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(Boston) – Adil Najam, an international expert in long-term global policy, was appointed the new director of Boston University’s Frederick Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, today announced BU Provost David K. Campbell. The center serves as an interdisciplinary forum that examines the multiple forces that will shape the world in the next 35 to 200 years.
Najam, whose appointment is effective immediately, was a coordinating lead author on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that recently shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. From 1997 to 2003, he was a BU College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) assistant professor of international relations and environmental policy, and he returns after a stint as an associate professor of International Negotiation and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Najam’s research interests include sustainable development, Muslim and South Asian politics, environmental politics in developing countries, and philanthropy among immigrant communities in the United States.
“Adil’s skills are broadly aligned with the center’s focus on the future of human development,” said Campbell. “He’s very experienced in international negotiation and in sustainable development, and in human development and security. He’s involved in international environmental politics, including both governmental and non-governmental organizations, and he’s also keenly aware of the importance of religious and faith-based issues of human development. These are all key issues that will affect the future.”
A focus on longer-term global policy problems — especially those related to human well-being and sustainable human development in the developing world — has been the hallmark of Najam’s work. He contributed to Pakistan’s first environmental policy document, as well as to the country’s report to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, has worked closely with governments and civil society in both industrialized and developing countries, and regularly collaborates with the United Nations.
“I am delighted to return to Boston University, and it is particularly heartening to return to lead the Pardee Center,” said Najam. “I look forward to continuing its tradition of encouraging innovative, integrative, interdisciplinary and long-term thinking. Ultimately, we hope it will help create a new generation of scholars and researchers who are prepared to pre-empt not only the great challenges of today but also those of tomorrow.”
Najam’s appointment coincides with a period of planned growth and expansion at the Pardee Center, established in 2000 by a $5-million gift from and later enhanced by Frederick S. Pardee (SMG’54, GSM’54). Since its founding, the center has sponsored an annual Visiting Professors lecture series, which has brought to campus Nobel Laureates Amartya Sen and Murray Gell-Mann, and more recently, demographer Joel Cohen, the Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of Populations at New York’s Rockefeller University, who spoke on “The Human Population: Past, or Passing, or to Come.” Next year’s lecture series will feature Simon Levin, the Moffett Professor of Biology in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Princeton University, and the recipient of the 2005 Kyoto Prize in Basic Science.
The Center, previously lead by David Fromkin, a CAS professor of international relations, also hosts semi-annual conferences on a range of topics, such as democracy and human development, advances in genomics and computer science, and global health.
Under Najam’s leadership, said Campbell, the Pardee Center will work to expand its research agenda in collaboration with BU faculty members, and develop additional undergraduate and graduate research opportunities. To further the Center’s development, Pardee has pledged $500,000 for the center’s programming for fiscal year 2008 while the university will provide an additional $200,000 for resources and expansion. Najam’s challenge, says Campbell, is to expand the scope of the center’s initiatives while continuing the very successful programs currently in place.
“It’s wonderful to learn that Adil is returning to BU to build upon and enhance the combined conference, lecture and research publications legacy carefully nurtured by David Fromkin during the Pardee Center’s inaugural years,” said Pardee.
“I look forward to the high energy and enthusiasm that Adil brings to further interdisciplinary undertaking directed toward multi-national, regional and global analysis of the human condition over upcoming generations.”
Najam holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore, Pakistan, and master’s degrees in civil and environmental engineering, and technology and policy, as well as a doctorate in international environmental policy from MIT. His books include Civic Entrepreneurship: A Civil Society Perspective on Sustainable Development, with Tariq Banuri (2002); Global Environmental Governance: A Reform Agenda, with Mihaela Papa and Nadaa Taiyab (2005), and this year’s Portrait of a Giving Community: Philanthropy by the Pakistani-American Diaspora.