Here I am in New York City. I came to visit The New York Academy of Sciences which is the first Academy of Sciences established in the United States. I have been working with this organization for several years now and decided to visit their new office which was moved to a new site last year. The office of the President and CEO, Mr. Ellis Rubinstein (photo 1), is located at the 40th floor of a building that stands next to Ground Zero of September 11. I did an interview with him for 45 minutes from 8:30 am. From 10:00am, attended a board meeting of a new project called “Scientists Without Borders” (photo 2). Sounds familiar? Yes, the naming comes from “Doctors Without Borders.” Its mission is about the same. Twelve (12) people are working as its Advisory members including myself.
Photo2 Together with Advisory members and NYAS staffs
Dr. Wakhungu from Kenya is also an Advisory member. Kenya has just gone through a presidential election and now is in great confusion because of the doubt of injustice. Especially I was concerned about Kibera slum which was reported to be in terrible chaos, and Dr. Wakhungu told me that the situation is really bad. Olympic Primary School which I mentioned in my blog of June 2006 and October 2007 was burned. I hope the school will be rebuilt somehow quickly.
Also, Prof. Victor Zhau at Duke University, whom I met yesterday at Washington DC and introduced in my blog is in the Advisory board. We are working together again. Dr. Seth Berkley of Int’l AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), whom I introduced in my blog in October 2007 is also with us and he gave us many suggestions based on his own experience. We did brainstorming for full 3 hours covering issues such as registration, potentials, management, funding, etc. There are many problems addressed and to be solved, but it certainly was a good learning opportunity. A MD-PhD candidate at Columbia University School of Medicine (moved from India with his/her parents) is joining our session, too. Developing a new project like this inviting such young people is nice. I certainly hope that this project will get started no matter how much time it may take.
In the afternoon, I went to the Council of Foreign Relations known by its outstanding journal “Foreign Affairs.” To my amazement, the day before, Dr. Tachi Yamada of Gates foundation, whom I wrote about in my blog was here to give lecture on “Global Health.” It is an interesting coincidence that I gave a lecture at The World Bank in Washington DC under the same theme. I quickly sent an e-mail to him about this. The purpose of my visit is to see Dr. Laurie Garrett, a Senior Fellow for Global Health, who wrote a great paper on “Foreign Affairs” Jan-Feb 2007, which pointed out that “the waste is seen so much in projects on AIDS.” I was impressed by this paper, and asked her to be a jury member to select the winner of Noguchi Hideyo Africa Prize, a prize established by the suggestion of former Prime Minister Mr. Koizumi, it’s first awarding ceremony scheduled during TICAD that will be held in Yokohama in May. I came to thank her for accepting our invitation and discussed our common interests, global health.
Photo4 With Dr. Laurie Garrett
Today, it is warm here New York City this winter. The city has unique and unexplainable charm.
Photo5 On the street of NYC
Then I went to the Rockefeller foundation to see Managing Director, Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez (Photo 6) to talk about the report on a meeting which he organized “Pocantico II: The Global Challenge of Health Systems.” Unfortunately, I received a message from the President Dr. Judith Rodin, saying that her schedule did not match mine this time. Maybe we will be able to see each other at the World Economic Forum at Davos, two weeks from now.
Photo6 Together with Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez
Dr. Rodin is the first woman to become the president of an Ivy League University in 1994. She became the president of the University of Pennsylvania, where I started my career in the US. But, now, four (Princeton, Pennsylvania, Brown, Harvard) among eight Ivy League Universities have female presidents. How about Japan? I mention this so many times, but….
Dr. Rodin was the Provost at Yale University before becoming the President of the U. Penn., and as I pointed out several times, Dr. Allison Richard, top (it is called Vice Chancellor because Chancellor is HRH Duke of Edinburgh) of Cambridge University and Dr. Suzan Hockfield, President of MIT, both were recruited to head these top universities when they were the Provost at Yale. Is this a sheer coincidence? Or does this mean that Yale has an exceptional ability to choose right people?
This day was also a day of preliminary of the Presidential Election in New Hampshire, and Ms. Clinton won to make up the defeat in Iowa, making it a tie to Obama. Do you think US will have a first female president?
The main objective of this two day trip of visits and lectures was to prepare for the Global Health related meeting (under the auspices of WHO, World Bank, Gates Foundation, NPO, Government of Japan) and connecting it to preparation of and publicity for TICAD, G8 Summit.
In the evening, I had dinner in a restaurant in Soho with Dr. Rubinstein and Dr. Berkeley, whom I saw in the morning, and Mr. Nakasone, a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, Graduate School of Columbia University whom I met in Tokyo this summer. Mr Nakasone is a fascinating young man. I am looking forward to his future as a world level career holder. Maybe you have guessed by his name ? yes, he is a grandson of former prime minister Mr. Nakasone, and son of Mr. Hirofumi Nakasone, a member of the House of Councilors.
I left JFK Airport in the morning of January 9, to return to Japan.