A new center will focus on advancing UCF’s work in economic and environmental issues and fostering links for faculty and others in the UCF community to sustainable development efforts at the local, national and global level.

James Bacchus, who joins UCF as Distinguished University Professor of Global Affairs, will lead the center. Based in the Department of Political Science in the College of Sciences, Bacchus will lead an interdisciplinary team of volunteer experts from across the university and Central Florida community who will help identify and target specific opportunities that can be scaled as global sustainability solutions.

“UCF is ready for global take off,” Bacchus said. “I hope to help lift UCF worldwide by helping faculty, students and others in the UCF community engage on global issues. Our new center will, over time, impact the world by helping identify and demonstrate innovative ways to achieve sustainable development.”

To do so, Bacchus says a UCF team of interdisciplinary volunteers will “initiate and link to creative initiatives and networks throughout the world that are committed to growing and governing the global economy in ways that will work both economically and environmentally for everyone.”

“UCF has long valued our commitment to sustainability and having a positive impact on the community and world around us,” said Provost and Executive Vice President Dale Whittaker.

“We look forward to Jim’s expertise and experience leading our efforts to address issues of global importance.”

Bacchus has long worked as a worldwide advocate for addressing economic, environmental and other issues of global governance and concern.

He is a former chief judge on the highest court of world trade, the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization, having served for eight years as the only American founding judge. Bacchus later served on the United Nations’ High Level Advisory Panel to the President of the Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. He has chaired global sustainability efforts for the World Economic Forum and global trade and investment efforts for the International Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the board of directors of the Geneva-based International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development.

Bacchus represented Central Florida and the Space Coast as a U.S. Congressman, sponsoring legislation for the space program and Florida wildlife refuge system, including the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge for endangered sea turtles.

After deciding not to seek reelection to Congress in 1994, he founded the Orlando office of the Greenberg Traurig law firm and, since leaving the trade court, has chaired the global practice of the firm, which is the largest in the United States and one of the largest in the world.

Additionally, he has been an honorary or visiting faculty member at the University of International Business and Economics in China, Vanderbilt University Law School, Rollins College and the Salzburg Global Seminar.

Bacchus retired from Greenberg Traurig to join UCF this month. He holds a law degree from Florida State University, a master’s degree in History from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree in History from Vanderbilt University.