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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November 2004 Director's Welcome


John G. Ruggie, CBG DirectorNovember 9, 2004

Dear CBG Faculty, Staff, Fellows, and Friends,

Whatever our views on the outcome of the recent election, I suspect all of us are glad that the campaign is over. And I know we all share one aspiration: we hope for the best in these challenging times.

The election was a major focus at CBG - needless to say, in an analytical, not political, mode. At the beginning of October, for example, CBG hosted a half-day symposium for 40 international corporate executives. Professor Linda Bilmes led a discussion on the federal budget deficit and how it might be affected by the key of proposals the presidential candidates. Roger Porter, IBM Professor of Business and Government, presented a fascinating history of presidential elections at a Leadership Council breakfast attended by Council members, Kennedy School Fellows and businesspeople from the local community.

The regular work of CBG continued at full speed. In late October, the Regulatory Policy Program convened a workshop on voluntary regulatory programs. Throughout the world, domestic regulatory agencies have increasingly established programs by which government seeks to recognize and reward businesses that demonstrate superior performance. In cooperation with the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, RPP is studying why companies choose to participate in these programs and how regulatory agencies can and should determine which businesses are worthy of special recognition. The study is designed and led by RPP faculty chair Cary Coglianese and RPP director Jennifer Nash. Preliminary interview results suggest that participation does not depend on a firm's sector, size, or record of compliance with regulatory requirements so much as it does on managers' perceptions of the benefits of public recognition, and on how much capacity the firms have to implement such programs.

Our CBG fellows continue to bridge theory and practice and infuse the center with new perspectives. Senior Fellow William Rosenberg, for instance, is developing financing and regulatory modalities meant to support large-scale investment in coal gasification for electricity generation. Such a transition could have a tremendously beneficial impact on the economy and the environment. Bill published an article on this subject in the November 1st edition of Forbes Magazine.

To read the article, click here.

On the Asia front, the China Public Policy Program has begun a program intended to help develop the planning capacity of the Beijing government as they prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympiad. Among the many topics this training program will focus on are infrastructure, management, crisis management, public health, security and finance, and media relations. The Taiwan Leadership Program is planning a joint conference with the London School of Oriental and African Studies next spring. Our Kansai Keizai Doyukai Program, a bilateral U.S.-Japan forum, has just begun a new initiative to include China, housed in Shanghai. And the Vietnam program continues to develop its Public Policy, Executive Education, and Exchange Programs both here at KSG and at the University of Economics of Ho Chi Minh City, and is planning to hold a workshop later this month.

Finally, we congratulate Robert Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government and Director of CBG's Environmental Economics Program at Harvard University, on his recent appointment to a three-year term on the EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB). The Board is responsible for the management and leadership of the SAB's many technical committees.

To read the press release, click here.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and stay in touch.


 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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