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July 7, 2010: News, Research & Events from the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
Baker Institute Update: Summer in Shanghai, anyone?

Summer in Shanghai, anyone?

Baker Institute fellows and scholars are on the move this summer as they travel the world to attend conferences and connect with industry and government leaders. You can get a more detailed look at their itineraries by clicking the map, above. We'll update the map as new locations are added in coming weeks.

The Energy Forum kicked off June by traveling to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for an International Association of Energy Economics conference. Amy Myers Jaffe, Wallace S. Wilson Fellow in Energy Studies, spoke on the geopolitics of oil. Ken Medlock, James A. Baker, III, and Susan G. Baker Fellow in Energy and Resource Economics, and Peter Hartley, Baker Institute Rice scholar and George and Cynthia Mitchell Chair and Professor of Economics, presented a paper on Bolivia's natural gas. Ron Soligo, Baker Institute Rice scholar and professor of economics, gave a presentation on ethanol while Ted Temzelides, Baker Institute Rice scholar and professor of economics, gave a presentation on research and development and macroeconomic growth. Research associate James Coan spoke on the link between gasoline prices and happiness, the subject of an upcoming paper.

Six days later, Jaffe, Medlock and Coan flew to Tokyo to give presentations on energy and climate change at The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan.

Jaffe is currently in Morroco with six Rice students who are attempting to harvest water from dense fog that rolls into the area. The project is part of an Energy Forum undergraduate program that promotes sustainability in developing countries.

Still ahead for Medlock are speaking engagements at workshops on natural gas in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. He will continue to work on a carbon solutions study and examine the influence of shale gas development on North American and global natural gas markets and the role of speculation in energy markets. Medlock is also working on a task force headed by Jaffe on the nuclear ambitions of Iran and other nations in the Middle East.

Coan will fly to Colorado this month to attend the Aspen Institute 2010 Global Forum on Energy, Economy and Security.

Mahmoud El-Gamal, Will Clayton Fellow in International Economics, is also racking up frequent flyer miles, with trips to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to speak on the Arab world and the financial crisis at a conference organized by The World Bank and the Arab Monetary Fund; Cairo, Egypt, to speak on alternative microfinance models for the Muslim poor at a meeting of the African Econometric Society; and Washington, D.C., to lecture at the International Monetary Fund and at the 18th International Congress of Comparative Law.

In Shanghai, China, Baker Institute founding director Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian; Steve Lewis, fellow in Asian studies; Joe Barnes, Bonner Means Baker fellow; George Abbey, Baker Botts Senior Fellow in Space Policy; and Ron Soligo attended the 2010 Shanghai Expo and discussed U.S.-China relations with the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies. Lewis also presented his research on public spaces and advertising at a conference on Shanghai subway culture, organized with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and Horizon Survey Research.

Back in Houston, Lewis will hold seminars throughout the summer with 10 Rice University undergraduates interning at government agencies and NGOs in Washington, D.C., as part of the Baker Institute's Jesse Jones Leadership Center Summer in D.C. Internship Program.

Barnes will continue his research on U.S. policy toward Mexico's oil sector.

Vivian Ho, the James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics, and graduate student Jerome Dugan recently returned from an American Society of Health Economists Conference at Cornell University, where they presented their research on cost shifting at U.S. hospitals. Ho and Dugan will continue to research the effect of Medicare on access to care for vulnerable populations with heart disease. Last month, the Health Economics Program began work on a $965,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the determinants of the costs of performing cancer surgery.

Chris Bronk, fellow in technology, society and public policy, traveled to Budapest, Hungary, in June for the Workshop on Social Science and Cybersecurity, co-sponsored by the European Science Foundation and Markle Foundation. In July, he will assume an appointment as senior visiting fellow at Syracuse University's Center for Information and Systems Assurance and Trust. While there, he will draft a chapter for the book "Cyber Security: Public Sector Threats and Response," and work on his own research in information sharing and security. Bronk will also look at cyber vulnerabilities of smart grid electrical technologies and continue his work on the application of Web 2.0 in government.

Later this month, Peter Hartley will present a seminar on natural gas at the Energy Marketing Authority of Singapore. He will also explore the possibility of joint projects between the Baker Institute and the National University of Singapore's Energy Studies Institute. Hartley will then travel to Perth, Australia, to present a natural gas seminar to interested parties in business and government, and lecture on renewable energy at The University of Western Australia.

Dan Rodriguez, fellow in law and urban economics, is spending the summer teaching a new seminar on constitutional development at the University of San Diego School of Law, where he previously served as dean. He is working with a small army of student research assistants, at The University of Texas and at the University of San Diego, on two major book projects and several academic articles.

David Mares, Baker Institute Scholar for Latin American Energy Studies, began the summer by receiving the Panhellenic Council's Outstanding Professor Award at the University of California, San Diego. In July, he will be teaching courses on terrorism and comparative drug policy in Madrid, Spain. Guest speakers include representatives from the Basque Socialist Party, the Madrid police and a national association of drug rehabilitation centers. In August, he will head to Geneva, Switzerland, to lead a discussion of South American security policy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies' Global Strategic Review. He will also attend the Baker Institute's Energy Forum workshop on Mexico's energy reform, working with Amy Myers Jaffe; Joe Barnes; Erika de la Garza, Latin American Initiative program director; and Ron Soligo.

Baker Institute Rice scholar David Cook, an associate professor of religious studies, will visit Delhi, Calcutta and Mumbai in India. He will be researching radicals in Kashmir before heading to Bangladesh for 10 days.

Baker Institute science and technology policy fellow Kirstin Matthews will focus her energies on stem cell policy and recommendations for the state of Texas. Last month, she attended the International Society for Stem Cell Research conference in California to learn about advancements in research.

Joan Neuhaus Schaan
, the Baker Institute's fellow in homeland security and terrorism, in June testified before a congressional subcommittee in Washington, D.C., about the possibility of a narcoterrorist attack on Texas’ water infrastructure.

Bill Martin, the Harry and Hazel Chavanne Senior Fellow in Religion and Public Policy, spent most of June working on a story for Texas Monthly about the Harmony Schools, a network of 25 Texas charter schools emphasizing math and science and operated by Turkish Muslims. His main project for July is an article about the violent drug cartels in Mexico. Next up on the schedule is an article about mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. "Vacation plans have been deferred to fall, so as not to miss the Texas summer," he said.

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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.

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