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Ambassador Djerejian on learning and leadership
Founding director Edward Djerejian and the Baker Institute Student Forum recently had an informal meeting over lunch, discussing everything from new student initiatives to his experiences as U.S. ambassador to Syria and Israel.
Plans are underway to augment the institute’s student outreach efforts with a leadership program, the ambassador said. Though in a very early stage, the program may include leadership training, seminars and mentors responsible for overseeing the students’ progress.
Leaders are developed, not born, the ambassador noted, and mentors can play a crucial role in the process. His own experience with mentors at his alma mater, Georgetown University, and in his early days at the State Department taught him that “if you’re going to do something, do it with passion and do it with integrity.”
“Half of life is luck and half is what you do by working hard,” he added. “Be creative, disciplined and committed to excellence.”
Ambassador Djerejian urged the Rice students to enhance their college experience by taking advantage of the opportunities at the Baker Institute. Our internships include the popular Jesse Jones Leadership Center Summer in D.C. Program, which offers stipends that allow undergraduates to accept rewarding, but often unpaid, internships in the nation’s capital. Many have used their research experiences to obtain prestigious scholarships, including the Rhodes Scholarship, The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, the Fulbright Scholarship and the Wagoner Scholarship.
The institute also offers competitive internship programs in Paris, Qatar and Moscow as well as research internships with fellows and scholars. Last spring the institute introduced its first undergraduate public policy course (POST 201) taught by a rotating roster of fellows. Fellows and scholars in addition teach classes in subjects as varied as energy economics, the Middle East and computer systems security.
The BISF, which started with five students in 2002, last fall held a national policy paper competition. Undergraduates from eight states and Washington, D.C., representing 13 universities (including Yale, Stanford and Georgetown) devised health policy solutions for the United States, and the finalists were flown to Houston where they presented their work to an expert panel. The BISF is gearing up for its 2014 competition on energy policy, and a call for papers will be issued soon.
“The Baker Institute has evolved into an integral part of the education mission at Rice,” said the ambassador. Reflecting on a long professional career in often difficult circumstances — he was posted in Beirut during the Arab-Israeli War of 1967; in Moscow during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; and in Damascus during “Desert Storm” — the ambassador advised the students to make the most of their time at Rice. “Your education and college experiences will help you navigate through the good times and bad,” he said. “It will be a valuable instrument you will use throughout your lives.”
For a complete list of upcoming events, visit our events page.
Research and News
- Shell Distinguished Lecture Series — World Energy Outlook. A lecture on the emerging global energy landscape by Fatih Birol, Ph.D., chief economist at the International Energy Agency in Paris. 6:00 pm February 20
- The Geopolitics of Natural Gas. A conference on the global geopolitical implications of the development of unconventional natural gas. 8:30 am February 21
- Pathways to Empowerment: Women and the Economy in the Developing World. Houston Mayor Annise Parker will be the featured speaker at this panel discussion on the crucial role of women in promoting economic development and innovation worldwide. 6:00 pm February 25
- Drones in the United States. Brookings Institution senior fellow John Villasenor will give an overview of unmanned aircraft technology, the current regulatory environment, and the complex policy issues of privacy and ownership of airspace. 4:00 pm March 25
- U.S. Policy in the Middle East. Founding director Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian will address the Arab Spring's implications for U.S. national security and foreign policy. Co-sponsored by The University of Texas School of Law, under the auspices of the James A. Baker III Chair in the Rule of Law in World Affairs. 6:00 pm March 27
- Cannabinomics: The Impact of Cannabis and Hemp on America's Economy and Public Safety. Award-winning author and journalist Doug Fine will examine the impact that legalized cannabis might have on the U.S. economy. 7:00 pm March 31
- NAFTA After 20 Years. The inaugural conference of the Baker Institute's Mexico Center, focusing on the impact and future of NAFTA and featuring three of the principal negotiators of the agreement. 8:00 am April 7
For a complete list, visit our research library.
- Science for the Poor: Making Vaccines to Combat Poverty, by Peter J. Hotez, fellow in disease and poverty. February 11
- Reactions to the Syrian Peace Conference, by Edward P. Djerejian, founding director. February 5
- Hacks on Gas: Energy, Cybersecurity, and U.S. Defense, by Christopher Bronk, fellow in information technology policy and director of the Energy and Cybersecurity Program. February 4
- Oil and Politics in Venezuela, by Francisco J. Monaldi, nonresident fellow for the Latin America Initiative. February 4
- Chagas Disease: Urgent Measures Are Needed, by Peter J. Hotez, fellow in disease and poverty. February 4
- Aboriginal Populations and Their Neglected Tropical Diseases, by Peter J. Hotez, fellow in disease and poverty. February 4
- The Truth About the Affordable Care Act, by Vivian Ho, James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics. February 4
- GOP primary deserves more attention from voters, by Mark Jones, fellow in political science. February 3
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Baker Institute Blog
For a complete list, visit the Baker Institute Blog.
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Rice University's Baker Institute is a nonpartisan public policy think tank located 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.