Center for Business and Government    
"For the past seven years, CBG has benefited from close cooperation with the Boston area business community through the CBG Leadership Council. This outstanding group of business leaders helps shape our mission and priorities. In turn, at quarterly breakfast meetings and other CBG events, our faculty and fellows share with them our understanding of critical policy challenges, both domestic and global."

-John G. Ruggie, Weil Director, CBG

 

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John G. Ruggie, CBG Director7 April 2003

To CBG faculty, staff, fellows and friends:

For the past seven years, CBG has benefited from close cooperation with the Boston area business community through the CBG Leadership Council. This outstanding group of business leaders helps shape our mission and priorities. In turn, at quarterly breakfast meetings and other CBG events, our faculty and fellows share with them our understanding of critical policy challenges, both domestic and global.

Last week the Leadership Council breakfast focused on two significant global challenges: the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in the developing world and the implications of the Iraq war on the future role of the United Nations.

Diana Barrett of the Harvard Business School, my co-chair in a Harvard-wide project on HIV/AIDS as a business challenge, led the first discussion. "Every day is like three 9/11's," she reported -- some 15,000 around the world die from the disease daily. But she also outlined the extraordinary steps the business community has taken to promote awareness, prevention and even treatment - in Africa, firms such as AngloAmerican, Heineken, Coca-Cola and DaimlerChrysler have taken the lead because governments lack the capacity, and in some instances the will, to respond adequately to the pandemic.

Next week, we were scheduled to hold a workshop in Beijing on the looming HIV/AIDS crisis in China. However, the spread of SARS (Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome) caused us to postpone the workshop for the time being. There are reports from world health authorities that SARS could have been headed off last November by quick and effective action in Guangdong province. Instead, its incidence was downplayed and the World Health Organization denied access. It is ironic that our main message in Beijing was going to be that China would be much better off in dealing with HIV/AIDS by fully acknowledging the crisis and seeking assistance wherever possible.

I then led off what turned into a spirited discussion of whether the UN diplomatic train wreck that preceded the military campaign in Iraq will be repeated once the war is over. Indications are that it may: other nations, including the United Kingdom, believe that UN endorsement of the process of selecting a new Iraqi government is essential to securing its legitimacy, and that broad international involvement in Iraqi reconstruction will help share the burden. In contrast, senior members of the Bush administration have stated that those who fought the war will have the greatest say in making the peace, and while the UN should play some postwar role, especially in humanitarian matters, it will not be central. Thus, today's Bush-Blair Belfast summit may prove decisive - not only for the future of Iraq, but also for the United Nations itself.

Elizabeth Bulette, Associate Director of CBG, is our point person for the Leadership Council. For further information, including full membership privileges, please contact her at elizabeth _bulette@ksg.harvard.edu.

Of course, other work continues at CBG. A few highlights: Prof. Rob Stavins is preparing for his next Executive Program on Understanding Environmental Economics; Prof. Dick Light and Senior Fellow Tom Healey have just hosted the second session of their Young Faculty Leaders Forum this past weekend; and the Regulatory Policy Program is gearing up for two separate panel sessions in April, the first on "Mission Impossible: The New Agenda at the SEC" (April 14, 6:00pm) and the second on "Blowing the Whistle" (April 23, 4:30pm). I encourage you to check out our website for more information: http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/cbg.

We live in an extraordinary period of fundamental and rapid change. None of us has any monopoly on wisdom and insight. But CBG - and the Kennedy School as a whole - is a precious resource at this time more than ever, offering informed dialogue and a neutral space for honest discussion. I feel privileged to be part of it all.

Many thanks.

 

John G. Ruggie
Weil Director, Center for Business and Government
Kirkpatrick Professor of International Affairs

 
 
 
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