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Boston, MA — Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future has received an additional $250,000 gift from its namesake benefactor to seed two important new research projects. Established with a $5 million gift from BU alumnus Pardee, the Center was launched in 2000 to study the future – 35 to 200 years hence – and produce intellectual analysis that is “interdisciplinary, international, non-ideological, and of practical applicability.”
As a leading academic nucleus for such longer-range studies, the Pardee Center this summer will begin a thorough analysis of several of the United Nations’ “Millennium Goals” to better the human condition in the 21st Century, and will develop a system to track and forecast the performance of governments in promoting and administering human development initiatives.
“Once again, Fred Pardee has demonstrated vision as well as generosity in creating a program that will be of permanent value not only to Boston University but to the world community,” said David Fromkin, the Center’s director and professor of international relations, history and law at Boston University. “This will infuse the Center with additional resources and energy to continue its growth.”
Scholarly research and policy analysis at the Pardee Center is initially focusing on future “great transitions” – such as the 19th Century’s Industrial Revolution – within the broad concept of “human development” as identified by the United Nation’s Millennium Goals. Drawn up at a series of UN conferences through the 1990s, the Millennium Goals set specific and tangible targets for the essential components of human development, covering key areas such as poverty, education, gender, the environment, reproductive health, and infant, child and maternal mortality.
The Center will explore the evolution of these goals, how they are changing, and the implications for the longer-range future. Parallel with these efforts, it will consider the multifarious “dimensions” of transition – political, institutional, cultural, technological, among many others – that might lead to the next major transition or transformation of our world as we know it.
The latest gift from Bolton, Mass., native Pardee – now a successful real estate entrepreneur in Brentwood, Calif., who earned bachelor’s and masters’ degrees from the Boston University School of Management in 1954 – will initiate two research projects:
· The first new project will tackle a subset of the UN’s goals, such as determining what it will take to halve the proportion of people globally who suffer from hunger, or what it will take to double the proportion who have sustainable access to safe drinking water. Researchers then will determine a reasonable time frame for achieving each goal, what each will cost, financing options, and the specific institutions and policies needed to realize them.
· The second new project proposes to track the role of governments in the longer-range future of human progress and well being. It starts from the presumption that well-functioning political systems must be in place to promote and administer human development initiatives. An index of indicators of governmental performance will be developed to allow researchers to explain, track and predict patterns of governmental performance in human development.
Since its formation, the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future has hosted several global conferences and initiated a distinguished lecture series. The Center recently named as visiting professor Dr. Murray Gell-Mann, the 1969 Nobel Prize winner in physics, who succeeds its first visiting professor, 1998 Economics Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen.
Boston University, with an enrollment of nearly 28,000 in its 17 schools and colleges, is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States. The University offers an exceptional grounding in the liberal arts, a broad range of programs in the arts, sciences, engineering, and professional areas, and state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and research.