CRISTINA PEDLER WRITES – At the annual gala dinner of the Pacific Century Institute (PCI) at the Beverly Hills Hotel, on Thursday night February 24, Loyola Marymount University was honored with PCI’s 2022 Institutional Building Bridges Award. The prestigious honor – previous recipients include the Council on Foreign Relations, the Asia Foundation, RAND, the Korea Society and other top policy and research institutions – seeks to spotlight exceptional efforts of American institutions to enhance cross-Pacific relations through educational, research or political/diplomatic bridge-building.
Accepting the prestigious award on behalf of university’s faculty, students and administration was President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.
The Institutional Bridge Building honor went to LMU by virtue of an intensified commitment to international education and global cosmopolitanism. This modern, historically Jesuit university today supports with pride multiple trans-Pacific or international institutions, including Asia Media International, the Global Policy Institute and the LMU Center for International Business. While global consciousness in education has always been part of the fabric and spirit of the Jesuit approach to university pedagogy, the PCI award in effect recognized the further drive and commitment to immersive internationalism of President Snyder and his top team, including LMU Provost Thomas Poon, Ph.D; BCLA College Dean Robbin Crabtree, Ph.D.; Asia and Asian-American Studies Dept. Chair Edward Park; and others.
The evening’s master of ceremonies, as always, was PCI President Raymond Burghardt – former U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, acknowledged China-Taiwan expert, and award-winning Foreign Service careerist. Welcoming remarks came from PCI Chair Kathleen Stephens, also a former U.S. Foreign Service career officer, ambassador to the Republic of Korea (South Korea), and president and CEO of the Korea Economic Institute of America. Dinner participants included many VIPS, such as Rafiq Dossani, director of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy, a senior economist at the RAND Corporation, with its international headquarters in Santa Monica.
Prior to the award dinner, President Snyder, Carol Costello (a past CNN anchor, also Mrs. Snyder) and the night’s Individual Building Bridges awardee Glyn Ford, director of Track2Asia and a former distinguished member of the British Labour Party’s International commission who has visited North Korea multiple times, exchanged views with this year’s sharp crop of Los Angeles area high school students in PCI’s famed Project Bridge Program.
PCI is a nonprofit 501(c) organization based in Los Angeles, California. Its co-founder – Spencer Kim – is a successful Los Angeles businessman, entrepreneur and quiet philanthropist; the Institute is governed by a board of directors that includes prominent former diplomats, Asian policy experts, international-politics professors, attorneys, CPAs an atomic scientist and one journalist. At the annual board meeting the morning after the award dinner, PCI staffer Angie Pak was promoted to executive director and the 2022 budget was approved.