Center for Business and Government    

"As we proceed so vigorously with so many important endeavors, it's a good time to more fully appreciate what a privilege it is for us to be part of a caring community of scholars and practitioners seeking to help make this world, so deeply in pain, a better place."

-Ira A. Jackson

 

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November 2001 Director's Welcome

 
 

1 November 2001

Dear CBG Faculty, Fellows, Staff and Friends,

This will be an uncharacteristically brief note about what's up and who's doing what at CBG.  Suffice it to say: everyone appears flat-out, working hard, producing a great deal, and more focused than ever before on finding ways in which our intellectual and institutional capital can be best deployed to making better sense of some of the most intractable problems facing global society.

There are a number of avenues through which we attempt to add value to understanding and improving upon the ways that business, government and civil society interact.  Perhaps our most enduring product is the output of research findings captured in faculty publications. 

Today (November 1, at 4:00 PM in Bell Hall, 5th floor of Belfer) we celebrate with a "coming out" book publishing party that features some seventeen recent works of twenty-six authors, ranging from the new rules of international trade to new approaches to regulation, from new approaches to labor standards in developing countries to new analysis of tax policy reform, from evaluating the effectiveness of collegiate education to new methods of global governance, from new paradigms for influencing public policy to innovations in information technology and e-government. 

At the end of the day, as they say in business, a research center such as ours needs to be judged by the weight and relevance of our research.  I am extremely proud to point to the prolific outpouring represented in these seventeen books, and I congratulate our colleagues for sharing valuable and original insights across a broad fabric and with powerful recommendations that help to illuminate new frontiers of knowledge and help to chart a new agenda for societal action.

Our work continues, apace, with ongoing progress on a number of fronts and through a variety of programs.  To launch and sustain our activities requires not only intellectual energy and competent staff support, but also the fuel of funding.  I am pleased to report that despite the downturn in the economy, CBG continues to attract sponsors and donors who are generously committed to supporting cutting-edge initiatives.  In January, Dean Joe Nye, Professor Tony Saich and I will travel to Beijing to participate in an announcement of a major and unprecedented commitment to train governmental leaders from throughout the People's Republic of China, made possible by a substantial corporate gift.  Last July, Joe, Tony and I were in Taipei to announce a parallel program for Taiwanese leaders, funded by the ROC.  Tom Vallely, Professor Dwight Perkins and David Dapice recently secured major follow-on philanthropic funding that will undergird our training program in Vietnam and allow it to grow and expand its impact in this transitional economy.  Professor Cary Coglianese and Jennifer Nash, with help from Professor Tony Gomez-Ibanez, recently received funding from the Federal Railroad Administration to study how performance-based regulation has worked (or not worked) in a variety of agency settings. These are just the highlights of some recent success stories.

Nevertheless, the budget crunch that we're all experiencing is leading us, along with most everyone else, to do more with less -- and to tighten our financial belt.  So let me conclude with two suggestions.  First, take time to consult our website (http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/cbg) to partake in our extensive menu of activities.  These and other activities at CBG are only effective if we continue to attract your active participation.  And secondly, please take time to thank our extremely dedicated CBG staff for the enormous pride and professionalism they display every day in making our enterprise work as productively as it does.  They are truly CBG's unsung heroes and heroines who make it all happen and they deserve our continuing gratitude.

We took a moment from the sad news around us to come together as a community on a sunny Saturday back on October 20 to enjoy one another's company.  Some 175 of you joined us at a picnic for the kids (although I did catch sight of some of the adults in our community bouncing on the Moon Walk!) before Harvard went on to win in a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Princeton. 

As we proceed so vigorously with so many important endeavors, it was good to pause, relax, breathe deeply the last sweet winds of autumn -- and to more fully appreciate what a privilege it is for us to be part of a caring community of scholars and practitioners seeking to help make this world, so deeply in pain, a better place.

 

Ira A. Jackson, Director

Center for Business and Government

 
 
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