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From the President and Provost
October 3, 2006, Volume 53, No. 6

Global Initiatives Fund Awards

Last spring, we established the Global Initiatives Fund (GIF), an intramural resource to support faculty initiatives that enhance international and interdisciplinary teaching, engagement, and research. We are pleased to announce the first faculty grants, for the academic year 2006-2007.

Establishment of the International Environmental Management Initiative

Robert F. Giegengack, the Davidson Kennedy Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences in SAS; Jason Johnston, Professor of Law; John C. Keene, Professor Emeritus of City and Regional Planning in the School of Design; and Eric W. Orts, the Guardsmark Professor of Legal Studies, Business Ethics, and Management in the Wharton School, were awarded seed funding to establish an International Environmental Management Initiative (IEMI) at Penn. 

Citing the need for interdisciplinary solutions to environmental problems, IEMI will sponsor faculty research and teaching on global environmental issues with specific attention to business and policy. Faculty from across the University will collaborate to create an innovative academic program, and IEMI will work closely with colleagues at INSEAD, the Paris Institute of Technology, and Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Proposed initiatives include corporate and government partnerships, a visiting fellows program, and a joint M.B.A. and Masters of Environmental Science program. With this seed grant, IEMI will establish Penn as an international academic leader in the teaching and research of environmental management.

ROP Screening in Middle Income Countries (Peru and Brazil)

Graham E. Quinn, Professor of Ophthalmology in the School of Medicine, was awarded funding for his retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) screening project in middle income countries. ROP is treatable and preventable, yet it remains the leading cause of childhood blindness worldwide. The Penn-sponsored initiative, which involves doctors, scientists, and economists in London, Calgary and Philadelphia, has already improved ROP screening in Peru, by establishing an image-taking method by which non-ophthalmologists can perform reliable initial examinations. The GIF grant will enable Professor Quinn’s team to expand its research and extend its services to Brazil, engaging the expertise of CHOP ophthalmologists, Penn biostatisticians, and numerous University faculty. The World Health Organization has identified ROP as a “Vision 2020—The Right to Sight” priority, and this grant promotes an efficacious plan for prevention and treatment, bringing Penn to the front lines in the fight for sight. 

Both of these projects exemplify the aims and goals of the Global Initiatives Fund and we are pleased to be able to support these efforts.  We are confident that they will help to advance Penn’s global engagement agenda.

—Amy Gutmann, President
—Ron Daniels, Provost

Almanac - October 3, 2006, Volume 53, No. 6