at the critical crossroads between the public and private sectors.

To continue our progress, we need and welcome the engagement of many partners. You've taken time to read this message, so you're obviously interested in our activities. I encourage you to pursue that interest by getting more deeply involved with CBG and to let me know how we can do even better going forward.

 

Ira A. Jackson, Director

Center for Business and Government

 
 
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