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DIRECTOR'S WELCOME                                                                                               Archives
about image October 25, 2006

Dear M-RCBG Faculty, Staff, & Friends:

The fall semester is off to a great start - our days at M-RCBG are filled with innovative programming, scholarship and research.

Two different activities are taking place in the education work of the Center. Professor Richard Light, the Walter H. Gale Professor of Education at MRCBG, recently co-hosted the sixth meeting of the “Young Faculty Leaders Forum” with MRCBG Senior Fellow and Lecturer Thomas Healey. This project, sponsored by seven individual donors, brings together 25 young faculty stars from 15 different universities. Its goal is to encourage cross-disciplinary work among young faculty leaders, and to expose them to ideas from business and from government to expand their experiences. The Young Faculty Leaders Forum has already led to a series of published papers and reports that have caught the attention of public sector leaders, especially urban School Superintendents.

Thanks to a million dollar grant from the Spencer Foundation in Chicago, Professor Light will also be leading the second meeting of the “Forum for Excellence and Innovation in Higher Education” during the first week in November in Cambridge. This Forum brings together leaders from fourteen of America’s great colleges and universities, to explore how universities can become stronger “learning organizations.” Ironically, both businesses and government have taken the leadership in becoming learning organizations, while universities have lagged. The Forum on Excellence and Innovation will sponsor a total of 28 innovations, two per campus, and especially focus on how rigorous and experimental evaluations can embed successful innovations into the fabric of an organization. At our upcoming meeting in November, there will be an emphasis on what lessons universities can learn from government examples, both positive and negative. This Forum will continue for four more years.

The Environmental Economics Program at Harvard University (EEPHU) has welcomed two new Faculty Fellows: Lawrence Summers, the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University; and Michael Toffel, a new Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School. Lawrence Summers served as president of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006. He recently wrote a Foreword to the book "Architectures for Agreement: Addressing Global Climate Change in the Post-Kyoto World," edited by Prof. Robert Stavins, EEPHU Director and Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government, and Joseph Aldy, a Fellow at Resources for the Future and a former EEPHU Pre-Doctoral Fellow (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). Michael Toffel has joined Harvard Business School as an Assistant Professor, having received a Ph.D. in Business and Public Policy from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He has worked as the Director of Environment, Health and Safety at the Jebsen & Jessen (South East Asia) Group of Companies, based in Singapore. His research focuses on voluntary environmental programs initiated by industry associations, government regulators, and non-governmental organizations. His recent work seeks to identify which of these programs legitimately distinguish adopters as having superior environmental performance -- and why -- and whether these programs lead to improvements in these areas. He is also examining whether socially responsible investment (SRI) ratings of corporate social responsibility (CSR) actually predict companies' social performance.

In Fellows’ news, Senior Fellow and Director of our Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, Jane Nelson, has been invited to become a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Senior Fellow Michael L. Michael's article, “Business Ethics: The Law of Rules,” was recently published in Business Ethics Quarterly. In May, Senior Fellow John Foote testified before the Highways, Transit and Pipelines Subcommittee of the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on "Understanding Contemporary Public Private Highway Transactions—The Future of Infrastructure Finance.” Former fellow Jose Vassallo, an associate professor at University Politechnic of Madrid has published a paper he researched while at M-RCBG, "Traffic Risk Mitigation in Highway Concession Projects: The Experience of Chile” in the Journal of Transport Economics and Policy. Finally, our second Speed Networking event with the Business and Government student professional interest council took place in October with ten senior fellows and over forty students. Support for the event has been outstanding, and we look forward to hosting another round next fall.

The China Public Policy Program saw the conclusion of its fifth and final year of the Amway ( China) supported China's Leaders in Development executive program with a visit to Washington DC. The trip included briefings from the Heritage and Brookings Foundations, the Center for Budget and Policy Analysis, the MPAA and a lively exchange with Congressmen Rick Larson (D, WA), Jim McDermott (D-WA) and David Wu (D-OR). The Aids Public Policy Project's edited volume, AIDS and Social Policy in China, was published this summer as part of the Asia Public Policy Series by Harvard University Press. The Fulbright School in Vietnam was recently visited by Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) who cited the program as the kind of initiative needed to promote mutual understanding and better policy environments for economic growth.

Harvard Electricity Policy Group Research Director Bill Hogan was honored in September by the International Association for Energy Economics as the recipient of the 2005 award for outstanding contributions to the field of energy economics. Dr. Hogan was presented with the award at a ceremony in Ann Arbor, Michigan on September 26. The HEPG held its first meeting of the academic year on September 21-22 at the Kennedy School. Topics of discussion included transmission and generation planning, regulation and hedging, and issues regarding regulation. Participants included officials from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; chairs and commissioners from state public utility commissions, including Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Pennsylvania; senior executives from HEPG member companies; regional electricity system operators; and researchers. HEPG will convene its next meeting November 30-December 1 in Dallas, Texas.

We recently celebrated the inaugural issue of The Journal of Wine Economics, edited by Rob Stavins, with a fall wine tasting for connoisseurs and amateurs alike. We swirled, sniffed and sipped our way through selections Rob generously provided from his own collection. The Journal is receiving much press, having been recently profiled on CNBC, and in this week’s Economist (“Fruity Little Numbers”).

Our upcoming Business & Government seminars feature Robert Lawrence on October 26, discussing “U.S. Trade Policy in the Middle East,” and Steve Peterson on November 9 th, speaking on “Wax and Gold: The KSG's Financial Reform in Ethiopia Ten Years On.” Please contact Shannon Murphy if you would like to attend or for more information.

For my part, my personal engagement with the business and human rights agenda continues. I recently presented a report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, participated in a closed session with the CEOs of the world’s major mining companies, and did a briefing session with some of the world’s largest retailers.

The semester is already flying by. Hope to see you at an event or seminar soon.



John G. Ruggie

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