Directors’ Message

Director's Message

August 2017

Greetings from the Center on Global Transformation (CGT) at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS). Now in our 11th year of operation, we are happy to report that CGT continues to be a vibrant forum for intellectual discourse, a hub for reflection and action by leaders from the Pacific region, and a launchpad for new and innovative research activities. We thank all of you for your continued generosity and engagement: our founding supporters Joan and Irwin Jacobs, our dedicated staff and colleagues, and our fastgrowing community of friends, collaborators and Pacific Leadership Fellows (PLFs).

Our PLF program remains the cornerstone of our activities. To date, we are proud to have welcomed 85 distinguished leaders from 21 countries. These fellows represent leading policymakers, executives, journalists and scholars from around the globe who shape strategy and contribute to important public debates in their countries. During their residencies at GPS, PLFs share insights and challenges with us, thereby elevating our discourse to new levels of depth regarding business, economic and political issues.

During the 2016–17 academic year, we welcomed six PLFs from Brazil, China, Italy, Japan, Pakistan and the U.S. They addressed, among other themes, public policy and advances in biomedical research; governance reform in China; Japanese-U.S. diplomatic relations; the independence of Pakistan’s judicial system; the E.U. migration crisis; and the global impact of energy policy in Brazil.

Beyond the PLF program, CGT also grants research awards for new academic initiatives at GPS and across campus, supporting faculty and graduate student research in economics, public policy, international relations and global management. This past year, six grants were awarded, many in partnership with the campuswide Big Pixel Initiative. Projects at the Big Pixel Initiative apply new methods in machine learning to satellite imagery in order to measure urbanization and economic development at a global scale and in close to real time. For example, our scholars are working with the World Bank to map urban land cover in India and Vietnam to help local and national policymakers evaluate the impact of transportation projects on urban development. In other initiatives, CGT in conjunction with GPS’s Japan Forum for Innovation and Technology (JFIT) supports research on venture capital and innovation in Japan, as well as researches poverty alleviation in developing countries through GPS’s Policy Design and Evaluation Lab (PDEL).

Also with the Big Pixel Initiative, CGT has established partnerships with Google Earth Engine and other technology companies to leverage the power of big data to improve the design and evaluation of public policy. As an extension of this, in February we welcomed Nick Clinton, lead developer advocate at Google Earth Engine, for a presentation on new possibilities in geospatial analysis. As well, Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics, connected with the center in an October workshop to discuss research possibilities at UC San Diego using advances in drone technology.

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