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Oct. 22, 2009

United Nations official brings international engagement discussion to MSU

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- On Oct. 26, William Davis, director of the United Nations Information Office, will visit campus to discuss the changing and improving relationship between the United States and United Nations. 

Davis serves as the U.N. secretary general's Washington representative and liaison with the presidential administration and Congress.

The re-engagement of the relationship between the U.S. and the U.N. could have an impact on local economies, and could potentially benefit Michigan State University and the state of Michigan, according to Davis.

He will join John Hudzik, vice president of global engagement for MSU, and local business owner Chris Holman for a three-part presentation at 7 p.m. Oct. 26 in the Kellogg Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Hudzik and Holman will focus on how MSU and the greater Lansing business community are preparing to take advantage of the U.S.-U.N. re-engagement.

For nearly 60 years, MSU has been a leader among U.S. universities in international development programs, said Jeffrey Riedinger, dean of International Studies and Programs. He added that because MSU conducts research in developing countries, assists with the development of new institutions and provides training for development tasks, MSU is the appropriate venue to host a conversation about U.N. and U.S. relations.

"MSU has a long and distinguished history of involvement in international development, with thousands of faculty having participated in projects around the world," Riedinger said. "Today we are determined to discover the best ideas and apply them to answer the world's most pressing problems, which is consistent with the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals."

Cosponsored by MSU and the United Nations Association-USA Greater Lansing Chapter, Davis' visit will include meetings with community members and business owners, as well as MSU staff, faculty and students who are working to address the goals. The Millennium Development Goals were approved in 2000 as courses of action for improving quality of life around the world.

Key faculty, staff and students working toward the goals include:

  • Terrie Taylor, professor of internal medicine, has researched childhood cerebral malaria for years, contributing to the goal of combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
  • Also working toward the HIV/AIDS goal, Courtney Hurtt, a comparative cultures and politics junior, leads an MRULE student project supporting a community center in South Africa.
  • Gretchen Sanford, assistant director of the Global Institute for Higher Education, has worked on the U.S.-funded effort to improve education in Pakistan, which works toward the goal of achieving universal primary education.
  • David Skole, professor of forestry, has led efforts to develop techniques in measuring and managing carbon around the world, working toward the goal of ensuring environmental sustainability. This project gained recognition as part of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize-winning U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • Also supporting environment goals, Jack Liu, University Distinguished Professor of fisheries and wildlife, has been conducting Giant Panda research in China, looking at how to preserve habitat.

For more information on how MSU is working toward the Millennium Development Goals, read the latest edition of "MSU International" at