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-Ira A. Jackson

 

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Summer 2002 Director's Welcome

 
 

Harvard President Larry Summers at Tsinghua University1 June 2002

Dear CBG faculty, fellows, staff and friends:

On a glorious late-spring day here in Cambridge, I'm very pleased to report on CBG's robust initiatives and activities. Let me begin by introducing you to two particularly exciting and innovative programs that we are about to publicly announce.

  • The first, entitled The Young Faculty Leaders Forum, will bring together 32 of the nation's most talented young faculty members from 20 leading universities and a variety of academic disciplines who share a common interest in strengthening and reforming American education. Designed by Prof. Richard Light, the Forum is unique in America in its design, capitalizing on CBG's and KSG's special capacity to bring together leaders from business and government to interact with young, future change-agents. The goal of the Forum is to broaden the next generation of academic leaders with strong exposure to and understanding of relevant and useful ideas from the public and private sectors, beyond education, per se. This is an opportunity that few young faculty in the humanities, social sciences and graduate schools of education now get, yet that we believe can yield important knowledge and useful application that is now largely ignored or misunderstood.

    Dick has spent a large part of his sabbatical year designing this "Rhodes Scholarship for educators" program, raising the funds from foundations and supportive individuals, attracting a world-class advisory board, and, most importantly, seeking out and personally interviewing more than 100 candidates for our first class. In addition to Harvard colleagues such as Howard Gardner and Martha Minow, our Advisory Board consists of Nan Keohane, president of Duke; James Freedman, former president of Dartmouth and head of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Dean Richard Brodhead of Yale; Amy Gutmann, provost of Princeton; Philip Clay, Chancellor of MIT; and Michael Feuer, Director of Social Sciences and Education at the National Academy of Sciences. The Forum's equally impressive Board consists of a number of leading practitioners and successful social entrepreneurs, including former Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander; Cathy Minehan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; John Clarkeson, Chairman of Boston Consulting Group; and Tom Healey (vice chair), a partner at Goldman Sachs who teaches at KSG and is a senior fellow here at CBG.

    Our inaugural session begins on September 27-28, with an intensive exposure to leaders and innovative practices in government and business. Harvard President Larry Summers has enthusiastically agreed to help launch the Forum, and Dick has assembled a curriculum and a diverse group of participants that are simply inspiring. Two brief bios suggest the strength and breadth of the entire group:

    The first graduated first in his class at Yale, won a Rhodes, and taught in England's state schools. Finishing a Ph.D. in English, this candidate then became a Junior Fellow at Harvard. Dismayed by experiences while teaching at Dorchester High School in Boston, he is now teaching at Princeton, where he recently finished a book that takes debates from 17th century Europe about certain forms of literature and from that draws very hard-nosed lessons about major transformations for American school curriculum. In his first year at Princeton he won their teaching award and published poetry in the Time's Literary Supplement.

    The second participant was born in Denmark, graduated summa from Princeton, is a world class tennis player, and a McKinsey alum. Before entering Harvard Business School, this future leader taught in a Harlem Catholic School, then went on to start a successful dot.com company while earning an MBA and JD. Now on the faculty at HBS, this Young Faculty Leader is working on integrating education initiatives as part of a new curriculum. Dick Light describes the candidate as, "smart, appealing, charming, unbelievably articulate, and -- oh by the way -- only 32 years old."

  • A second new initiative at CBG that I am equally proud to announce is the emergence under Associate Professor Jane Fountain of a National Center for Digital Government Research and Practice. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Center will focus the intellectual energies of faculty and practitioners -- from CBG, KSG and beyond -- on issues at the intersection of governance, institutions and information technology. Building upon the strengths and ongoing work by faculty members such as Jean Camp, Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger, Lew Branscomb, David Lazer, Elaine Kamarck, Cary Coglianese, Steve Kelman, David Hart, Nolan Bowie, Pippa Norris and Jerry Mechling, Jane will galvanize an ambitious applied research agenda to advance understanding and improve the practice of digital government and digital governance. Just this weekend, Jane and her colleagues completed an unusual convening of leading practitioners, decision-makers and academics from across the nation to help bridge the gaps between theory and practice and fine-tune the national research agenda. Attendees included academic experts on network theory, organizational development, and comparative political science, as well as state directors of IT, industry pioneers, and the federal government's chief architect of e-government strategy. A major debt of thanks to Jane and her energetic team for taking the initiative here at CBG that has the promise of really "moving the needle" and setting some ambitious new targets for unlocking the potential of digital technology in promoting efficiency, integration, and accountability in the delivery of essential government services.

Let me wrap-up this update with quick mention of a few other highlights of current activities and developments here at CBG:

  • Prof. Tony Saich, faculty chair of CBG's Asia Programs, Prof. Dutch Leonard, Marty Linsky, Howard Husock and I were in Beijing two weeks ago to formally launch our new Executive Public Management Training Program, which will train 300 provincial leaders from across China both at Tsinghua University and here at CBG over the next five years. Larry Summers kicked-off the first plenary meeting with a thoughtful keynote address, observing that over the past 23 years China has undertaken profound and sweeping changes and that the greatest of all the many challenges facing China going forward is "the quality and character of China's public leaders." The 51 members of the first class represent among the best of China's future top provincial leaders. The program's launch coincided with the first meeting in Beijing of the Harvard Clubs of Asia, and Tony and I had the pleasure of meeting and convening with some 400 Harvard alums from 34 different clubs throughout the region. Our colleagues Dick Cooper, Ezra Vogel, Dwight Perkins, Bill Hsiao and Bill Kirby joined Larry Summers in speaking to the group on a wide variety of topics.
  • While in China, we learned that Prof. Anne-Marie Slaughter, who teaches at both HLS and KSG, will be leaving us to become Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton. And immediately upon returning, news arrived that Larry has tapped Prof. Bill Kirby to become the new Dean of FAS. We are thrilled with these two promotions and wish to express both our gratitude for all that Bill and Anne-Marie have contributed to CBG and KSG, and our very best wishes for great success in their challenging new assignments.
  • The new Weil Program in Collaborative Governance is beginning to lay out an intellectual agenda for research and engagement, under the leadership of Prof. John Ruggie, that will culminate in a mid-September symposium launch. Over the summer, Jack Donahue will look at the definitional parameters of collaborative governance. Mark Moore has agreed to investigate the theoretical aspects of the complex interrelationships of collaborative governance in practice. Pepper Culpepper is looking at European comparative aspects and how the concept applies to different spheres such as labor and education. Archon Fung will examine some existing examples in the US, such as environmental agreements and community policing. Elaine Kamarck is proposing to research the trend in legislation over the past thirty or so years in the US to determine actual instances of government encouragement or implementation of collaborative governance. Robert Lawrence will produce a case study that examines world trade and the dynamics of collaborative governance in international negotiations. Sanjeev Khagram is working on an article on how collaborative governance had an impact on the World Commission on Dams of which he was a part.

So the pace goes on. But not without the talents, energy and phenomenal commitment of CBG's wonderfully talented, can-do staff, including Laura Medeiros, a sixteen year veteran of the School, who was one of seven recipients of the 2002 Dean's Award for Excellence.

Without recapping all the highlights of an unusually productive academic year at CBG, I'll sum up by simply saying that, all-in-all, 2002 was a year of initiative and accomplishment. Each of our 100 faculty, fellows and staff has demonstrated creativity and competence, and we're all working ever more energetically -- and effectively -- to produce results that try to make this world of ours a better place.

That's all for now, except to wish you a great summer and to thank you again for your support and interest in the Center for Business and Government.

All the best,

 Ira

Ira A. Jackson, Director

Center for Business and Government

 
 
 
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