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"The folks here at CBG have started the year with a flurry of activity as they have organized and taken part in exciting events across the country and around the globe."

-John G. Ruggie, Weil Director, CBG

 

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February 2003 Director's Welcome

 
 

John G. Ruggie, CBG Director7 February 2003

Dear CBG Faculty, Fellows, Staff and Friends:

We are in the midst of one of the coldest winters Boston has experienced in years. With temperatures dipping far below the freezing mark, it can be tempting to simply hibernate. But the folks here at CBG have started the year with a flurry of activity as they have organized and taken part in exciting events across the country and around the globe.

First, I want to offer two distinct impressions from the World Economic Forum in Davos, from which I recently returned. One was the pervasive gloom -- about the economy, and about the impending war with Iraq. Anti-Americanism was palpable. Richard Haass, Head of Policy Planning at State, contacted Colin Powell and said words to the effect: "boss, you've got to change your speech, the Europeans are in rebellion." Powell did, and was politely received. The other lasting impression was that the hubris was gone -- in stark contrast to previous years. The titans were genuinely puzzled, and sensed that we are living through a profound transformative period. Corporate social responsibility, one of my favorite subjects, was no longer discussed as an option or icing on the cake. It was considered a must, along with public-private partnerships of all kinds. In a more self-interested vein, CBG made excellent progress in getting support for our own CSR initiative, as well for our global workshops on HIV/AIDS as a business challenge in Africa and Asia.

Back here in Cambridge, a "happy anniversary" is in order for the Harvard Electricity Policy Group, celebrating its 10th year of addressing key problems related to the electricity market and providing opportunities for open discussion about the public policy agenda concerning the electric sector. HEPG just returned from a plenary session in Palm Springs, and is off to the Midwest and back in Cambridge for two other sessions this spring.

The Regulatory Policy Program just completed a workshop on IT and Rulemaking on January 21-22 at the Kennedy School. Called "stupendous" after it finished by sponsors at the NSF, the workshop focused on how Internet technology is currently being incorporated into rulemaking processes and how that relationship might change in the future to encourage public participation. RPP continues to host biweekly seminars on issues connected to regulation. Among the topics for this spring are: Corporate Governance and Taxes, Regulation in the U.S. Chemical Industry and Biotech and Food Policy Regulation.

The National Center for Digital Government also launches its new semester of biweekly seminars this month, intended to stimulate new research and thinking on digital government. Congratulations, also, to NCDG's Director, Jane Fountain, who was recently awarded the prestigious Choice Magazine "Outstanding Academic Book of 2002" for her book Building the Virtual State: Information Technology and Institutional Change.

Our nine new fellows have arrived in the midst of all this work and activity. I hope you take a moment to look at their bios and agree that they complement an already impressive group of leading scholars and practitioners. Many of these fellows have traveled great distances to be with us, and I only wish the cold weather that has greeted them thus far has been balanced out by the warm reception they have received.

But wait! We're not nearly done. The upcoming month promises to be an exciting one. On February 20-21 we are bringing together stakeholders from multi-national corporations, governments and NGOs as we host the first of four workshops on HIV/AIDS and Business: Building Sustainable Partnerships. We are also busily preparing for the 10th annual Doyukai Symposium, scheduled for February 24-25. For many years the unique partnership with the Kansai Keizai Doyukai has enabled us to jointly examine economic, social and security policy in the Asia-Pacific region. I'll happily tell you more about both of these endeavors next month, after we've pulled together the experts, begun to more thoroughly analyze the issues, and drawn up some preliminary conclusions.

In the meantime, please feel free to visit our website (http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/cbg) to learn more about what we're up to and how you can get involved.

Cheers.

 Signature

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

 
 
 
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