Pardee Center Director Speaks at Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission and Testifies Before Judicial Commission on Floods
Prof. Adil Najam, Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future and Boston University Professor of International Relations and Geography and Environment, was asked to present expert testimony before Justice Mansoor Ali Shah of the Lahore High Court (Pakistan) who is heading a judicial enquiry commission into the recent floods in Pakistan and the way it was managed. Prof. Najam is Pakistan’s leading expert on climate change issues, especially including its development implications. The testimony, recorded on December 24, 2010, focused on the links between global climate change and extreme weather events and on best practice strategies for the management of water-related climatic disasters.
While in Pakistan, Prof. Adil Najam, was also invited to present at a high-level meeting of the Pakistan Planning Commission on the development of a new growth strategy for Pakistan. The meeting was held at the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan and was attended by university Vice-Chancellors and senior academics from around the country. In his remarks Prof. Najam focussed on the centrality of cities and urban areas in any growth strategy for Pakistan and on ways in which we can and should be thinking of encouraging urban enterprise and innovation in Pakistan.
Prof. Adil Najam, Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future and Boston University Professor of International Relations and Geography and Environment, presented the FAS-HASS Collaborative Lecture at the Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan on December 23, 2010 on “Climate Change, Security and Development: Why Should Pakistan Care?”
The lecture, given to an audience of faculty and students from the Aga Khan University as well as other educational institutions in Karachi focussed on the linkages between climate change, development and human security and focused on the implications of these linkages to Pakistan. Prof. Najam stressed that developing countries like Pakistan need to care deeply about climate change, but differently from high-emission industrialized countries. In particular, they need to view climate change as a development concern rather than only as an environmental concern.
Earlier, on December 21, 2010, Prof. Najam chaired a session on the role of Think Tanks in South Asia and in South Asian regional integration at the Annual Sustainable Development Conference of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Islamabad, Pakistan. The Pardee Center is currently engaged in a book project on the future of South Asia.
Pardee Center Communications Specialist, Cynthia Barakatt will serve as clerk starting January 2011 for the Silent Spring Institute Board of Directors.
Based in Newton, Silent Spring Institute is a unique partnership of scientists, physicians, public health advocates, and community activists that works to identify the links between the environment and women’s health, especially breast cancer. Its research on links between exposure to chemicals commonly used in household and commercial products and breast cancer and other health issues has been published in scientific journals and received widespread attention from the media and the scientific community.
For more information, read here.
Prof. Adil Najam, Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future and Boston University Professor of International Relations and Geography and Environment, was the Guest of Honor and featured speaker at the third annual convocation and graduation ceremony of the Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education (DIHE), Karachi, Pakistan, on December 22, 2010.
The chief guest at the event was Pakistan’s Minister for Overseas Pakistanis, Dr. Farooq Sattar. Other speakers at the ceremony included: Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq, Sindh Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister’s Economic Advisor Dr. Qaiser Bengali, and Deputy Governor of the State bank of Pakistan Yasin Anwar. In his remarks to the graduating class, Prof. Adil Najam stressed that they will be working in a global environment and therefore needed to both think and act globally and understand trends that are truly global in scope and scale.
A presentation on the Pardee Center research project on developing data analysis and visualization tools for futures foresight was made at a meeting organized by the Rockefeller Foundation in Bangkok, Thailand on December 15-16, 2010.
The project is supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and is led at the Pardee Center by Prof. Adil Najam and Prof. Suchi Gopal. The project seeks to systematically visualize, analyze, and draw conclusions from a collective body of trend monitoring produced in different regions of the world as part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Searchlight program. The project goal is to textually identify and visually represent the key ideas and themes emerging from regional trend analyses in a way that is user-friendly, globally accessible, visually interpretive, and policy relevant.
Although the project is still in its early phases, the presentation in Bangkok – made to Rockefeller Foundation’s Searchlight grantees from the Asia Region, other Rockefeller Foundation partners developing suites of visualization tools, and overall team manager from the Foundation – presented the conceptual architecture of the tools that will be developed and deployed at the Pardee Center as part of this project. On behalf of the Pardee Center project team, Prof. Adil Najam, the Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center at Boston University, made the presentation.
Prof. Adil Najam, Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future and Boston University Professor of International Relations and Geography and Environment, participated in and presented at a two-day international workshop on non-traditional security challenges in South Asia’s Future. The workshop was attended by leading experts from across the South Asian region and beyond and was organized by the National Bureau of Asian Research as part of its “Non-Traditional Security Challenges in South Asia: 2025” project.
During the course of the discussion at the workshop and during his presentation Prof. Najam also shared details about the Pardee Center’s related work as part of the Pardee Center South Asia 2060 project.
The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University has received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to develop data analysis and visualization tools for futures foresight research and to apply these to the Rockefeller Foundation’s ongoing ‘Searchlight’ project that focuses on horizon scanning to identify early signals that could have long-term implications for poor and vulnerable communities, and present a diversity of opinions and perspectives across a range of topics (poverty, development, donor issues, social, economic, political, environmental, science, technology and innovation).
The Pardee Center project will systematically visualize, analyze, and draw conclusions from a collective body of trend monitoring produced in different regions of the world. The project goal is to textually identify and visually represent the key ideas and themes emerging from regional trend analyses in a way that is user-friendly, globally accessible, visually interpretive, and policy relevant. A two-level analysis will be performed which will include (a) a conventional textual analysis; and (b) deploying sophisticated data-mining and text-mining algorithms to extract patterns and linkages from reports. A set of analytical tools for Searchlight data analysis will be developed and deployed. A policy paper as well as an academic research paper will be produced.
The project is led by Prof. Adil Najam (Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and Boston University Professor of International Relations and Geography and Environment) and by Prof. Suchi Gopal (Faculty Fellow at the e Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and Boston University Professor of Geography and Environment).
Dr. Pablo Suarez, Pardee Visiting Post-Doctoral Fellow, was featured in AlertNet for his work on games as learning tools for climate science. Saurez has just returned from facilitating two game-based climate change sessions yesterday at the UN conference in Cancun (one on linking forecasts with humanitarian decisions and another on insurance for risk reduction).
The article, titled,”Games bring ‘boring’ climate science to life” describes how Suarez has been able to successfully teach humanitarian workers in around the world how to incorporate climate change science into their emergency planning using games instead of the usual training methods. The article went on to say:
“The usual approach was the scientist gives a talk with a lot of complicated Powerpoint slides. Then the Red Cross people at the end of the session ask, ‘I’m sorry, but could you say what is the most important thing for me to know so I can make better decisions?’
“And the scientist would often explain the same science but in a more irritated tone of voice,” said Suarez, a climate research fellow at Boston University in the United States and consultant to humanitarian aid and development groups such as the Red Cross and Oxfam.
Here is a video about “The Doune Baba Dieye Game”:
Suarez was the author of a Pardee paper (Issue 7, December 2009) on “Linking Climate Knowledge and Decisions: Humanitarian Challenges“. He is currently working on a piece on geoengineering and development, expected to be published through the Pardee Center “Issues in Brief” series.
The Report of the Pardee Center’s ‘Africa 2060: Good News from Africa‘ conference was launched at a special Pardee House Seminar held on December 6, 2010. Panelists included Amb. Charles Stith, Director of the BU African Presidential Archives and Research Center (APARC); Prof. Timothy Longman, Director of the BU African Studies Center (ASC), and Dr. Julius Gatune Kariuki, Visiting Fellow at the BU Pardee Center and Fellow at the African Center of Economic Transformation (ACET) in Ghana. Prof. Adil Najam, Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future moderated the discussion.
The Africa 2060: Good News from Africa conference was held on April 16, 2010, at Boston University and was organized by the Pardee Center in collaboration with the African Studies Center (ASC), the African Presidential Archives and Research Center (APARC)and the Global Health and Development Center (GHDC). The report of the conference is now available and will be launched at the seminar. The report includes an overview of the main trends discussed at the conference, short reaction reports to its four panels, and an expanded statistical section on development trends in Africa (download here). (Videos of the conference presentations are available here). The conference itself was part of a larger program of research at the Pardee Center on Africa 2060 which has also included multiple publications and different seminars.
In his opening remarks Amb. Charles Stith focussed on the challenges of leadership and based on his own interactions with various African leaders he stressed that the continent was beginning to grapple with the challenges of democracy and better governance. He pointed out that although many important challenges remain and while the situation may be uneven across the continent, the trends point towards a continent learning to deal with democracy and a citizenry that is bent on demanding a quality of life from its leadership, and through democratic processes.
Prof. Tim Longman built upon the same ideas and argued that the point of greatest hope for the continent was in the resilience and aspirations of ordinary Africans. He suggested a bottom-up approach to understanding the dynamics in the continent and said that we should learn to listen and see more attentively to what ordinary people in Africa are saying and doing. He also cautioned that there are many variations across the continent and that we should not underestimate the extent of the challenges. However, his overall message highlighted the vitality of the African grassroots and he pointed out that the rest of the world should refrain from imposing external solutions on the continent, as it has done in the past.
Dr. Julius Gatune Kariuki contextualized his remarks in the dynamics of the African economy and suggested that the structure of the African economy is different today than it was in the past and in particular the telecommunication and finance sector are leading the process of structural change in the African economy. He pointed out that although natural resources have been a major driver of Africa’s recent economic growth, it is not the only driver and the services sector has also proved to be vibrant in various parts of the continent.
Following the presentations the audience engaged in a lively discussion with the panelists.
The video of the seminar will be soon made available at the Pardee Center’s multimedia webpage.
Prof. Adil Najam, the Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and Boston University Professor of International Relations and of Geography and Environment, has been invited to join the Advisory Panel for the 2011 Human Development Report, produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The Human Development Report is an independent publication commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Its editorial autonomy is guaranteed by a special resolution of the General Assembly (A/RES/57/264), which recognizes the Human Development Report as “an independent intellectual exercise” and “an important tool for raising awareness about human development around the world.” Contributors to the Report include leading development scholars and practitioners, working under the coordination of UNDP’s Human Development Report Office. For 20 years now, the Report has been a pioneer of methodological innovation and development thinking. The Human Development Report is translated into more than a dozen languages and launched in more than 100 countries annually.
The role of the Advisory Panel is to provide intellectual advice and guidance to the team involved in preparing the report. The Advisory Panel includes eminent thinkers and practitioners with diverse expertise on different aspects of development. The 2011 Report will focus on the theme of growing environmental unsustainability alongside advances in most other dimensions of human development. Prof. Adil Najam is a leading authority on issues related to sustainable development. He also serves on the UN Secretary General’s Committee on Development Policy, was recently elected a Fellow of the Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA), and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.
The Pardee Center at Boston University has been focussed on issues related to human development from its very inception, as was reflected in the choice of Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen as the very first Pardee Visiting Professor in 2001-02. That commitment to the concept of human development, and its actualization, remains central to the Pardee Center’s mission and research and is reflected in most of the research and activities undertaken at the Center.