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"Very few academic centers of excellence have our breadth and depth. That's what makes my job as CBG director so interesting and rewarding."

-John G. Ruggie, CBG Director


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December 2002 Director's Welcome


John G. Ruggie, CBG Director9 December 2002

To CBG Faculty, Fellows, Staff and Friends:

The season for reflection and giving thanks is upon us, and I’d like my last letter of the year to reflect these sentiments. CBG has had a remarkable year. We are grateful to Ira Jackson, our former Director, for having left such a strong foundation for us to build on.

This year, CBG faculty and staff have launched six new initiatives (Health Care Delivery, Young Faculty Leaders, Digital Government, International Trade Negotiations, and Collaborative Governance); written a bunch of articles, books and policy papers; and convened several influential conferences, symposia, lectures and forum events on pressing policy issues.

But the whole of CBG is as impressive as its parts.  CBG’s core mission is to be a facilitator and innovator – to build bridges among the many areas of expertise of our faculty, and between the academy and the world beyond. We build networks to promote collaboration among our own programs, across the Kennedy School and all of Harvard.  We study and foster cooperation and knowledge sharing among all sectors of society and across national boundaries.  Most importantly, we try to equip and empower decision- and policy-makers from all sectors to make better-informed choices.

Let me note a few of the most recent examples.  On November 22, we convened the first symposium of the Weil Program on Collaborative Governance.  Thanks to the generous support of Frank and Denie Weil, we are able to undertake a multi-year project to examine the conditions under which concerted action between public, private and non-profit sectors can help solve local, national and global policy challenges. We are asking “what works, what doesn’t, and why?” And we plan to produce sound scholarly analyses, policy prescriptions and curricular materials from our research. Jack Donahue and I are faculty co-chairs of the Weil program, and Jack is its Director.

We have also just launched a project on HIV/AIDS as a business challenge in Africa and Asia – together with the Harvard Business School, Public Health School and Harvard AIDS Institute, co-sponsored by UNAIDS and the World Economic Forum. Our aim in this project is to foster multi-sectoral partnerships that can lead to sustainable capacity building in developing countries. Some businesses are finding that they are compelled by facts on the ground to get involved in promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and providing treatment to workers and families – in some cases, as in the Southern African mining industry, up to one-third of the workforce is infected. How can we tap into that willingness and link firms with other social actors, including governments, to respond to the immediate challenges while also building a broader social capacity for the long haul? I am co-directing this project together with Diana Barrett of the Business School, and with an advisory committee that draws on the extraordinary pool of Harvard faculty and researchers in this area.

Finally, in partnership with the Kennedy School’s Hauser Center, the Shorenstein Center and Center for Public Leadership, we are raising funds for a multi-faceted program on corporate social responsibility, which will include state of the art research on best practices, structured dialogues between corporate leaders and leaders from other social sectors addressing the changing principles and shifting boundaries demarcating private and public sector responsibilities, as well as executive programs. 

Very few academic centers of excellence have our breadth and depth. That’s what makes my job as CBG director so interesting and rewarding. 

But even in our own neighborhood CBG is working to build bridges. On December 5th, several members of our team spent an evening volunteering at Rosie’s Place, one of Boston’s best-known resources serving the needs of women and children.

At this time of year, and all year long, may we all offer thanks and be mindful to contribute to the social good.

Seasons’ Cheers.


John G. Ruggie
Frank and Denie Weil Director,
Center for Business and Government
Kirkpatrick Professor of International Affairs

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