Center for Business and Government  

"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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September 2005 Director's Welcome

 
 

John G. Ruggie, CBG Director September 6, 2005

Dear CBG Faculty, Staff, Fellows, and Friends,

Energized by an invigorating and productive summer, the Center for Business and Government is busily preparing for another year of innovative programming, scholarship and research. In the coming years, the success of our programs will be much enhanced by a generous gift from Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani. Their $15 million donation will allow us to deepen and broaden our work on the crucial issues at the nexus of business and government, and the Center will be renamed the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government (M-RCBG).

First, let me extend a warm welcome to our distinguished group of eighteen new fellows. Our fellows work on a broad spectrum of concerns, including banking reform in China, energy policy in the US, corporate governance, trade, education and transportation. Several have recently completed projects that bear special mention. Steve Wilson’s book, Learning on the Job: When Business Takes on Public Schools, is hot off Harvard University Press. Bill Rosenberg's path breaking work on coal gasification was included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was signed by President Bush last month, and was singled out in the New York Times as a bright spot in the legislation. The Center is also excited to welcome its first Visiting Executive, Doug Daft, former CEO for Coca-Cola, for a week-long visit in October. Click here for fellows’ program information.

Asia Programs had a particularly eventful summer. Congratulations are due to Programs director Tony Saich, who was named director of the Harvard University Asia Center in June. We are confident his expertise will further enrich the Asia Center’s already impressive cornucopia of events, programs and scholarship, and are happy to reassure everyone that he will continue to direct Asia Programs at CBG as well. From June 17-28, Dean David Ellwood was joined by Tony and Asia Programs executive director Julian Chang on his visit to Beijing, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Tokyo. This stewardship trip was highlighted by the signing of a new agreement in support of an executive program for the Taiwan government's personnel administration.

Also in June, the Vietnam Program hosted a panel on improving Vietnam’s higher education system, which was attended by Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai. The panel, moderated by Program Director Thomas Vallely, and featuring the program’s economist David Dapice, discussed the need for private competition, as well as good governance, decentralization and meritocracy in stimulating educational improvement. Dapice noted, “Clearly you want to energize the entire system. To do that you have to reform the existing system so that it creates this sort of healthy competitive ecosystem where each group competes somewhat but also supports the other institutions.”

The China Public Policy Program recently welcomed 61 Chinese government officials for five weeks of intensive training in the "Executive Public Management Training Program.” This first-of-its-kind effort enhances the abilities of Chinese officials to develop new public management strategies and analytical skills as they navigate through a rapidly changing government-private sector relationship. The China Leaders in Development Program is jointly sponsored by the Kennedy School and Tsinghua University, and both institutions are considering extending the program beyond its initial five-year period, currently slated to end in 2006.

Regulatory Policy Program (RPP) faculty and affiliates were also active throughout the summer. Cary Coglianese, RPP faculty chair, was one of five experts who were asked to review the statutory and regulatory framework of the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERLAC), which oversees public retirement systems in Massachusetts. Recent scandals in corporate governance prompted the State to undertake the review. To read the complete report, click here. Jennifer Nash, RPP Director, was appointed by US EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson to be a member of the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT). The EPA founded NACEPT in 1988 to provide independent advice on program activities and general policy and management.

We will be kicking off our new Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government Seminar Series on September 29th at noon, with Rick Locke of MIT’s Sloan School of Management presenting “Does Monitoring Work? Lessons From Nike.” Rick is a leading scholar in the area of corporate social responsibility. Click here if you would like to attend.

Finally, as some of you know, at the end of July Kofi Annan appointed me as the UN’s Special Representative for Human Rights and Business, with a two-year mandate approved by the UN Economic and Social Council. In essence, my job is to identify and clarify standards and good practices for firms in relation to human rights, while trying to bridge the gap that exists on this issue between human rights organizations, businesses and governments. It is an enormous challenge, but it very much reflects the core mission of CBG and KSG, and so I accepted gladly. Apart from rounds of international consultations, much of the work will be done from here and will also involve our students.

As we look to an active and fruitful year ahead, we hope you can join us at one of our many events. Thank you for the ongoing support and interest in our efforts.


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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