|Students lunch with James A. Baker, III
Whether they work as interns, join the Student Forum or take a class from a fellow, students are an integral part of the Baker Institute. Two student-centered events recently highlighted the institute's commitment to educate and nurture policy-minded undergraduates, and inform them about important issues of the day.
On Oct. 4, the Baker Institute Student Forum (BISF) welcomed James A. Baker, III, the institute's honorary chair, to an informal lunch and question-and-answer session. Over sandwiches and sodas, the former secretary of state fielded questions from 20 Rice University students about foreign policy, the debt crisis in Europe and energy independence.
"All of the students were well-informed and willing to pose tough questions — just the sort of group I like," said Baker of the gathering, which included members of BISF, the Rice University Young Democrats and the Rice Conservative Forum. "I hope the students had as much fun as I did."
The students, reflecting on the meeting after the lunch, said they appreciated Baker's candor and directness. "Mr. Baker is a very strong person who takes an issue and cuts to the chase," said Audra Herrera '12, a political science and English major. "He talked about everything from his early life to the value of Teach for America and the situation in the Middle East. He was able to bring issues to life because of his own experiences, and he didn't sidestep any of our questions."
BISF president Myles Bugbee '12, also a political science major, agreed. "You can read about events in the news, but his take on them is based on personal knowledge and his deep knowledge of policy. To speak one-on-one with someone who was so successful in public policy was a real learning experience."
A second event recently hosted by the BISF turned into the largest student program in Baker Institute history. On Sept. 29, more than 275 people gathered at Baker Hall to hear a lecture by the Rev. Jim Wallis, CEO of Sojourners, a progressive Christian organization dedicated to social justice. The presentation and question-and-answer period, moderated by William Martin, Harry and Hazel Chavanne Senior Fellow in Religion and Public Policy, explored how the world can change for the better when people work across religious and political lines.
"Rev. Wallis' words provided an opportunity for this campus to have a more honest and more tolerant discussion of faith and politics than ever before," said Danny Cohen '14, a political science and economics major who helped lead the effort to bring Wallis to campus.
Cohen said that he thought Wallis "could do an incredible job of ... showing that religion and politics, especially more progressive politics, are actually compatible, and that no one has a monopoly on truth."
The event, which touched on topics such as poverty reduction, civil rights and the role of faith in public policy, ended with a standing ovation for Wallis and Martin. A number of students "decided to become more politically engaged and others have re-evaluated how they view religious individuals," Cohen said.
Djerejian named to Carnegie board
Baker Institute founding director Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian has been named to the board of trustees of Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Djerejian "is one of the United States' most distinguished diplomats, having served his country from the Kennedy administration to the Clinton administration," said The Honorable Thomas Kean, former governor of New Jersey and chairman of Carnegie's board of trustees. "In his current role as director of the prestigious Baker Institute, he brings his vast experience and considerable wisdom to helping guide public policy."
Carnegie Corporation president Vartan Gregorian added that Djerejian's "dedication to American ideals, his efforts to achieve peace in challenging settings, and his commitment to public service resonate deeply with Andrew Carnegie's vision of doing real and permanent good in this world."
Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Corporation of New York in November 1911 to "promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding."
Events are by invitation only unless otherwise noted. For a complete list, visit our events page.
Innovation in the Control of the Neglected Tropical Diseases. Dr. Peter J. Hotez talks about new opportunities for the Sabine Vaccine Institute to collaborate on developing drugs and vaccinations to treat neglected tropical diseases. October 12 at 4:00 pm
Americas Project 2011 — 21st Century Borders in the Americas: Sovereignty, Migration and Crime. Experts discuss sovereignty and territorial disputes, socioeconomic challenges driving migration, and transnational organized crime along porous borders during the Americas Project 2011 Colloquium. October 13 at 6:00 pm
Global Energy Debates. Shell and the Baker Institute ask students to answer the question, where should 9 billion people get their energy? October 17 at 5:30 pm
The Winds of Change in the Middle East: Perspectives and Projections. His Excellency Nabil Fahmy, former ambassador of Egypt to the United States and founding dean of the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at The American University in Cairo, shares his views on the significant political changes taking place in the Middle East. October 18 at 6:00 pm
Poland's Natural Gas Revolution: Energy, Security and Geopolitcs. The Baker Institute Energy Forum and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland host a conference on the future of Poland's unconventional gas resources and their role in the global energy market. October 19 at 9:00 am
Mexico: Challenges for the New President. As part of the Latin America Initiative's Vecinos Lecture Series, a panel of experts addresses the political, economic and security issues that Mexico's next president will face. October 20 at 6:30 pm
The Reach and Limits of Growth: Economic Recession, Development and Human Capability. The institute, with the Program in Poverty, Justice and Human Capabilities in the Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality at Rice University, hosts a discussion with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, Thomas W. Lamont Professor and professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard University. October 21 at 6:00 pm
Baker Institute Student Forum — Legal Career Panel. Panelists from the legal field discuss career options with Student Forum members who are interested in law. October 24 at 6:30 pm
The Walls Came Tumbling Down: Collapse and Rebirth in Eastern Europe. Gale Stokes, Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of History Emeritus at Rice University, speaks about the updated edition of his book on the Eastern European revolutions of 1989. October 25 at 6:00 pm
Falling Back to Earth: A Firsthand Account of the Great Space Race and the End of the Cold War. At this lecture and book signing, former executive secretary of the National Space Council Mark Albrecht argues that the decline of the U.S. aerospace industry was a result of the end of the Cold War. October 26 at 6:00 pm
Research & News
For a complete list of research and commentary, visit our publications page.
Baker Institute Policy Report 49: Shale Gas and U.S. National Security by Kenneth B. Medlock III, James A. Baker, III, and Susan G. Baker Fellow in Energy and Resource Economics; Amy Myers Jaffe, Wallace S. Wilson Fellow in Energy Studies; and Peter Hartley, Rice scholar and George and Cynthia Mitchell Chair and Professor of Economics. October 7
Considering a New Information Architecture for the City of Houston by Christopher Bronk, fellow in information technology policy; Tory Gattis; Vivas Kumar; and Robyn Moscowitz. October 7
Voting at Non-Precinct Polling Places: A Review and Research Agenda by Robert M. Stein, fellow in urban politics at the Baker Institute and the Lena Grohlman Fox Professor of Political Science at Rice University; and Greg Vonnahme. Published in Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics and Policy, Volume 10, Issue 3. October 3
Baker Institute Blog
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The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy is a nonpartisan public policy think tank located on the campus of Rice University in Houston, Texas. The institute's distinguished fellows and scholars research and collaborate with experts from academia, government, the media, business and private organizations on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy.