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 You are in: Bureaus/Offices Reporting Directly to the Secretary > Policy Planning Staff > Secretary's Open Forum > Proceedings > 2001 - 2002

Opening Remarks and Introduction: The State of the World: Assessing Global Sustainability

Alan Lang, Chairman, Open Forum
Washington, DC
June 28, 2002

Professor Sachs, distinguished colleagues and friends, good morning. I am Alan Lang, chairman of the Secretary's Open Forum. I am very pleased to welcome you to this on-the-record conversation on the "State of the World: Assessing Global Sustainability," featuring Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Center for International Development at Harvard University, and the Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade at Harvard. [As of July 1, 2002, Jeffrey Sachs is director at the Columbia University Earth Institute.]

Today's program is presented by the Open Forum's Distinguished Lecture Series and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research external research staff. As you might imagine, many people helped to make this event possible. I would like to recognize my colleagues at INR, Michael Egan and Raymond Lester, and in the State Department's Bureau of Ocean and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, OES, Daniel R. Rochberg and Jonathan A. Margolis. That staff of the State Department's Ralph J. Bunch Library helped to prepare the bibliographies in your packets. Let me also thank Howard University Television, WHUT-TV, for being here today. Please give them all a warm round of applause.

The Open Forum Distinguished Lecture Series explores vital issues related to U.S. national interests through discussions and conferences, featuring opinion leaders in government, academia, private industry, the NGO community and the media. The Forum seeks to stimulate fresh thinking about American foreign policy. Views expressed today are neither official positions of the State Department nor those of the Secretary's Open Forum.

We are very fortunate to have Professor Sachs here with us this morning. Our conversation on global sustainability is especially timely as the eyes of the world turn toward Johannesburg, South Africa, where the World Summit on Sustainable Development will take place from August 26th through September 4th.

Few experts have broader knowledge or deeper insights about the profound economic, social and environmental challenges confronting our world than Jeff Sachs. I would like to take just a few moments to tell you more about him. In addition to the prestigious posts he has held at Harvard, earlier this year Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed Professor Sachs as his special advisor on the Millennium Development Goals. Professor Sachs has previously served as chairman of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health of the World Health Organization, and as member of the International Financial Institution Advisory Commission established by the United States Congress.

Over the course of his distinguished career he has served as an economic advisor to governments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Asia and Africa. He also served as co-chairman of the advisory board of The Global Competitiveness Report, and has been a consultant to the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD and the United Nations Development Program. The New York Times cited him as "probably the most important economist in the world." A highly regarded French magazine named him as "one of the world's 50 most important leaders on globalization." His syndicated newspaper column appears in more than 50 countries, and he is a frequent contributor to major publications such as the New York Times, the Financial Times of London, and the Economist magazine. Effective July 1, he will head the Columbia University Earth Institute. In this capacity he will explore ways to foster economic growth in developing nations while also promoting human health and preserving the natural environment.

We are delighted and honored to have Professor Sachs here with us today. Won't you please join me in welcoming him. (Applause.)



Released on September 5, 2002

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