Directors’ Message

Director's Message

August 2016

Greetings from the Center on Global Transformation (CGT) at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), where this year we celebrated our 10th anniversary. In 2006, we founded CGT (you may remember it as EmPac) with the vision to create a forum for intellectual discourse, reflection and action by leaders from the Pacific and to support new and innovative research.

We are happy to share with you that we think we accomplished this, thanks to the continuing generosity of our founding supporters Joan and Irwin Jacobs, our dedicated staff, our faculty colleagues at GPS and you—our community friends and supporters, as well as Pacific Leadership Fellows (PLFs), past and future.

Our PLF program remains the cornerstone of CGT’s activities during the academic year. We are proud to have welcomed to date a total of 79 distinguished leaders from 20 different countries, representing industries such as business, government, civil society, the media and academia.

During this past 2015–16 academic year, seven PLFs joined us from Japan, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore and the U.S. They addressed, among other issues, Japanese business strategies under Prime Minister Shinzō Abe’s economic revitalization strategy; Singapore’s emerging role as Asia’s innovation hub in comparison to Silicon Valley; the investment opportunities and risks associated with the lifting of Iranian nuclear sanctions; Indonesia's policy formation and institutional reforms in a global context; lessons learned from NAFTA for negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; the role of Japan’s telecommunications industry in the context of Asian IT industry dynamics; and the role of citizen engagement and transparency in reducing corruption and human rights abuses in Mexico.

Our second core area of activity is to provide funding for new research initiatives at GPS and beyond to support faculty and graduate student research in economics, public policy, international relations and global management. This past year, five grants were awarded for research projects for studies on semi-arid ecosystems and farm-level management; global coral reef monitoring; the environment impacts of global mining activities; and real-time measures of urbanization. All of these studies are associated with our Big Pixel Initiative. Moreover, CGT continues to support the Policy Design and Evaluation Lab at GPS.

We are also proud to have supported the ongoing activities of GPS’s new Japan Forum for Innovation and Technology, which offers a hub to build new collaborations between San Diego and Japan. Meanwhile, the Big Pixel Initiative continues its partnerships with DigitalGlobe and Google Earth Engine to sponsor cutting-edge, innovative research. GPS’s Advanced Spatial Analysis class brings together students from across campus to study and apply the technology. Also worth mentioning is a cross-campus event we hosted on Oct. 22, when we invited Thomas Piketty to discuss with us his best-selling book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” CGT launched this event in cooperation with UC San Diego’s Departments of Economics, Sociology and Political Science, as well as UC San Diego Extension and The Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research.

CGT strives to connect the worlds of academic inquiry and policy analysis. In 2015, the Jacobs made a transformational gift to elevate the scope and impact of our mission. Included in the gift are two endowed CGT chairs, to support faculty at both GPS and UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering, as well as two endowed faculty fellowships to support junior professors in line with CGT’s vision and mission. Stay tuned throughout the upcoming year as we share more about these scholars.

We express our continued appreciation and deep gratitude for the generous support we are receiving from the San Diego community and hope to see you at our many public events this coming year.