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"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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November 2003 Director's Welcome

 
 

John G. Ruggie, CBG Director6 November 2003

Dear CBG Faculty, Staff, Fellows, and Friends,

This month's letter comes to you from Beijing, where we are holding our fourth and final workshop on HIV/AIDS as a challenge to business and governance. We have focused on two very different regions in this project. Sub-Saharan Africa is among the world's poorest, with limited public sector capacity. Here, the private sector -- typically transnational or large national firms - is playing a growing role in providing prevention and treatment programs for workers, families and in some cases the broader community, usually in partnership with civil society organizations. China is richer and has greater state capacity, but its public healthcare system is weak and underfunded and the government has been ambivalent about coming to grips with the pandemic. Our challenge in Beijing was to demonstrate why earlier action is always more effective and less costly, for business and government alike, and how utilizing multi-sectoral partnerships would enhance China's ability to curtail the rapid escalation of infection rates and to treat people who are already ill. Only time will tell how well we did; but the turnout from all sectors was extremely impressive and signals great interest. We are reporting the results of our workshop to the World Economic Forum's China Summit, being held here in Beijing later in the week. WEF and UNAIDS have been our partners in these workshops.

Even as we wrap up the HIV/AIDS project, parts of it will be folded into a new and ambitious area of programming - the KSG Initiative on Corporate Social Responsibility. Jane Nelson, previously a senior fellow at CBG and for ten years a director of the Prince of Wales International Business Leadership Forum, has joined us full-time to help lead the effort. The CSR Initiative is a collaboration with our colleagues at the Shorenstein Center, the Center for Public Leadership, and the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Research. It will explore drivers of and explanations for the rapid expansion of corporate social responsibility, and its implications for public policy. CBG has always focused on the interface between public and private sectors, so this is a natural for us, as it will enable us to continue our academic research, while engaging with practitioners in the field.

CBG also dealt with health care issues here at home this past month. The Health Care Delivery Policy Program, directed by Senior Fellow, Jerome Grossman, convened its policy group on October 28th and 29th at the Harvard Faculty Club. It meets three times a year and is comprised of industry and governmental leaders representing purchasers, consumers, insurers, providers, suppliers, and regulators. This meeting centered on several topics, including Employer Choice of Consumer Driven Health Insurance in a Multi-Plan, Multi-Product Setting and Regulatory Options in Healthcare.

I am also pleased to let you know that our Collaborative Governance Program, generously funded by Frank and Denie Weil, will begin an executive training program on civic leadership. This one week session - running from February 29 to March 5th, is aimed at senior professionals and business executives. Topics to be covered include: Leading in Public, Diagnosing Civic Problems/Engineering Public Value; Stewarding Resources; and Managing Collaborative Governance. I want to thank Alan Trager, CBG Senior Fellow, for having taken the lead on this initiative, and the many faculty, especially Jack Donahue and Mark Moore, who have provided help and guidance. For more information please visit our website at www.ksg.harvard.edu/cbg.

Let me close by reminding everyone that on November 13th, the CBG Leadership Council will be hosting its second breakfast of the year. Elaine Kamarck, Lecturer in Public Policy, and Senior Policy Advisor for the 2000 Gore Campaign, will be speaking on "Innovations in Government". If you are interested in learning more about the Leadership Council, please contact Kathy Hebert.

Through these initiatives and programs CBG proudly demonstrates its continued commitment to bringing the best social science research to bear on the many challenges we face at home and abroad.


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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