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LMU, World Policy Institute Join Forces

Los Angeles and New York just got closer with the launch of WPI@LMU.

Bridging two of the nation’s intellectual centers, WPI@LMU is a collaboration of the World Policy Institute, a New York-based think tank, and LMU’s Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts in Los Angeles.

WPI@LMU combines the cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approach to national and international affairs of the World Policy Institute with the academic resources of LMU’s political science faculty.

“This expansion is just the beginning of what we hope will be a long and fruitful partnership between WPI and LMU, one that allows both institutions to expand their influence and create new relationships,” said Joseph A. Cari Jr., chairman of the World Policy Institute board of directors. “Given the university’s prestige, its holistic approach to education, and my longstanding association as chair of LMU’s Institute of Leadership Studies, Loyola Marymount is a natural partner as WPI broadens its domestic and global influence.”

The LMU portion of the project will operate as a “think-tank idea incubator,” said Michael Genovese, president of WPI@LMU,  professor of political science and holder of the Loyola Chair of Leadership Studies at LMU. “We will be applying academic research to answer some of the vexing questions about everything from the Pacific Rim to global climate change, refugee policy, terrorism and economic dislocation.”

The initiative began Feb. 9 with a panel featuring four former U.S. ambassadors discussing the topic: “Can Democracies Develop Sound Foreign Policies? Diplomacy and the 2016 Election.” Ambassador Christopher Robert Hill observed, “Jesuits were into globalization before any of us were.” The discussion, with Ambassadors Alan Blinken, Rockwell Schnabel and Derek Shearer, then covered global trade, the Syrian refugee crisis, regime change in Iraq and other topics. Students were also encouraged to consider foreign service careers.

The collaboration signals a major step forward for LMU into world politics and foreign policy alongside a recognized leader in the field. Founded in 1961, WPI is a longstanding source of research and opinion on global issues and known for its World Policy Journal. The organization’s daily news website has an estimated audience of 1.5 million. Further, the project will open doors for LMU students through fellowships, internships at LMU and the WPI offices in New York, and London-based study abroad programs. Students may take courses at the London School of Economics and Political Science or intern in the British House of Commons. Events hosted at LMU will expose undergraduates to top-level policy analysis and occasions to network with policymakers who operate on a world stage. LMU also will launch an interdisciplinary major in international relations in fall 2016.

Five scholars in the LMU Department of Political Science are developing specific research and policy initiatives as part of WPI@LMU: 

  • Janie Steckenrider is examining a global “gray tsunami” — the impact of aging societies on governments that face growing needs and shrinking resources.
  • Kerstin Fisk is developing datasets to explore conflict and refugee crises.
  • Jennifer Ramos, associate chair of the Department of Political Science who will direct the international relations major, will study cross-community peace-building projects and analyze the effect of emerging technologies on national security.
  • Gene Park will study Japan’s monetary response to an economic downturn and low inflation.
  • Genovese will examine the quality of governance and ways to hold leaders responsible for their actions.

“The university jumped at this opportunity,” said Genovese. “The collaboration is a statement about LMU — about where we are and where we’re going, and about our abilities and ambitions.”