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Global leaders join the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability Advisory Council

Advisory council members include leaders from the United States, India, China, and more who lend scientific, industry, nonprofit, entrepreneurship, and government expertise to the challenge of educating students, driving discoveries, and creating solutions at a global scale.

The Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability has formed an advisory council that includes global leaders with expertise in dimensions critical to the school’s mission of deepening our knowledge of Earth, climate and society, and generating sustainability solutions at scale. 

The council will be co-led by John Hennessy, president emeritus of Stanford University and Shriram Family Director, Knight-Hennessy Scholars, and John Doerr, chair of Kleiner Perkins. 

“I’m grateful to this impressive team of advisors, who will bring a breadth and depth of experience from academia, industry, government, and the nonprofit sector to our work to advance sustainability,” said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. “The advisory council will work closely with Dean Majumdar and the school’s leadership team to set our school on a course to accelerate solutions to our biggest climate challenges, uncover new knowledge about our planet, and educate the next generation of sustainability leaders.”

Additional members include: Anela Arifi, Stanford E-IPER PhD student and Knight-Hennessy Scholar; Sandra Begay, principal member of the technical staff, Sandia National Laboratories; Natarajan “Chandra” Chandrasekaran, chair, Tata Sons; Steven A. Denning, chair emeritus, General Atlantic; former chair, Stanford Board of Trustees; Ann Doerr, chair, Khan Academy; Jennifer Doudna, professor of chemistry and of molecular and cell biology, University of California, Berkeley, Founder, Innovative Genomics Institute, and HHMI investigator; Angela Filo, co-founder, Yellow Chair Foundation; member, Stanford Board of Trustees; Bill Gates, co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; founder, Breakthrough Energy; Jamshyd N. Godrej, chair, Godrej & Boyce; Hal Harvey, founder, Energy Innovation Policy and Technology LLC; Mark Heising, founder, Medley Partners; Martin Lau, president, Tencent; Laurene Powell Jobs, founder and president, Emerson Collective; Condoleezza Rice, Tad and Dianne Taube Director, Hoover Institution; Tom Steyer, co-founder and co-executive chair, Galvanize Climate Solutions; Gene Sykes, managing director, Goldman Sachs & Co.; member, Stanford Board of Trustees; Yi Wang, professor of energy and environmental policy, School of Public Policy and Management, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences; Akiko Yamazaki, chair, Stanford Sustainability Task Force; co-founder and director, Wildlife Conservation Network; Eric Yuan, founder and chief executive officer, Zoom; Fareed Zakaria, host of Fareed Zakaria GPS, CNN; foreign affairs columnist, The Washington Post.

“When I look around the world today and see issues related to clean energy, water, food, biodiversity, ecology, and human health, which are all affected by climate change and societal choices, there is no doubt that this school is tackling some of the greatest challenges and opportunities of our times,” said Arun Majumdar, Chester Naramore Dean of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability. “Members of this advisory council will bring deep and diverse expertise and experiences in shaping our approaches and thinking with a global perspective. I look forward to working alongside this group of incredible leaders to help develop scholarship, education, and scalable solutions.”

The group’s first meeting will be held in June, with a focus on three key areas: identifying the greatest opportunities for global engagement, extending a Stanford education to the world, and finding opportunities for scalable solutions through the Sustainability Accelerator. The accelerator recently launched its first Flagship Destination, with a focus on restoring our atmosphere by removing greenhouse gases at the billion-ton scale. Future Flagship Destinations are being developed through input from the Stanford community and are expected to focus on a range of activities across the spectrum of sustainability. 

“This school is purposefully designed to encourage cross-disciplinary approaches by the globe’s best and brightest,” said John Doerr, advisory council co-chair. “These outstanding scholars and researchers will be tackling the enormous challenges of sustainability, climate change, and meeting our net-zero goals. The advisory council will provide wide-ranging expertise, guidance, and mentorship. I look forward to working with other council members as we raise our ambitions to solve these problems with speed and at scale.”

In addition to the advisory council, the school leverages academic knowledge from its leadership team, made up of the senior associate deans, department chairs, interdisciplinary degree program directors, and institute directors within the school. The school also gains insight from other advisory councils including those that guide the Precourt Institute for Energy and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Student advisory boards provide the school with student perspectives on the school’s programs and activities. An additional committee is being formed to guide the Sustainability Accelerator and another is expected to be formed for the new institute focused on sustainable societies. 

“It’s rare for a university to launch a new school but it’s warranted by the scale of problems we’re addressing with the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability,” said John Hennessy, advisory council co-chair. “I can’t imagine a group of people better suited to lend support and counsel than the individuals comprising this advisory council.”

The advisory council will meet twice a year. Each meeting will focus on critical issues relating to developing new programs and initiatives that leverage the school’s academic knowledge and global partnerships to tackle the world’s greatest sustainability challenges.

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