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A Note from PEI's Director

At PEI we are approaching 2010 with a fresh sense of optimism. The Institute is strong and vital, as this issue of PEI News clearly illustrates. Inside are articles that reflect the scope and vigor of PEI’s research programs, campus collaborations, and the extraordinary opportunities PEI offers Princeton students to augment their capacity to address global environmental problems in and beyond the classroom and campus laboratories.

The PEI/Grand Challenges Internship Program has expanded during the last two years, evolving from a program of 27 interns in 2007 to more than 100 sponsored interns this year. This amazing growth, coupled with the remarkable and varied internships held by students around the world, serve as a testimony to the program’s success. This news is reported in “Internship Program Strengthens Links Between Work Inside and Outside the Classroom.”

Professor Bernard Haykel, Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Director of the Siebel Energy Grand Challenge sponsored Program in Oil, Energy and the Middle East (OEME), discusses his incredibly important teaching and research. Begun in 2005 by a handful of faculty in Near Eastern Studies and PEI, it has now become, through the efforts of Professor Haykel, a robust community of scholars who are leading the world in cutting-edge research on complex issues surrounding energy resources, conflict and culture in the Middle East.

To further illustrate PEI and OEME’s breadth of scholarship on oil and the Middle East, visiting colleagues Dr. Eckart Woertz and Dr. Kate Baker discuss their work. Dr. Woertz, Visiting Research Scholar, is an economist from Dubai who is conducting ground-breaking research on food security in the Middle East. Dr. Baker, BP geologist and Vann Visiting Fellow, taught “Topics in Energy and the Environment: Introduction to Petroleum Engineering,” a new Environmental Studies course cross-listed with Geosciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Efforts to "green" the Princeton campus continue. The University has recently released its first Sustainability Progress Report, which includes references to education, research and civic engagement with a sustainability focus. The University’s Sustainability Manager, Shana Weber, provides an update on great progress in these efforts.

PEI's Program in Environmental Studies continues to play a critical role in the education of Princeton’s undergraduates. This is evident in the stories and photos captured at PEI’s class day celebration in June and at the freshman open house in September.

During this unprecedented period of economic strain at the University, I am proud to state that PEI remains as solid as ever. For this we are indebted to our sponsors and friends. Their ongoing commitment to PEI and its mission ensure PEI’s continued success as a world leader in environmental education, research and outreach.