Earth Institute Hosts Heads of State from India,
Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Kufuor speak of reforms and development plans
The Earth Institute at Columbia University was honored to host Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India and President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana as part of Columbia University’s World Leaders Forum last week. The Earth Institute has “thriving advisory programs” in both India and Ghana, in the words of Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs, who also noted that these were “two very impressive democratic leaders.”
Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee
In his address to Columbia, Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee talked about the current state of India’s economy and where the government would like to take it in the future. He commented on the importance of Jeffrey Sachs' invitation to participate in a global development dialogue at Columbia University, and the valuable connections of The Earth Institute’s work on “issues of the greatest concern to developing countries.” The Prime Minister added that the Earth Institute is “pioneering a major program of policy research on the Indian economy.”
The Earth Institute’s Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development (CGSD) has a major program of policy research on the Indian economy led by Dr. Nirupam Bajpai with several projects in India to study and advise governments on a wide range of issues of concern to India’s policy-makers, academicians, and the business community. These research and advisory projects include a program for India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry to examine problems impeding global competitiveness and develop strategies that may help India become a major platform for labor-intensive manufacturing exports. CGSD is also working on a project for the State Government of Gujarat, in cooperation with the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad (IIM-A).
As part of this project, Earth Institute scientists working on seismology and disaster management strategies, seasonal and inter-annual climate prediction, agriculture, and water resource management, are working together with social scientists, especially economists, to develop strategies to reduce poverty, achieve higher rates of economic growth, attract foreign direct investment, and promote labor-intensive manufacturing exports from the state, all in an environmentally sustainable manner. CGSD also has an agreement with the State Government of Karnataka, to evaluate education and health expenditures, rural development programs, competitiveness of local industry, infrastructure development and foreign investment among other things, in order to advise the state government on a wide range of issues relating to economic reform at the state level.
President John Agyekum Kufuor
President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana spoke to a full audience of nearly 400 in the Low Library Rotunda about his government’s reform efforts and future plans. The president has achieved significant debt forgiveness as a result of reforms and has recently received a welcome credit rating of B+ from Standard & Poor’s, the international credit rating agency. President Kufuor's plans to grow his country’s economy include not only development of a commercial port but also an increased emphasis on tourism. The president noted that tourism in Ghana will focus on the country’s history as the main point of departure for much of Africa’s slave trade, as well as on the country’s shoreline and natural beauty.
The Earth Institute has been working with President Kufuor and the government of Ghana on a project to modernize the infrastructure of Ghana and to support its development plans. Columbia University experts in agriculture, energy, health, infrastructure, and economic growth traveled to Accra, the capital of Ghana, last spring to initiate this project. Accra is the first in a series of rapidly growing cities in developing countries whose sustainable development issues will be addressed as part of the Earth Institute’s 21st Century Cities initiative.
For more information on the Earth Institute's work in Ghana, click here.
Columbia University’s World Leaders Forum included visits from 17 heads of state, turning the university, in the words of President Lee Bollinger, into “a center for public debate featuring the world’s key global architects and thinkers.”
The Earth Institute at Columbia University is the world’s leading academic center for the integrated study of Earth, its environment, and society. The Earth Institute builds upon excellence in the core disciplines - earth sciences, biological sciences, engineering sciences, social sciences and health sciences - and stresses cross-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. Through its research, training and global partnerships, it mobilizes science and technology to advance sustainable development, while placing special emphasis on the needs of the world’s poor.
Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India
John Agyekum Kufuor, President of Ghana
Videos Produced by Columbia
University's Office of Public Affairs
Shot: Sep 23 & 24, 2003
Published: Sep 30, 2003
Last modified: Sep 30, 2003
The Earth Institute at Columbia University is among the world’s leading academic centers for the integrated study of Earth, its environment, and society. The Earth Institute builds upon excellence in the core disciplines—earth sciences, biological sciences, engineering sciences, social sciences and health sciences—and stresses cross-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. Through its research, training and global partnerships, it mobilizes science and technology to advance sustainable development, while placing special emphasis on the needs of the world’s poor.