Climate activists, traditionalists square off in Harvard alumni board vote
By Ross Kerber BOSTON (Reuters) - A Harvard University board election pits proponents of two popular causes against each other: those focused on climate change and those who want to keep money and what they describe as special interests out of the contest. Votes are due Tuesday for five open seats on the Harvard University Board of Overseers, a 30-member alumni body that helps set strategy for the Cambridge, Mass. school
By Ross Kerber
BOSTON (Reuters) - A Harvard University board election pits proponents of two popular causes against each other: those focused on climate change and those who want to keep money and what they describe as special interests out of the contest.
Votes are due Tuesday for five open seats on the Harvard University Board of Overseers, a 30-member alumni body that helps set strategy for the Cambridge, Mass. school.
Usually nominees come from Harvard's alumni association. But five of this year's 13 candidates were nominated by Harvard Forward, a campaign by recent graduates who want the school to divest fossil fuel assets from its $41 billion endowment along with other steps.
While the outcome will not directly determine investment decisions, it could send a symbolic message as many schools face calls to sell oil stocks.
"We have a great opportunity, and a duty, to hold Harvard to its highest ideals," said Nathan Goldberg, a campaign co-founder.
U.S. universities with endowments of $11 billion have pledged to divest from fossil fuels. But another group with $181 billion has rejected divestment calls, said trade group Independent Petroleum Association of America. Endowments totaling another $180 billion have partially divested.
Harvard's upstart slate has prompted pushback from some alumni leaders. In an open letter they said the campaign had "copious funding" and threatens to have "special interests" control the Overseers.
Harvard Forward's efforts could "undermine our collective alumni efforts to keep Harvard a strong and effective leader in education and research," said Vanessa Liu, first vice president of the Harvard Alumni Association.
The association put forward eight candidates for the five open seats. The Overseers approves candidates to the Harvard Corporation, the body that can make divestment decisions. Harvard Forward says it will have spent about $59,000, raised from alumni.
The results of the election are due in coming days.
(Reporting by Ross Kerber; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.