President's Blog

Freedom & Learning Forum



Since I arrived to George Mason University last summer, I was inspired by the University’s motto.  Our motto, “Freedom and Learning,” connects our academic mission with the work of our namesake, American Patriot, Founding Father and author of the Bill of Rights, George Mason.  It also reminds us that freedom and learning are mutually interdependent. One cannot happen without the other. In order to be free—free to be who we are and who we want to become, free to act for positive change—we can never stop learning. In order to learn, we need to be free. As an academic community, we are committed to advancing both.

For these reasons, I thought there couldn’t be better title for a lecture and discussion series I plan to host at Mason with extraordinary thought leaders beginning March 21. The first one of these forums is dedicated to one of the most crucial issues of our time: environmental change and the role business can and should play to build a sustainable economy.

I thank Prof. Lovejoy and Pavan Sukhdev (currently at Yale) for helping me get this forum started. And I look forward to having a thought provoking/action inspiring session on March 21st. See you there!


Conversations with today’s creative thinkers—scholars, activists, artists, and corporate and government leaders—that challenge our thinking and actions around George Mason University’s mission to create a more just, free and prosperous world.Can Today’s Corporation Deliver Tomorrow’s Economy?Join us for the first lecture at noon on Thursday, March 21, in the Meese Conference Room. President Ángel Cabrera will host Thomas Lovejoy, University Professor at Mason, and Paven Sukhdev, founder and CEO of GIST Advisory, for a lively discussion on economic and environmental challenges.Lovejoy will speak about how the scale and acceleration of environmental change can’t be addressed by government alone—private sector engagement is essential, and Sukhdev will address the role of corporations in particular, and ways to bring the values of the natural world into economic decision-making. 

Panel Bios

Pavan Sukhdevis the Founder & CEO of GIST Advisory (Green Initiatives for a Smart Tomorrow). He works across the spheres of private sector, public enterprise and civil society. He is a Visiting Fellow at Yale University, where he was awarded the McCluskey Fellowship, 2011. While at Yale, he wrote Corporation 2020, a book that envisions tomorrow’s corporation and shows how corporations and society can work together to achieve common goals and build a green economy. Until March 2011, Pavan was Special Adviser and Head of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative, lead author of UNEP’s Green Economy Report, and also Study Leader for the G8+5 commissioned project on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB).
Dr. Thomas Lovejoyis a University Professor here at Mason. He also holds the Biodiversity Chair at the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment and was its President from 2002-08. An ecologist who has worked in the Brazilian Amazon since 1965, he works on the interface of science and environmental policy. Dr. Lovejoy helped bring attention to the issue of tropical deforestation and in 1980 published the first estimate of global extinction rates. In the past he served as the Senior Advisor to the President of the United Nations Foundation, as the Chief Biodiversity Advisor and Lead Specialist for the Environment for the Latin American region for the World Bank, as the Assistant Secretary for Environmental and External Affairs for the Smithsonian Institution, and as Executive Vice President of World Wildlife Fund-US. Dr. Lovejoy has also served on advisory councils in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton administrations.