M-RCBG Celebrates its 30th Anniversary

March 25, 2013
by Victoria Groves, M-RCBG

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government (M-RCBG) at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) conducts research and promotes dialog in the most critical areas where business and government intersect -- from energy and environmental policy to education and regulation.

The Center’s roots lay in the 1970s when University Professor John Dunlop, a former dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and former Secretary of Labor in the Ford Administration, launched an examination of the University’s role in promoting a better understanding of the relationship between business and government. Dunlop believed in the importance of hiring new professors and support staff so the Business School and the Kennedy School could pursue convergent work on business-government relations. With the enthusiastic backing of then-Harvard President Derek Bok and HKS Dean Graham Allison, the Kennedy School’s Center for Business and Government was launched in 1982 under the directorship of Winthrop Knowlton.

Since its inception, the center has worked to advance the state of knowledge and policy analysis concerning some of society’s most challenging problems at the interface of the public and private sectors. The world has changed enormously in the last 30 years, and the need for thoughtful engagement in the business and government sectors has only increased.

“Now more than ever, government policy and private sector activity are at critical points both domestically and abroad,” said M-RCBG director and former Harvard president Lawrence Summers. “The Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government (M-RCBG) is uniquely positioned to play a critical role in this process as an incubator of ideas informing policy-based solutions and as a focal point of engagement for our faculty and our students, many of whom will play important roles in addressing the problems which confront us today.”

M-RCBG’s work continues to be to advance the state of knowledge and policy analysis concerning some of society’s most challenging problems at the interface of the public and private sectors.

“The scope of our work ranges from the local to the global,” said M-RCBG Co-Director and HKS Executive Dean John Haigh. “Thanks to the support of people like Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, and Frank and Denie Weil, the Center is able to bring together thought leaders from both business and government, conduct ground-breaking research, facilitate dialogue, and seek answers that are at once intellectually rigorous and policy relevant.”

To mark its 30th anniversary, the Center will host a panel discussion at the Institute of Politics Forum on Monday, April 8 from 6-7pm, titled “Is America Working? What Business and Government Can Do.”

Photograph of Winthrop Knowlton and Frank Weil

Frank Weil (left), lawyer, businessman, Harvard alumnus and long-time supporter of the Center for Business and Government, with Kennedy School Professor Winthrop Knowlton (right), who served as the Center’s first director from 1982-1987.

“Now more than ever, government policy and private sector activity are at critical points both domestically and abroad,” said M-RCBG co-director and former Harvard president Lawrence Summers. “The Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government (M-RCBG) is uniquely positioned to play a critical role in this process as an incubator of ideas."

Ground breaking of the Belfer Center building

During the ground breaking ceremony for the Belfer Center in 1984 (from L-to-R): Robert A. Belfer JD 1958; Frank Weil AB 1953, MBA 1955; Dean Graham Allison AB 1962, PhD 1968; Renee Belfer; Frank Stanton.


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