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February 2006 Director's Letter


February 6 , 2005

Happy New Year from the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government! We have embarked on a new year, strengthened by successes of the past year and encouraged by your ongoing support. On December 14, 2005, we officially marked the renaming of the Center in honor of Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, with a one day conference on "Spanning and Crossing the Business & Government Boundaries." Featuring sessions on "The Public Roles of Private Enterprise," "Is America Getting the Balance Right: Lessons from Katrina," "Migrating Across the Sectors," and "Implications for the KSG Mission," the conference facilitated engagement between practitioners and academics of both the public and private sectors. The day was exemplary of the scholarship and collaboration that will be occurring at the Center as a result of the generous gift by Sharmin and Bijan.

Center faculty have also had a busy fall. William Hogan was recently named the inaugural Raymond Plank Professor of Global Energy Policy at the Kennedy School. This professorship is endowed by Raymond Plank, a pioneer in the energy industry, and Apache Corporation, the energy company Plank founded and has led for more than 50 years. It is dedicated to addressing the challenges of meeting worldwide energy needs in a timely, secure, environmentally responsible and economic manner. Bill has taught at the Kennedy School for 27 years, and serves as director of Graduate Studies for the PhD programs in Public Policy and in Political Economy and Government. He is also research director of the Harvard Electricity Policy Group and director of the Repsol YPF - Harvard University Kennedy School Fellows Program. His current research focuses on major energy industry restructuring, network pricing and access issues, market design, and privatization in nations worldwide.

Linda Bilmes recently co-authored, with Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, a paper on the economic costs of the Iraq War that has attracted widespread attention. The Economic Costs of the Iraq War: An Appraisal Three Years after the Beginning of the Conflict, was presented to the annual meeting of the Allied Social Sciences Association. The paper estimates a budgetary and economic cost between $1 and 2 trillion, which differs starkly from the Office of Management & Budget's initial predictions in 2003, of $60 billion. This paper has received coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Financial Times, Time Magazine, The Economist, the Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, San Franicsco Chronicle,, Reuters, AP, Agence-France Presse and all major international wire services, and newspapers and blogs worldwide. She has appeared on the major TV networks, including CNN, the Lou Dobbs Show, and C-Span Washington Journal, and has conducted more than 40 radio interviews, including NPR's "On Point" and "All Things Considered," BBC, and the major West Coast radio networks. Bilmes and Stiglitz also co-authored an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on January 17th, "War's Stunning Price Tag," that has been widely reprinted. Their paper is published as a Kennedy School Working Paper and as a NBER Working Paper. Click here for the full paper.

January was also a month of extensive travel for many faculty and staff at the Center. On January 12, 2006 at a national leadership seminar in Hanoi, M-RCBG, the Kennedy School of Government, the Ho Chi Minh National Political Academy and the POLICY Project Vietnam formally launched the Vietnam AIDS Public Policy Training Project. The Vietnam project is a part of the AIDS Public Policy Training Project that trains policy makers in China and Vietnam about the determinants of AIDS and about effective governance for AIDS prevention, treatment and impact mitigation. The course focuses on the development of strategic, multisector and high level political leadership in the fight against AIDS. Following the high level seminar, international and Vietnamese AIDS expert faculty conducted a five day training course for Academy faculty and policy makers from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Later this year, three additional trainings for policy makers from 21 provinces will focus on effective measures that address the determinants and impacts AIDS and the development of multisector provincial AIDS action plans.

Asia Programs Director Tony Saich, Executive Director Julian Chang, and China Public Policy Program Officer Sarah Cao traveled to Taipei, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai on a program development and recruitment trip. Taipei kept Tony very busy, as he gave four talks in three days at different venues. Tony, Julian and Sarah also met with the board membership of the Harvard Alumni Club of Taipei and the Central Personnel Administration to discuss a continuation of an executive program chaired by Prof. Steve Kelman. In Hong Kong and Shanghai, they explored future opportunities for collaboration in executive programs and research, and in Beijing, evaluated and assessed past collaborations with participants of our Beijing Management Program. In all, a very successful trip that allows us to reflect on past endeavors and plan for the future.

This semester we also welcome five new fellows: Hyo Shang Khang, Tao Li, Jacques Mistral, Huaping Mu, and Lin Yang. For biographies and research interests of new fellows, click here.

We not only welcome new fellows, but we celebrate recent achievements of current fellows. Senior Fellow and Adjunct Lecturer Alan Trager sponsored a case study published by the KSG Case Program: "Power Partnership: The Creation of Hybird Electric Delivery Truck Eaton, FedEx, and Environmental Defense." Two fellows presented at Davos last week: Mark Kramer, presented "Uncommon Partners: The Power of Foundation Corporation Collaboration," and James Rosenfield presented on, "Which Energy Future?" Steve Wilson's book Learning on the Job: When Business Takes on Public Schools is the winner of the Virginia and Warren Stone Prize, awarded annually by Harvard University Press for an Outstanding Book on Education and Society.

The Director of our Ethiopia DSA project, Stephen Peterson, was on campus February 10th to discuss "Ethiopian Financial Reform: Lessons 10 Years On." He will be speaking at the Kennedy School's Center for International Development, in the Perkins Room, located on the 4th floor of the Rubinstein Building on the KSG campus.

The Spring 2006 Business & Government Seminar Series kicked off on January 19th with Cass Sunstein, Professor of Law at University of Chicago Law School, exploring, "Do Judges Make Regulatory Policy? Lessons from Chevron." This weekly seminar series, which builds on and includes the highly successful New Directions in Regulation Seminar Series, next features the University of Pennsylvania's Howard Kunreuther on February 9th, discussing "Comprehensive Disaster Insurance: Will It Help in a Post-Katrina World?" For a complete schedule of spring seminars, click here.

And so another semester begins. We thank you for your past support and encourage you to keep abreast of upcoming events and seminars. We hope to see you soon.


 John G. Ruggie

Frank and Denie Weil Director, Center for Business and Government
Kirkpatrick Professor of International Affairs

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