Energy, environment bring international leaders to University

The International Symposium on Energy and Environment, sponsored by the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, will bring prominent international university presidents to campus May 4-7.

The symposium marks the first such gathering in the United States.

The leaders of 12 premier universities in Asia and the Middle East, along with Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, will discuss ways their institutions are addressing global energy and environmental concerns. These institutions include Fudan, National Taiwan, Tsinghua and Yonsei universities and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.

“We are privileged to host the first meeting of the Partner Universities of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy here in St. Louis,” Wrighton said. “The 20 University Partners in the Academy engage more than 200,000 of the world’s most talented students, and it will be rewarding to have so many outstanding academic leaders addressing the global challenges associated with energy and environment. The symposium is intended to identify opportunities to develop collaborative education and research programs involving Washington University and its international partners.”

Key speakers will include a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the president of the National Academy of Sciences and Monsanto Co.’s top executive.

Organizers say they hope the symposium will result in new collaborative research and education projects facilitated by the McDonnell Academy.

“This is part of a general effort at Washington University to create a model for a more global university based on partnerships with a network of the world’s leading research institutions,” said James V. Wertsch, Ph.D., the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts & Sciences and director of the McDonnell Academy. “Our current focus is in Asia, but we have recently expanded our list of partners to include institutions in Turkey and Israel. We now have 20 partner institutions and will be expanding to other parts of the world in the future.

“A core mission of the Academy is to recruit and mentor outstanding graduate and professional degree students who will form networks of future global leaders, but the May meetings reflect our more general purpose of developing our Washington University model for a global university of the future,” Wertsch added.

McDonnell Academy

The McDonnell Academy enrolls exceptional graduate and professional students from Partner Universities across all graduate disciplines and professional schools at the University. These future leaders have all expenses toward their degree work paid, including tuition, room, board and travel.

The Academy not only provides the scholars rigorous graduate instruction in their chosen areas of study, but also uniquely steeps them in a cultural, political and social education program designed to give them knowledge about the United States, other countries and critical international issues.

For more information on the McDonnell Academy, visit

Symposium schedule

The first thematic symposium of the Academy will begin with a welcome dinner May 4 at which Thomas R. Pickering, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is scheduled to speak.

A Presidents Forum takes place May 5, during which the heads of 12 Partner Universities will discuss ways their universities are addressing issues of energy and the environment.

The day includes a talk by Hugh Grant, chairman, president and CEO of Monsanto Co. Ralph J. Cicerone, Ph.D., president of the National Academy of Sciences, also will address the group May 5.

May 6-7 will be devoted to presentations and workshops by scholars with special expertise in energy and the environment.

The May 6 session will begin with a keynote lecture on sustainability in urban areas by John C. Crittenden, Ph.D., the Richard Snell Presidential Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Sustainable Technologies program at Arizona State University.

The remainder of the symposium will be organized into sections, including energy and environment, air quality, and water resources and sustainable systems.

In addition, there will be a presentation by Michael Adams, son of famed environmental photographer Ansel Adams and an exhibition of Ansel Adams’ work titled “Photographs on the Environment.”

A novel concept of collecting educational materials from the 20 Partner Universities is being planned. In addition to compiling such information — much of which is available at — the McDonnell Academy will explore technological tools that will allow faculty at the Partner Universities to communicate more easily with each other.

Corporate sponsors of the symposium are AmerenUE, ExxonMobil Corp., V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation and Arch Coal Inc.

For a preliminary program of symposium events, visit For more information, call Kim Coleman at 935-5548 or e-mail

Scheduled attendees

The following university presidents are scheduled to attend the symposium:

• Zhang-lian Chen, president of China Agricultural University

• Lawrence J. Lau, president of the Chinese University of Hong Kong

• Khunying Suchada Kiranandana, president of Chulalongkorn University

• Shenghong Wang, president of Fudan University

• Ashok Misra, director of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

• B.B. Bhattacharya, vice chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University

• Ural Akbulut, rector of Middle East Technical University

• Si-Chen Lee, president of National Taiwan University

• Binglin Gu, president of Tsinghua University

• Lap-Chee Tsui, vice chancellor of University of Hong Kong

• Usman Chatib Warsa, rector of University of Indonesia

• Jung Chang Young, president of Yonsei University

In addition to the presidents, other academic leaders from the 12 institutions will be attending, as will delegations from:

• Bogaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey

• Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel

• Korea University

• National University of Singapore

• Peking University

• Seoul National University

• Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

• University of Tokyo