Archive for April, 2007

IEMI at U. Penn

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

Last year the University of Pennsylvania decided to start a “Global Initiative” to support faculty programs that enhance international and interdisciplinary teaching, engagement, and research. The Provost’s Office received more than 60 proposals under the initiative, and decided to fund two – and the highest ranking proposal sought to establish an International Environmental Management Institute (IEMI) at the University.

I was part of that proposal team, and we held an initial agenda-setting meeting in mid-March, 2007, with about thirty senior environmental officials from companies such as General Electric, General Motors, Starbucks, Exelon, International Paper, DuPont, BASF, Rohm & Haas, as well as the U.N.’s Global Compact, in attendance. There will be follow-up sessions over the coming months, in order to ascertain IEMI’s feasibility and appropriate role, as well as establishing the required financial foundation for on-going efforts.


Saturday, April 7th, 2007

I was in Tokyo in late February/early March on behalf of CLSA, who invited me to make presentations and meet with clientele at their 4th Japan Forum.  The Forum was held at the Grand Hyatt – not the Park Hyatt of Lost in Translation fame – although I stayed at the nearby Japanese-styled Hotel Okura.  Both are in the Roppongi district, whose nightlife is so well captured in that movie. Of course, there’s always the danger of “otaku” in Japan – the nerdish, manga and anime-obsessed individuals described in William Gibson’s Idoru (and more recently in Peter Carey’s Wrong About Japan) – and I decided that I’d really better not post any Japanese nightlife photos here.  But many thanks to Jessamyn Larrabee of the Boston Company for sharing the spectacle and documenting it.

Fuji Bullet Train

On a more serious note, I also took the shinkansen (bullet train) down to Hiroshima, and visited the Peace Gardens, the Museum and the Atomic Dome.  The museum displays are particularly moving and thought provoking – but I was also surprised about the sheer physical beauty of the place (i.e., the mountains, the sea, the islands and rivers).  That fact is not often noted, given the focus on the tribulations of war and other such unfortunate human endeavors.