Cornell President David Skorton named for PNB Steering Committee

February 11, 2013

Contact: Ana Navarro-Ovitt
Director, Middle East Programs
The Aspen Institute
+1 202 736 1076

Cornell President David Skorton named for PNB Steering Committee

Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, chair of Partners for a New Beginning (PNB), announced today that Cornell University President David Skorton has been named to join the Steering Committee of PNB, a non-partisan, nonprofit initiative launched by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Secretary Albright; Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company; and Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of The Aspen Institute, in 2010. PNB was created to harness private sector and civil society resources to advance a vision of renewed engagement with communities in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia world based on mutual respect and responsibility.

“Cornell’s David Skorton is a leading voice on educational diversity, academic and business partnerships, international outreach, and immigration reform,” said Secretary Albright. “His broad experience, thoughtfulness, and energy will be an excellent addition to our outstanding steering committee.”

PNB was established as a partnership between the Aspen Institute and the US Department of State to broaden and deepen engagement between the USand local communities abroad, by building public-private partnerships that advance economic opportunity, science and technology, and education and exchange. The PNB Steering Committee is an advisory group of prominent US leaders committed to using their expertise, global networks, and access to resources to foster locally-driven public-private partnerships and projects to advance opportunity. Skorton’s ability to leverage the university’s highly successful business, science and engineering and international agriculture capacity will be essential in advancing PNB’s goals.

Cornell’s international engagement, overseen by Skorton as president, includes the Weill Cornell Medical College branch in Qatar and the KAUST-Cornell Center for Energy and Sustainability. Other international initiatives and agreements include a master of management in hospitality program housed primarily at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, a dual-degree program with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in India, and joint J.D. and master’s degree programs offered by the Cornell Law School in conjunction with the University of Paris, the Paris Institute of Political Studies, and Humboldt University of Berlin.

Skorton is a past chair of the US Business-Higher Education Forum, an independent, nonprofit organization of industry CEOs, leaders of colleges and universities, and foundation executives and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has long been active in regional and state economic development. During 2009 he chaired a gubernatorial Task Force on Diversifying the New York State Economy through Industry-Higher Education Partnerships. And at the request of Governor Andrew Cuomo, he co-chaired the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council in 2011–12. His strong views on access to education, international educational collaboration and capacity building and the need for broad US immigration reform have often been featured in the national and international media.


About The Aspen Institute

Partners for a New Beginning (PNB) is a network working in ten countries where local projects and priorities are identified by local chapters.  PNB strategically matches them with US and international partners. The Aspen Institute serves as the PNB Secretariat and is responsible for driving, expanding and sustaining the PNB network.  The Secretariat maintains communication between stakeholders, identifies strategic partners and brokers partnerships that support project development and expansion. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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