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Energy conference to kick off

Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 20:03


Jenna Liang / Tufts Daily Archives

The eighth annual Tufts Energy Conference will convene on the Hill this weekend, featuring experts in the field of global energy security.


Six panels and numerous other events comprising the eighth annual Tufts Energy Conference will convene this weekend to address issues related to this year’s theme of  “Powering Global Energy Security” and the ‘four A’s’ on that theme: “availability, accessibility, affordability, and acceptability.”

Former New Mexico governor and United States Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson (A ’70, F ’71), is scheduled to headline the conference with his keynote address Saturday, flagged by other high-profile speakers like Joseph Stanislaw, the founder of Cambridge Energy Research Associates and Susan Tierney, a managing principal of the consulting firm Analysis Group.

Other speakers include members of the U.S. Military and individuals from several energy initiatives around the world, according to conference chair Geoffrey Finger, a second-year master’s student at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. 

Finger added that he hopes that the event will appeal to more undergraduates this year.

“We gather all the Tufts resources together to put this conference together in the hopes of educating the Tufts community as an educational resource and to understand some pressing issues,” Finger said.

Conference co-director of marketing Katie Ferrari, a second-year master’s student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, said she hopes the conference will foster discussion about the geopolitics of global energy use, an issue she said is especially pertinent.

“The general goal is to convene people around energy issues
to have people come from different backgrounds, sectors
 and to promote rich discussion around energy issues,” she said. “The focus is on the geopolitics of global energy. It’s a timely thing to be talking about.”

Students from the Fletcher School and other Tufts graduate and undergraduate programs have worked to organize the conference since June, according to Co-Director of Content Emily Lewis.

“[It’s] multidisciplinary,” Lewis, a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, said.  

She added that the organizing team received advice regarding prospective panels during the organization process from various individuals around campus, including last year’s conference chair as well as professors from the School of Engineering. 

  “We started with ten panels and narrowed it down,” Lewis said. 

Throughout the panels and speeches, attendees will hear perspectives on energy-related questions like the role of the Department of Defense in promoting biofuels and climate change around the world as well as energy efficiency in China, Finger added. 

“I think that Tufts
in its diverse educational initiative
lends itself to the most challenging questions in the global context,” he said. “[Tufts] brings together thinkers from a variety of disciplines to talk about the international community.”

Choosing the conference’s headliners and panelists was a campus-wide effort, Finger said.

“Students from the [School of Engineering], [The Fletcher School] and more
 came together to start throwing ideas around for potential panels and ask, ‘What is a hot topic? What should be discussed?’” Finger said.  

The conference will conclude Sunday following the third Tufts Energy Competition, for which students form groups and propose innovative energy ideas, Finger said. Students have already submitted their proposals, and the conference is moving forward with four semi-finalists. The winner receives a $3,000 reward. 

“We have some exciting proposals in the works,” Finger said. 

Three hundred people are expected to attend the conference, including industry professionals and local graduate and undergraduate students, he added.  

The conference’s organizing team is trying to expand its outreach to other schools and the broader community of Somerville, according to Lewis.   

“I think the fact that Bill Richardson is coming
draws the Tufts community to come,” Ferrari said. “[We’re] also targeting the academic community in broader New England because it’s a unique event.”

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