Wednesday, May 23, 2012

U.N. Academic Impact Initiative

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at the United Nations as a participant in the UN Academic Impact Initiative event entitled, “Sustainability in Developing Nations: Opportunities for Public/Private Partnerships.”  It was quite an honor to be involved in such an engaging project.  The event illustrated the goals of Academic Impact “to harness that great power to build a better world; a world where human ingenuity will make our homes, communities and consumption patterns socially and environmentally sustainable; a world where research receives the funding and support it needs to defeat disease, deprivation and despair; a world where the ‘unlearning’ of intolerance will bridge barriers that still divide nations and peoples.” 

This fantastic event was held at the Daj Hammarskoldj Library Auditorium at the United Nations in New York City and can be viewed here. Professor John Dernbach from Widener Law discussed the accomplishments and challenges for sustainability from his forthcoming book, “Acting as If Tomorrow Matters.”  Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Coordinator for the Rio + 20 Conference discussed Post-Rio sustainability frameworks. Professor John Nolon from Pace Law School delivered a presentation on gaps in climate change law and sustainable development law. I discussed water infrastructure planning and ecosystem services.  Professor James Gathii from Albany Law School presented on the dangers of export-driven trade policies in economies dependent on agricultural exports.  Professor Alexandra Harrington from Albany Law School discussed constitutional frameworks for sustainable decision making.  A panel then discussed the role and potential of public-private partnerships in achieving sustainable development.  Presenters on this panel included: Scott Fein of Whiteman Osterman and Hanna; the Honorable Abulkalam Abdul Momen, Ambassador from Bangladesh to the United Nations; and Kenneth Bond of Squire Sanders (US), LLP. 

Other prominent participants included: Ramu Damodaran, United Nations Office of Academic Impact; Connie Mayer, Interim President and Dean at Albany Law School; and Patricia Salkin, Associate Dean and Director of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School.

- Keith Hirokawa

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