Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and USC President C.L Max Nikias announced Wednesday the formation of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy. The institute will be a part of the Sol Price School of Public Policy and focus on policy and social issues in five main areas: energy and the environment, fiscal and economic policy, health and human wellness, education and political reform.
The foremost goal of the institute is to promote bipartisanship in policymaking and civic engagement at all levels of government. A $20 million endowment from Schwarzenegger, including a personal donation as well as fundraising money, will be used to fund the policy program.
“We are delighted to partner with Gov. Schwarzenegger in establishing this vital institute,” Nikias said in a statement. “The University of Southern California is committed to promoting civic engagement both nationally and internationally, and the new Schwarzenegger Institute will advance this mission with the understanding that policy decisions should be evidence-based and best derived through critical analysis and mutual respect for competing well-reasoned positions. This is the only way we can achieve the best possible outcomes for our shared, global future.”
The bipartisan Board of Advisors, which includes leaders in business, politics and education, will be chaired by Schwarzenegger himself. Mr. Schwarzenegger will serve as the inaugural holder of the Governor Downey Professor of State and Global Policy at USC, named for the first immigrant Governor of California and a co-founder of USC.
“One of the great lessons I learned as governor of California was that the best solutions to common problems could only be found when each side was willing to engage thoughtfully and respectfully with each other,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement. “This institute is dedicated to promoting a new era of post-partisanship, where solutions are the result of intelligent and civil discussion between people with deeply held principles who understand the need to work through their disagreements to achieve real solutions.”
The Schwarzenegger Institute will be co-led by Bonnie Reiss, global director, and Nancy Staudt, academic director. Ms. Reiss was a senior advisor to former governor Schwarzenegger from 2003-2007 and served as California Secretary of Education from 2010-2011. She has also founded three national nonprofit organizations and currently serves on the University of California Board of Regents. Dr. Staudt is the inaugural holder of the Edward G. Lewis Chair in Law and Public Policy and holds a joint appointment in the Gould School of Law and the Price School of Public Policy.
The institute’s first public event will be a one-day symposium that will focus on the importance of post-partisanship in modern policymaking. The event will be held on USC’s University Park campus on Sept. 24. Mr. Schwarzenegger’s first lecture is planned for early December.