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First 100 Days Memo: U.S.-Mexico Policy

Preface

The Pacific Council on International Policy is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to build the capacity of Los Angeles and California for impact on global issues, discourse, and policy. By connecting local experience to global affairs, we bring attention to the inextricable ties between domestic and foreign policy and contribute to better policy outcomes at the local, state, and national levels. We rely on a community of members — with deep insight and expertise in all manner of U.S. domestic and foreign policy issues — to carry out our work.

The Council focuses on policy issues with particular relevance to California and Los Angeles and brings a West Coast perspective to the national dialogue. Launched in 2016, the Pacific Council’s Mexico Initiative aims to (1) promote stronger ties between Mexico and the United States; (2) build awareness among Angelenos of the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship; and (3) give influential voices in politics, the press, and the business community a more nuanced understanding of Mexico. The program is governed by an advisory committee of experts and interested Council members and citizens.

Under the auspices of the Mexico Initiative, the Pacific Council commissioned the following First 100 Days Memo on U.S.-Mexico Policy for President Biden and his team. While we relied on interviews with various stakeholders — including former cabinet members, undersecretaries, and State Department officials; members of the Biden transition team; premier academics and think tank leaders; and informed citizens — to produce the memo, its content and recommendations are solely those of the author and do not reflect specific policy positions of individual contributors, the institutions with which they are or have been affiliated, or the Pacific Council as a whole.

The recommendations in this document are current as of January 20, 2021. If you would like to read this memo in Spanish, please click here.

Executive Summary

The transition from the Trump administration to a Biden presidency will present both challenges and opportunities for the U.S.-Mexico relationship. Despite early challenges, the Biden administration has an invaluable opportunity to transform this relationship for years to come. In addition to traditional foreign policy considerations such as security and trade, other challenges — such as the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration, climate change, and natural disasters — offer opportunities for collaboration in a range of fields including public health, infrastructure, law enforcement, and human rights.

Migration flows indicate that the United States and Mexico are more interdependent than ever before, which bodes well for renewed partnership. Mexicans account for nearly 24 percent of immigrants living in the United States, at nearly 11 million overall. An additional 11 million undocumented migrants live and work in the United States, about 5 million of whom are believed to be of Mexican origin. Of those 5 million, more than 80 percent have lived in the United States for 10 years or more.

Conversely, Mexico is the number one destination for Americans emigrating abroad, with some researchers calculating that this flow may now exceed the historical south-to-north flow. This two-way movement, combined with the depth and breadth of common issues faced by both nations, make it clear that for the United States, there is no relationship more important and strategic than that with Mexico.

Through careful messaging, consistent focus on the relationship, and early symbolic and substantive actions, President Biden has the opportunity to strengthen the U.S. relationship with Mexico. The Pacific Council on International Policy’s Mexico Advisory Committee has commissioned a report focusing on actions recommended by Mexico policy experts and informed citizens that President Biden and his team can take to improve the relationship with Mexico during the first 100 days of his administration.

Recommendations fall under four broad themes:

  1. Re-emphasize Washington’s view of Mexico as a key strategic partner. Take steps early to send an unmistakable signal to Mexico about its value and importance to the United States. These can include convening reciprocal visits by heads of state, assigning key Cabinet officials to move the relationship in a positive direction, launching a high-level bilateral forum for collaboration in key areas of common interest, and developing a joint response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Strengthen the North American region. Under the banner of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), engage Mexico in actions designed to resolve problems and facilitate regional collaboration while sending a strong signal to our trade competitors. Issue a powerful statement embracing robust relations with Mexico and Canada that strengthen our ability to compete globally and address China’s expanding regional profile, host a North America Summit as soon as it is safe and practical to do so, leverage the USMCA to address difficulties in the relationship and promote further cooperation between the United States and Mexico, and create a bipartisan panel to set common regulatory frameworks and integrate markets within the USMCA infrastructure.
  3. Strengthen cooperation with Mexico to help advance immigration priorities. Work with Mexico on a counter-pandemic border strategy, development programs for Central America (to stem the flow of migrants moving north), and contingency plans for a potential post-COVID-19 immigration surge. Regularize the status of members of protected groups and people who have lived in the United States for extended periods of time.
  4. Partner with Mexico on issues beyond security and trade. Make educational and cultural exchanges key components of the bilateral relationship, and support subnational efforts, for example those led by local governments and nonprofits, to improve the relationship.

Introduction

President Biden’s commitment to ending many of former President Trump’s most egregious restrictions on immigration, increasing oversight of enforcement agencies, returning to multilateralism, and more proactively addressing climate change and global public health will create new opportunities for cooperation between the United States and Mexico in the weeks and months ahead. However, challenges in the U.S.-Mexico relationship are real and serious, with an unpredictable counterpart in President Andres Manuel López Obrador; a growing fault in the U.S.-Mexico security relationship over the arrest, repatriation, and ultimate acquittal of Mexican General and former Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos; and mounting pressure from some quarters in the U.S. government to get tough on Mexico regarding energy investments and labor protections.

Successfully exploiting opportunities to collaborate will require patience, nuance, and a holistic approach to the relationship. Early symbolic gestures, strategically selecting and engaging with key stakeholders in both countries, and emphasizing an ongoing commitment to policy outcomes that benefit both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border will prepare President Biden and his team for success.

By most accounts, President López Obrador is an idiosyncratic counterpart in the U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship. A staunch nationalist, he is a persistent, tenacious, and effective Mexican politician who developed a largely positive relationship with the Trump administration. During his time in office, he has demonstrated openness to working with the United States on select issues, such as trade and immigration, while maintaining a nationalist, Mexico-first posture on others — most notably energy. López Obrador’s willingness to cooperate with Trump on immigration and trade surprised many, given Trump’s unpopular policies, hostile rhetoric towards Mexico and Mexicans, and tariff threats, combined with what one expert interviewed for this report characterized as the Mexican leader’s overall strategy to “remain as invisible as possible outside Mexico.”

Given López Obrador’s largely domestic focus and his relationship with then-President Trump, his lukewarm and much delayed acknowledgment of Biden’s electoral victory was not out of character. The December 2020 call between President-elect Biden and President López Obrador to discuss a regional partnership and new approaches to migration is a noteworthy development, but without careful navigation by the Biden administration, positive progress could end there.

President Andres Manuel López Obrador
President Andres Manuel López Obrador

Biden’s initial interactions with Mexico as president-elect were colored by the October 2020 arrest in Los Angeles of Mexican General Salvador Cienfuegos on charges related to drug-trafficking and corruption, which caused outrage among top officials in Mexico and which López Obrador deemed a violation of Mexican sovereignty.[1] In the months since Cienfuegos’s arrest and repatriation to Mexico, the López Obrador administration has shown less openness to cooperating with the United States. In December 2020, the Mexican Congress passed a law limiting Mexican officials’ ability to cooperate with U.S. law enforcement and intelligence operatives in Mexico, a move that is likely to significantly obstruct U.S.-Mexico security cooperation going forward. Also in December, López Obrador replaced respected diplomat Martha Bárcena as Mexican ambassador to the United States with Esteban Moctezuma, an economist and former Secretary of Social Development and Secretary of the Interior of Mexico. The Cienfuegos fallout prompted a new low in the U.S.-Mexico security relationship when, in January 2021, days before the Biden administration took office, all charges against the general were dropped in Mexico.[2] Finally, in early January 2021, López Obrador signaled interest in granting asylum in Mexico to Julian Assange after the Trump administration’s appeal to extradite the WikiLeaks founder from the U.K. was denied in court.

On the commercial side of the relationship, also in October 2020, a bipartisan group of U.S. Congress members sent a letter to President Trump protesting what they considered unfair treatment of U.S. energy companies operating in Mexico, claiming that Mexico is in violation of provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). President López Obrador’s administration dismissed the claims outright; in fact, he said he would attempt to revise the Mexican Constitution to re-enforce Mexico’s primary reliance on state-owned energy companies and its sovereignty over their actions and regulations.[3] At the same time, congressional Democrats and the U.S. labor movement contend that Mexico is not meeting labor standards, and advocate swiftly bringing enforcement actions against Mexico under the labor chapter of the USMCA. President Biden and his team will be challenged to respond to domestic pressures while balancing the multifaceted issues on which the U.S. must continue to productively work with Mexico, including a pressing need to maintain a positive relationship as part of an overall North American response to a rising China.

Given these challenges, rehabilitating the U.S.-Mexico security relationship and maintaining positive momentum on trade, immigration, and other key issues will hinge on Biden’s ability to move past early infractions and prevent future issues by developing a baseline president-to-president relationship and engaging with the right stakeholders within López Obrador’s administration. While Esteban Moctezuma’s ambassadorship was, at time of writing, still pending approval by the Mexican Senate and the U.S. government, his experience in issues related to the Mexican interior could provide useful insight. Additionally, Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard, an energetic advocate for Mexican global interests, will remain a key player. One of Ebrard’s most notable diplomatic achievements was to negotiate the return to Mexico of General Salvador Cienfuegos; he will likely oversee the Assange asylum case, should it move forward. Given López Obrador’s unpredictable nature and lack of interest in global engagement, communication at the diplomatic, cabinet, and nongovernmental levels will be key to ensuring a strong relationship.

Despite early challenges — and regardless of who is in office in the United States or Mexico — it remains in the best interest of Washington to strengthen this relationship for one fundamental reason: Americans and Mexicans are more interdependent now than ever before. Despite the Trump administration’s efforts to curtail immigration, close to 11 million undocumented migrants continue to live and work in the United States, 5 million of whom are believed to be of Mexican origin. Of those 5 million, more than 80 percent have lived in the United States for 10 years or more.[4] While Mexico is no longer the top country of origin for immigrants to the United States, Mexicans account for nearly 24 percent of migrants living in the United States, at nearly 11 million overall.[5] On the other hand, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City estimates that more than 1.5 million U.S. citizens live in Mexico, making it the main destination for U.S. emigration.[6] U.S. citizens — including “digital native” telecommuters, students, retirees, and nearly 600,000 children who have returned with their Mexican-born parents — make up an estimated 75 percent of immigrants to Mexico.[7] Some researchers calculate that the flow of migrants from the United States into Mexico may now be higher than the south-to-north flow.[8] As people, goods, and services move across the border, and the pandemic, crime, and natural disasters affect communities on both sides, distinctions between domestic and international issues will continue to blur.

The Biden administration’s commitment to promoting global engagement undergirds the recommendations that follow. The Pacific Council on International Policy, as well as leaders in Los Angeles and California, strongly agree that pursuing policy solutions that benefit not only Americans but also Mexico and Mexicans, who confront many of the same issues that challenge Americans, is in the best interest of the United States precisely because these are issues where no barrier can protect either country. This relationship should be premised on building bridges, not walls. We encourage the Biden administration to demonstrate its commitment to these values by embracing the following recommendations in the early days of its time in office.

Recommendations

The following actions can strengthen the U.S.-Mexico relationship during the first 100 days of the Biden administration.

1)    RE-EMPHASIZE WASHINGTON’S VIEW OF MEXICO AS A KEY STRATEGIC PARTNER

1.1: Make Mexico the destination of the first presidential visit of the new administration.

A presidential visit is a significant symbolic act with unique visibility that reflects U.S. priorities and projects the importance of a binational relationship at the highest levels. A presidential visit could balance a symbolic reset with a clearly defined agenda for the relationship and a strong message that the United States expects Mexico to act as a good-faith partner. During this visit, President Biden should acknowledge President López Obrador’s commitment to Mexico’s self-determination while also addressing contentious issues in the relationship by (1) encouraging a middle-ground resolution on the Cienfuegos issue; (2) seeking a roll-back of the new Mexican security law limiting Mexican law enforcement officials’ cooperation with U.S. agents in Mexico; (3) reminding him of the USMCA’s labor and environmental provisions, and (4) inviting Mexico to collaborate with the United States on COVID, development in Central America, and other pressing issues.

1.2: Issue a bold and forward-looking statement acknowledging the unique and inextricable ties between the United States and Mexico and emphasizing the role of Mexico as a strategic partner in North America.

Getting it right with Mexico as part of an overall North American response to China’s increasing influence in the region is critical to U.S. national interests. Following four years of divisive rhetoric about Mexico and Mexicans from the Trump administration, pressing the “reset” button on domestic political discourse about Mexico and reframing the relationship as one of strategic partnership will underpin any future successes on trade, security, immigration, and other issues. A full embrace of Mexico as a partner and key ally to the United States, laid out in an early statement from the Biden administration, will set the tone for the relationship for the next four years.

1.3: Emphasize to key officials the unique importance of U.S.-Mexico relations.

Reinforce the partnership “reset” by having incoming Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, the soon to be appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and the U.S. ambassador to Mexico all emphasize to their teams in the strongest possible terms that the relationship with Mexico is to be seen and promoted as uniquely important.

1.4: Establish a high-level bilateral forum to facilitate continuous communication and collaboration across different components of the relationship.

While Mexico is rarely a top priority for a U.S. president given the competing demands on the international policy docket, the day-to-day relationship with Mexico can and should be given a high priority at the federal agency level. The White House must signal the importance of this relationship by organizing an inter-agency task force to work with counterparts in Mexico.

While President López Obrador is preoccupied with domestic policy, making it a challenge to promote collaboration on public health, climate change, labor, and renewable energies at his level, several of his cabinet members are actively involved in the bilateral relationship. Working directly with Mexican officials, including Secretary of Foreign Affairs Ebrard and incoming Mexican Ambassador Moctezuma, among others, would be an effective way to seek common ground on these and other issues.

A new bilateral forum focusing on topics beyond security and the economy can be a powerful incentive for cooperation and can provide an opportunity to re-envision a multifaceted bilateral relationship.

1.5: Formally invite Mexico to collaborate on the COVID-19 response.

The flow of people across the U.S.-Mexico border requires bilateral cooperation to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for future public health crises. With public health a key priority for the Biden administration, a counter-pandemic border strategy, including a comprehensive approach to screening, robust contact tracing and data sharing, and broad regulatory alignment,[9] implemented in collaboration with counterparts in Mexico, will help stop the spread in both countries. The López Obrador administration is unlikely to obstruct a coordinated bilateral response on an issue as pressing and deadly as the COVID-19 pandemic.

2)    STRENGTHEN THE NORTH AMERICAN REGION  

2.1: Issue a powerful statement embracing robust relations with Mexico and Canada that strengthen our ability to compete globally and address China’s expanding regional profile.

Out of necessity, the Biden administration will be preoccupied with China. Competing in the commercial arena with China will be a challenging task that the United States cannot and should not take on alone. North America is central to U.S. competitiveness, and Mexico can and should play a key role in bringing manufacturing back from China to North America. An early trade address that embraces North America and doubles down on Washington’s commitment to the USMCA will send a strong global message as well to both trade adversaries and to our allies in Mexico and Canada.

2.2: Invite President López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Washington for a North America Summit as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.

In July 2020, Prime Minister Trudeau opted out of a trilateral summit to celebrate the implementation of the USMCA, citing concerns about COVID-19 and about potential U.S. aluminum tariffs. Given the positive relationship between the Obama-Biden administration and Prime Minister Trudeau, reinvestment by the new Biden administration in the trilateral relationship will be well received on the Canadian side, creating additional incentive for the López Obrador administration to embrace the North American concept. The symbolism of the invitation will reinforce commitments to partnership, cooperation, and a common North American identity.

2.3: Leverage the USMCA to address difficulties in the relationship and promote further cooperation between the United States and Mexico.

The USMCA makes an already rich and dynamic trade relationship between the United States and Mexico even more efficient. Still, more can be done to unleash the potential of the North American region. While efforts to transform the USMCA into a more comprehensive agreement could end up draining energy and distracting from more practical ways to achieve other goals, the Biden administration should focus on supplemental frameworks that address challenges in the relationship and allow the United States and Mexico to achieve even greater mutual benefit using the trade agreement as a springboard.

To a substantial portion of the American public, the effects and consequences of globalization and the USMCA are intertwined. Mexico is perceived by some — including U.S. Congress members in both parties[10] — as abusing the partnership on the interconnected issues of labor, the environment, and energy. President Biden should challenge Mexico to show itself as a trustworthy partner with a shared interest in the prosperity of North America that will honor its commitments to the USMCA.

To reinforce the clean-energy focus of the Biden administration’s proposed Latin America policy, the Biden team should offer a combination of renewable energy incentives, a cooperation framework, technical support, trade benefits, and other options to encourage collaboration.

2.4: Create a bipartisan panel to set common regulatory frameworks and integrate markets within the USMCA infrastructure.

While the USMCA provides a framework for trade between the U.S. and Mexico, the trade relationship would benefit from a bilateral effort to smooth bureaucratic challenges, align national regulations (including definitions of essential industries), and minimize inefficiencies.[11] Shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic have demonstrated that stakeholders in both countries need better tools to work with their counterparts. The Biden administration should explore regulatory collaboration in a variety of areas, including criminal law, educational certification, financial markets, and energy.

3)    STRENGTHEN COOPERATION WITH MEXICO TO HELP ADVANCE IMMIGRATION PRIORITIES

3.1: Prioritize status regularization of protected groups and people who have lived in the United States for an extended time.

While a path to U.S. citizenship exists and there is baseline consensus on process, access to that path has been restricted, at least in part, by the Trump administration’s policies. The Biden administration can give new energy to immigration policy dialogue in the United States and signal commitment to treating Mexico and Mexicans fairly and humanely by taking urgent executive action to provide full protection to beneficiaries of DACA, DAPA, TPS, and DED,[12] as well as asylum seekers and people who have lived in the United States for extended periods of time, and to eventually place them on a path to regularization.

3.2: Collaborate with Mexico on development programs for Central America.

Mexico is transitioning from a country of immigrant origin to one of transit and destination, attracting mainly Caribbean, Central American, and South American migrants. To address the root causes of immigration to both nations, the United States must work with Mexico on a development strategy for Central America that emphasizes regional growth, stability, and security. Mexico’s status as the second largest investor in Central America will be helpful in promoting a regionally led approach to this issue.

The year 2021 offers an opportunity to rethink an approach to Central America, given the expiration of the Plan for Prosperity in 2019, the end of the Central America Regional Security Initiative in 2017, and the call in 2019 from the U.S. Government Accountability Office to develop a comprehensive plan to assess progress toward prosperity, governance, and security in Central America.

U.S.-Mexico border
U.S.-Mexico border

3.3: Work with Mexico to develop a contingency plan for a possible increase in immigration after COVID-19.

In 2020, the flow of migrants transiting through Mexico slowed, in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but experts forecast that it will increase as early as spring 2021 regardless of the status of COVID-19. Drier weather, poor economic and security conditions in Central America (recently exacerbated by a series of natural disasters), and limited economic opportunities in Mexico will drive more migrants to Mexico and the United States. Joint contingency planning should include counter-pandemic border measures and short- and long-term initiatives to stem the flow of migrants.

4)    PARTNER WITH MEXICO ON ISSUES BEYOND SECURITY AND TRADE

4.1: Make educational and cultural exchanges a key component of the bilateral relationship.

Exchanges and other public diplomacy tools allow Americans and Mexicans to better understand the richness and complexity of each other’s cultures. Investing in long-term exchanges will build ties over generations, facilitating interaction between the peoples of two neighboring countries who share deep cultural, linguistic, and often familial ties in addition to the common domestic and foreign policy priorities outlined above.

The number of American and Mexican students participating in exchanges is low relative to the importance of the bilateral relationship. Student visas to the United States are currently awarded predominantly to citizens of China and India. Mexico is 10th on the list, with about 15,000 students per year, a trend that has been decreasing since 2016.[13] Mexico receives fewer than 6,000 U.S. students per year.[14]

Existing programs — like 100,000 Strong in the Americas and the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research — provide solid foundations for the Biden administration to build on, but educational and cultural exchanges need a place on the agenda that reflects the importance of the bilateral U.S.-Mexico relationship.

4.2: Embrace subnational efforts to improve the U.S.-Mexico relationship.

The Biden administration should work in partnership with mayors, governors, nonprofits, and citizens to amplify the effects of its policies on Mexico. The last four years have taught us that local governments and American civil society can serve as a bridge to allies abroad when U.S. foreign policy falls short. When Washington embraces global engagement, those same actors can complement its efforts by informing policy based on their experience and expertise and by helping to carry out policy where they already have relationships and projects in place.

California, Los Angeles, and the Pacific Council are among the subnational actors whose work can both inform and amplify the Biden administration’s goals in Mexico. In 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom took his first international trip as governor of California to El Salvador to explore the root causes of immigration and serve as a symbolic counter to then-President Trump’s immigration policies. In the same year, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, a Spanish speaker, inaugurated the Mexico-Los Angeles Commission[15] — a binational effort to enhance collaboration on issues including trade, sports, renewable energy, science, art, culture, and tourism — in partnership with Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard.[16] The Pacific Council and its Mexican counterpart, COMEXI (the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations), serve as hosts for the effort, with Dr. Cynthia Telles, a prominent Angeleno and Latinx leader serving as chair of the Commission on the U.S. side.[17]

Conclusion

President Joe Biden has the opportunity to build a relationship with Mexico that draws on historical strengths, broadens mutual interests, transforms challenges into opportunities, and creates new avenues for collaboration to the benefit of the peoples of both nations. In the first 100 days, his administration can lay the groundwork for what is to come in the next four years and perhaps beyond. Navigating early diplomatic and security challenges, pressure from the U.S. Congress, and challenging issues such as energy, the environment, and labor will require consistency, nuance, good timing, and a perpetually level head — all qualities that President Biden has demonstrated over decades of public service.

When two countries share a border, many of the issues they face blur the distinction between international and domestic. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated dramatically that, regardless of our approach to immigration, trade, and security, our challenges do not always recognize borders. As such, we would do well to work together on solutions. With the right set of actors in place — those who are deeply committed to improving our relationship with Mexico — President Biden and his team can ensure that improved ties with this valued neighbor will become a key legacy of their administration.

Endnotes

[1] Felbab-Brown, 2020.

[2] Kitroeff, Feuer, and Lopez, 2021.

[3] Monarch Global Strategies, 2020.

[4] González-Barrera and Krogstad, 2019.

[5] Israel and Batalova, 2020.

[6] Fry, 2019.

[7] Sheridan, 2019.

[8] Mark, 2019.

[9] Bonner and Horton, 2020.

[10] Monarch Global Strategies, 2020.

[11] Monarch Global Strategies, 2020.

[12] Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, Temporary Protected Status, and Deferred Enforced Departure.

[13] “All places of origin,” 2020.

[14] “All destinations,” 2020.

[15] See the addendum for a full list of participants.

[16] “Mexico Foreign Minister Ebrard and LA Mayor Garcetti Announce Mexico-LA Commission,” 2019.

[17] “Announcing MEXLA, A New Effort to Deepen LA-Mexico Ties,” 2019.

References

All Destinations: U.S. Study Abroad Data from the 2020 Open Doors Report (November 16, 2020). Retrieved from https://opendoorsdata.org/data/us-study-abroad/all-destinations/

All Places of Origin: International Student Data from the 2020 Open Doors Report (November 16, 2020). Retrieved from https://opendoorsdata.org/data/international-students/all-places-of-origin/

Announcing MEXLA, a New Effort to Deepen LA-Mexico Ties (Pacific Council, March 15, 2019). Retrieved from https://www.pacificcouncil.org/newsroom/announcing-mexla-new-effort-deepen-la-mexico-ties

Bonner, R. and Horton, G. (Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, September 28, 2020). Lessons Learned: Why the United States Needs a Counter-Pandemic Border Strategy. Retrieved from https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/lessons-learned-why-united-states-needs-counter-pandemic-border-strategy

Felbab-Brown, V. (Brookings Institution, November 23, 2020). Cienfuegos and the U.S.-Mexico Firestorm. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/11/23/cienfuegos-and-the-us-mexico-firestorm/

Fry, W. (San Diego Union-Tribune, June 17, 2019). Americans Make Up Mexico’s Largest Demographic of Immigrants. Retrieved from https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/border-baja-california/story/2019-06-15/americans-make-up-mexicos-largest-demographic-of-immigrants

González-Barrera, A., and Krogstad, J. M. (Pew Research Center, June 28, 2019). What We Know about Illegal Immigration from Mexico. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/06/28/what-we-know-about-illegal-immigration-from-mexico/

Israel, E. and Batalova, J. (Migration Policy Institute, November 5, 2020). Mexican Immigrants in the United States. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/mexican-immigrants-united-states-2019

Kitroeff, N., Feuer, A., and Lopez, O. (The New York Times, January 15, 2021). In Blow to U.S. Alliance, Mexico Clears General Accused of Drug Trafficking. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/15/world/americas/mexico-general-drug-charges.html

Mark, M. (Business Insider, 2019). More People Are Moving from the US to Mexico than the Other Way Around. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/number-of-people-moving-from-us-to-mexico-2019-5

Mexico Foreign Minister Ebrard and LA Mayor Garcetti Announce Mexico-LA Commission. (News release, City of Los Angeles, March 6, 2019). Retrieved from https://www.lamayor.org/mexico-foreign-minister-ebrard-and-la-mayor-garcetti-announce-mexico-la-commission

Monarch Global Strategies (2020). Monarch News — December 21, 2020. Retrieved from https://monarch-global.com/2020/12/21/monarch-news-december-21-2020/

Sheridan, M.J. (Washington Post, May 18, 2019). The Little-Noticed Surge across the U.S.-Mexico Border: It’s Americans, Heading South. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/the-little-noticed-surge-across-the-us-mexico-border-its-americans-heading-south/2019/05/18/7988421e-6c28-11e9-bbe7-1c798fb80536_story.html

Addendum

The Mexico-Los Angeles Commission is a partnership between the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, the Foreign Ministry of Mexico, the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations, and the Pacific Council on International Policy. Its mission is to enrich the cultural, economic, and social ties between Mexico and Los Angeles through cross-border collaborations among leaders in key sectors. The Commission was designed to facilitate collaboration between a foreign national government and a U.S. city government based on the expertise Angelenos have in local-to-global issues such as trade, sports, renewable energy, science, arts, food, culture, and tourism.

Chair

Dr. Cynthia Telles, Director, Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, and Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles

Los Angeles-based members

Ms. Beatriz Acevedo: Founder, Mitú, and President, Acevedo Foundation

Ms. Elise Buik, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Los Angeles

The Honorable Michael Camuñez, President and CEO, Monarch Global Strategies LLC

Mr. Kevin Demoff, Executive Vice President of Football Operations and Chief Operating Officer, LA Rams

Ms. Susan Feniger, Chef, Cookbook Author, and TV Personality

Mr. Tom Gilmore, Chairman, Sister Cities of Los Angeles, and CEO, Gilmore Associates

Mr. Michael Govan, CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Dr. Jerrold Green, President and CEO, Pacific Council on International Policy

Ambassador Nina Hachigian, Deputy Mayor for International Affairs, City of Los Angeles

Ms. Christy Haubegger, Agent and Head of Multicultural Business Development, Creative Artists Agency

Dr. Lucy Jones, President, Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society

Ms. Nonny de la Peña, CEO, Emblematic Group

Mr. Castulo de la Rocha, President and CEO, AltaMed

Mrs. Maria S. Salinas, President and CEO, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce

Mr. Daniel Weiss, Managing Partner and Founder, Angeleno Group

Mr. Ernest Wooden, Jr., President and CEO, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board

Mexico-based members

Dr. Luis Aguirre, Director General de Green Momentum

Sr. Carlos Álvarez del Castillo, Propietario de El Informador

Sr. Gabriel Brener, Director General de Brener International Group

Sra. Patricia Dorenbaum, Co-fundador de Vapasi Consultores

Sr. Epigmenio Ibarra, Fundador de Argos Comunicación

Sra. Beatriz Leycegui, Subsecretaria de Comercio Exterior en la Secretaría de Economía (2006-11), Gobierno Federal de Mexico

Sr. Manuel Martínez, Investigador en el Instituto de Energías Renovables

Sr. Giancarlo Mulinelli, Vicepresidente Senior de Ventas en Aeroméxico

Sr. Abraham Muñoz Barbosa, CEO, Educación para Compartir

Sr. Mauricio Oberfeld, Fundador de Dugally Oberfeld, Inc.

Sr. Mario Orozco, Director de Ventas en Azteca Milling, L.P.

Sr. Raúl Padilla, Presidente de la Feria Internacional del Libro y del Festival de Cine de Guadalajara

Sr. Olegario Vázquez Raña, Director y presidente de Grupo Empresarial Ángeles

Sr. Juan Manuel Santillán Castellanos, Director de Value Grupo Financiero

Credits

Report Author

Mr. Ricardo César Corona, Mexico Initiative Fellow, Pacific Council on International Policy

Leadership, Pacific Council on International Policy

Dr. Jerrold D. Green, President and CEO

Ms. Nastasha Everheart (Project Director), Director of Strategy

Mexico Advisory Committee

The Honorable Michael C. Camuñez (Chair), President and CEO, Monarch Global Strategies LLC, and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance

Dr. Richard D. Downie, Managing Director, Delphi Strategic Consulting, and former Director, Department of Defense, Perry Center

Mr. Jeff Garcia, Investment Analyst, The Capital Group Companies

Ambassador Nina Hachigian, Deputy Mayor of International Affairs, City of Los Angeles, and former U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN

Ms. Sandra Holden, Founder, Media 360

Ambassador Marcela Celorio Mancera, Consul General of Mexico in Los Angeles

Dr. Javier Martínez, President, Association of Mexican Entrepreneurs in Los Angeles

Mr. Patrick C. Schaefer, Chief Legal Officer for Supply Chain, Capital Partners; and former Senior Vice President, Center for Global Trade and Foreign Investment, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Andrew Selee, President, Migration Policy Institute, and former Director, Mexico Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Dr. Cynthia A. Telles, Director, Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles

Ms. Dulce Vasquez, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Office of the President, Arizona State University

Ms. Mary Ann Walker (Vice Chair), Managing Partner, Walker Harding LLP, and Board of Advisors, Latin America Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Acknowledgments

The First 100 Days Memo on U.S.-Mexico Relations was informed by a group of experts and interested citizens whose experience with Mexico spans decades, presidential administrations, and multiple fields of work and study.

The Pacific Council would like to thank the following individuals for providing their insights in one-to-one interviews: Ms. Kimberly Breier, former Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Dr. Abraham F. Lowenthal, President emeritus, Pacific Council on International Policy, and Founding Director, Latin American Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Inter-American Dialogue; and Ashley Tabaddor, President, National Association of Immigration Judges.

We also acknowledge the following individuals, who participated in group meetings in October and November 2020:

Dr. Robert Banks, Clinical Associate Professor of Communication, Center on Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California, and former Planning and Coordination Officer, Office of Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs

Mr. Gray Beverley, Managing Director, Dittoemes & Company

The Honorable Robert C. Bonner, former Commissioner, U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, former Administrator, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, former U.S. District Judge, and former U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California

Dr. Richard D. Downie, Managing Director, Delphi Strategic Consulting, and former Director, Department of Defense, Perry Center

Mr. William McIlhenny, Senior Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States; former Director for North America at the NSC, and former Member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff

Mr. Patrick C. Schaefer, former Senior Vice President, Center for Global Trade and Foreign Investment, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Andrew Selee, President, Migration Policy Institute, and former Director, Mexico Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Dr. Pamela K. Starr, Associate Professor of International Relations, University of Southern California, and Senior Adviser, Monarch Global Strategies

Mr. Seth Stodder, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP, and former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Border, Immigration, and Trade Policy

Mr. Salvador Villar, President, Mercado Plus

Finally, we would like to thank the leaders of the Mexico Advisory Committee, The Honorable Michael C. Camuñez (Chair) and Ms. Mary Ann Walker (Vice Chair) for commissioning this report and sharing their expertise in interviews and group meetings; The David and Lucille Packard Foundation for funding the Pacific Council’s efforts to improve U.S.-Mexico relations; Pacific Council program staff (Ashley McKenzie and Moriah Nacionales-Tafoya) for coordinating and overseeing the work; and Pacific Council communications staff (Justin Chapman and Marissa Moran Gantman) for ensuring a quality final product.

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The Pacific Council’s 2020 Digital Annual Report 

Welcome

Welcome to the Pacific Council on International Policy’s 25th anniversary edition annual report. Due to changes we have made to our operations—and the broader global changes happening around us—this report covers all of 2019 and the first half of 2020.* Instead of publishing a printed report as we have in years past, we hope you will enjoy traveling through this digital report that includes video messages, photos, written narratives, and graphics that tell the Council’s story from the last 18 months.

Thanks to you and your gifts to the Pacific Council, we have been able to achieve a great deal, even in the midst of a pandemic. At the beginning of 2020, we put in place a new five-year strategic plan  with an evolved vision and mission for the Council. Your support allows us to advance our work to educate Angelenos on international issues, expand our audience, and forge new partnerships for better policy outcomes. You will find that new strategy reflected in the pages of this report.

As part of this welcome, we share with you the following video which features renowned voices reflecting on the value of the Pacific Council over the years. We are honored to work with leaders from around the country and the world, and from both sides of the political aisle. Hear what these global leaders, from Kamala Harris to Condoleezza Rice, have to say about the Pacific Council:

Global leaders including Kamala Harris, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain comment on the role of the Pacific Council in foreign affairs.

*This year, we changed our fiscal year from the calendar year (January-December) to the more traditional fiscal year of July-June. This report covers a short FY19 (January-June 2019) and FY20 (July 2019-June 2020).

From the CEO

A Video Message from President and CEO Jerrold D. Green

Read the transcript of Dr. Green’s remarks here.

Thought Leadership

Local-to-Global

Downtown Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles

The pandemic has highlighted how globally interconnected we are. An invisible virus is able to travel around the world in a matter of days; the economy of a city in the southern hemisphere is severely impacted by closures in the north. Almost at once in the middle of March, our local actions had global ramifications, a concept we are referring to as “local-to-global” at the Council.

But local-to-global does not only refer to massive disruptions like a pandemic. It is also a lens through which to unpack issues like systemic racism, climate change, the role of technology in culture, and more. We believe that a global city like Los Angeles can offer experiences and lessons for the rest of the world. And likewise, LA can learn from elsewhere.

The Council helps people who live and work in their local communities understand how their movements, choices, and especially their local policies can have global impact. We also show international leaders and decision makers how global policies affect small communities every day. The Pacific Council is leading the local-to-global discussion and mindset, guiding members and the broader community in recognizing where local actions have global impact and where global actions have local impact.

Where can you learn more about local-to-global issues?

  • The Pacific Council Magazine launched in June 2020 as a rebranded update to the long-standing digital Newsroom. The Magazine is only online and includes commentary and analysis by our members, recaps of our events, and spotlights on our members and partners. We publish new content almost daily and compile the content to send to members via email. Much of the content on our Magazine has a local-to-global lens, offering our members and readers a unique perspective on important topics of the day. Find the Pacific Council Magazine at pacificcouncil.online.
  • The Pacific Council Podcast – This spring we launched a limited series podcast hosted by Director of Programs Thomas Zimmerman that featured local and global efforts during the pandemic. Be sure to listen to Season One of our original podcast, “Local Planet,” anywhere you find your podcasts. You can listen to the audio recordings from our virtual events on these platforms, too.

Initiatives and Partnerships

Our Year in Review

The Pacific Council builds the role of LA in the world by harnessing the collective power of individuals, businesses, and institutions in our city – primarily through our initiatives and partnerships. The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to be flexible in this work, deploying rapid response projects to help our neighbors near and far while pausing our travel and meeting-dependent activities.

Stephen Cheung shares how Pacific Council’s partners help support his personal and career growth. 

Here is a snapshot of the impact of our projects, partnerships, and initiatives in 2019 and 2020:

INITIATIVES

COVID-19 Response Project

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we called on the Pacific Council community to coordinate rapid relief projects in support of domestic and international community needs. With your help, we spoke with medical providers, the LA Consular Corps, and others, and linked those in need of PPE with donations from suppliers from around the globe.

With your help, we also gifted 1,000 masks from a donor to the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to disseminate to LA’s unhoused population.

Finally, in partnership with Sister Cities International and the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, we gifted 1,000 units of hand sanitizer and helped Los Angeles sister city Mexico City build their connections with PPE suppliers across the United States.

Taking a Stand Against Racial Inequity

The Pacific Council on International Policy stands by all communities feeling the hurt and anger of the racial injustices and violence our Black community faces on a daily basis. We recognize that systemic racism in our own country negatively affects not only lives in the U.S., but our country’s global standing and leadership.

Because of this belief, the Council has shared anti-racism resources with our members, is hosting ongoing conversations on topics related to systemic racism such as the militarization of the police, and even took a delegation to Alabama in early March to better understand our country’s history of slavery and discrimination. We remain committed to understanding and ending racism and inequity in our country and world.

We made it clear on social media and across our website that the Pacific Council believes Black lives matter. Press play to view slides.

See more in a later section dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion to learn how the Pacific Council is taking action to ensure that racism and discrimination have no place in our member community.

2020 Election: A Local-to-Global Opportunity

The Pacific Council believes that having a local-to-global mindset as a voter leads to better policy outcomes. Pandemic or not, voting is a foundational democratic right and value.

Because of this belief, in fall 2020 we are focusing on what it means to be a local-to-global voter through our virtual events, social media resources, volunteer opportunities, and expert commentary and analysis in our online Magazine.

Our actions have included:

  • Sharing community information and encouraging members to get involved in voter issues
  • Hosting conversations on what it means to be a local-to-global voter
  • Taking action as an organization: we declared Election Day an organizational holiday this year and in the future, and have encouraged peer organizations to sign on and join us. Read our open letter here.

Mexico Initiative

Photos from activities under the Mexico Initiative 

The Council’s Mexico Initiative works to (1) promote stronger ties between Mexico and the United States; (2) build awareness among Angelenos of the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship; and (3) give influential voices in politics, the press, and the business community a more nuanced understanding of Mexico.

In 2019 we launched the Mexico Board Advisory Committee, comprised of 13 members who work closely with our team to provide strategic direction and guide the substantive work of the Mexico Initiative.

In September 2019, we hosted the inaugural meeting of the Mexico-Los Angeles Commission (MEXLA) in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs in Los Angeles, the Office of the Foreign Secretary of Mexico, and the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations.

MEXLA is the first commission of its kind fostering collaboration between a city and a federal government. Fifteen Angelenos with expertise in local-to-global issues such as trade, sports, renewable energy, arts, food, culture, and tourism serve as Commissioners and are paired with industry counterparts in Mexico City to create cross-border partnerships and collaborative projects. Commissioners convene formally twice per year but work in smaller sub-groups throughout the course of the year to connect on issues of mutual priority.

PARTNERS

It has been an honor to work with the following organizations this year, and we look forward to continued collaborations:

A Snapshot of our Delegations 2019-2020

Our Year in Review

El Paso & Juárez - March 2019  Pacific Council member Mary Ann Walker is interviewed in Spanish and English by local media about the implementation and impacts of immigration policy at the border during a delegation to El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, in March 2019.
El Paso & Juárez – March 2019 Pacific Council member Mary Ann Walker is interviewed in Spanish and English by local media about the implementation and impacts of immigration policy at the border during a delegation to El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, in March 2019.
UK & France - May 2019  Council delegates visit the new U.S. Embassy in London during a visit to the United Kingdom and France at the height of the Brexit controversy in May 2019.
UK & France – May 2019 Council delegates visit the new U.S. Embassy in London during a visit to the United Kingdom and France at the height of the Brexit controversy in May 2019.
Mexico - July 2019 Council delegates pose for a group photo during a visit to Mexico City in July 2019 to promote better understanding of the shared priorities and ongoing challenges in the U.S.-Mexico relationship.
Mexico – July 2019 Council delegates pose for a group photo during a visit to Mexico City in July 2019 to promote better understanding of the shared priorities and ongoing challenges in the U.S.-Mexico relationship.
Colombia - August 2019  Emerging Leaders, LA Mayor’s Young Ambassadors (“MaYa” community college students representing the city of Los Angeles abroad), and other Council delegates explore the landscape of the 2016 peace process negotiated between the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) and the Colombian government during a delegation to Colombia in August 2019. Thank you to the RM Liu Foundation for supporting the inclusion of the Mayor’s Young Ambassadors!
Colombia – August 2019 Emerging Leaders, LA Mayor’s Young Ambassadors (“MaYa” community college students representing the city of Los Angeles abroad), and other Council delegates explore the landscape of the 2016 peace process negotiated between the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) and the Colombian government during a delegation to Colombia in August 2019. Thank you to the RM Liu Foundation for supporting the inclusion of the Mayor’s Young Ambassadors!
Washington, D.C. - October 2019  Emerging Leaders discuss Middle East policy with government officials, experts, and civil society leaders during a delegation to Washington, D.C., in October 2019.
Washington, D.C. – October 2019 Emerging Leaders discuss Middle East policy with government officials, experts, and civil society leaders during a delegation to Washington, D.C., in October 2019.
United Arab Emirates - February 2020  Council delegates pose for a group photo during a visit to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates in February 2020 at the invitation of the Crown Prince Court to attend the World Urban Forum and meet with Emirati officials and executives.
United Arab Emirates – February 2020 Council delegates pose for a group photo during a visit to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates in February 2020 at the invitation of the Crown Prince Court to attend the World Urban Forum and meet with Emirati officials and executives.
Alabama - March 2020  Council delegates explored the legacy of institutional racism and slavery during a special visit to Alabama in March 2020.
Alabama – March 2020 Council delegates explored the legacy of institutional racism and slavery during a special visit to Alabama in March 2020.

A Video Message from our Programs Team

Our Year in Review

Read the transcript from this video here.

2020 Global Summit: Beyond the Horizon

A virtual series to celebrate the Council’s 25th anniversary

In lieu of holding a traditional gala for our 25th anniversary, the Council made a “pandemic pivot” to produce a weeklong virtual series in July that we called the Global Summit: Beyond the Horizon.

We featured leading decisionmakers in conversation as they explored the range of challenges facing the United States in this moment—from our national reckoning over racial injustice to the global pandemic—and discussed what the future might hold. In keeping with the Pacific Council’s mission, the Summit placed particular emphasis on assessing Los Angeles and California’s global leadership role going forward.

Our speakers included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Lieutenant Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis, CEO of the National Urban League Marc Morial, Representative Maxine Waters, and many others who shared their unique expertise and experience.

Here are some short video highlights from the Summit:

Thank you to our Summit sponsors!

Visionary Level

Alicia Miñana & Rob Lovelace

25th Anniversary Level

Mrs. Lynn A. Booth

The Mesdag Family Foundation

Ambassador Rockwell & Mrs. Marna Schnabel

The Harry & Florence Sloan Foundation

Mr. Gene T. Sykes

Benefactor Level

Michael Camuñez

Ambassador John B. Emerson

Ms. Antonia Hernández

Mr. Barry Porter

Nelson & Sharon Rising

Charles H. Rivkin

Nancy & Miles Rubin

Supporter Level

Hon. John E. & Mrs. Louise Bryson

Mr. Brian Goldsmith

Ms. Sherry Lansing

Dr. David & Mrs. Sandra Lee

Dr. Cynthia A. Telles

Mr. David J. & Ms. Claudia Zuercher

Organizational sponsors:

2020 is the Pacific Council’s 25th Anniversary

Celebrating our History

25 years. It could be a recent college graduate ready to take on the world. It could be an anniversary of marriage that has learned love really does get better with time.

In our case, 25 years signify a milestone and a moment of reflection. We feel grateful for the community we’ve built and the impact our work has had on Angelenos and global policy.

Member Elex Michaelson shares what the Pacific Council space has come to mean and represent. 

25 years testify to a powerful foundation of leaders who are ready to lift up emerging leaders. It means new voices speaking up and being heard.

25 years have resulted in shared goals for global engagement and policies that work for the common good. The Pacific Council has been a space of coming together as people willing to learn and change and grow.

25 years also brings a renewed vision for the Pacific Council that sets us on a path – together – toward a future where our work makes a difference in the world.


25 Years in Los Angeles (video edited and narrated by Chandra Ingram). The Council remembers and mourns the loss of long-time member Patrick Del Duca, who passed away in 2020 and is featured in this video.

The Founders Series

Celebrating our History

The Pacific Council emerged in 1995, a time when the world was becoming increasingly interconnected. The Council’s founders believed that the West Coast, not just the D.C.-New York corridor, had an important role to play in grappling with global issues and developing improved U.S. foreign policy. By building the Pacific Council as a membership organization, they aimed to reframe U.S. foreign policy as a concern not only for foreign policy practitioners, but also leaders from sectors like business, media, politics, academia, and law.

To read perspectives from the Council’s Founding Members, check out our Founders Series which also includes a timeline of all major Pacific Council accomplishments from 1995 to 2020. The Founders Series features Abe Lowenthal, Karen Elliott House, Jane Olson, and others whose leadership shaped the early days of the Pacific Council and laid the foundation for the organization it is today.

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View more photos from the Pacific Council’s history and activities on our Flickr page.

Take Action

Where We Are Headed

In recent years, you – our members – have asked for more ways to have impact with the Pacific Council. We are responding by providing opportunities for members to take action on issues you care about, from signing up for a free contact tracing course to having hard conversations about race with family and friends. For now, we are sharing these “calls to action” with members via email, and sometimes they will relate to one of our virtual events or Magazine articles.

Your continued support will help us do even more. Keep an eye out as we provide more ways for you to stay involved and engaged globally and locally.

Dulce Vasquez highlights the different ways she has become involved with Pacific Council. 

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Where We Are Headed

Many of you remember that in 2017 the Pacific Council recognized the position of responsibility we have in the international affairs community to do our part to increase diversity and inclusion within our industry.

Since our initial announcement of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), we have established:

  • an annual Pay-it-Forward giving campaign to help the Pacific Council recruit members from underrepresented backgrounds;
  • an Emerging Leaders membership program to support young professionals who are breaking into the international affairs space. We have recruited more than 140 Emerging Leaders to date;
  • a partnership with the Mayor of LA’s Mayor’s Young Ambassadors Program (MaYa) to expose local LA high school students to the possibility of working in international affairs. Most recently we subsidized the participation of two local community college students to attend an international delegation and related professional development opportunities;
  • an educational partnership with two LA-area high schools through Ednovate: USC Hybrid High and East College Prep to reach over 220 students about the possibility of a career in global affairs;
  • community guidelines to ensure the Council is a space that is warm and welcoming for all; and
  • an internal communications guide that emphasizes ethical storytelling and an inclusive approach to our imagery and language.

Also, in 2019, the Pacific Council engaged DEI practitioners who helped the Council integrate a thoughtful DEI component into our new five-year strategic plan.

We recognize that we have a long way to go and that we are part of a philanthropic and nonprofit system that disproportionately invests in white-led, wealthy organizations. As we strive to change the face of global affairs, we must first acknowledge the inequality that currently exists throughout the space. Especially now, in the wake of the civil rights movement before us, we remain even more committed to this duty to continue our efforts to advance DEI in global affairs.

We are pleased to share with you the Council’s planned institutional activities for the coming year:

LEADERSHIP

The Membership Advisory Committee of the Board of Directors will propose a new member code of conduct with stronger provisions against discrimination and harassment and a specific call for members to share the responsibility of creating an inclusive environment at the Pacific Council. The Committee will also lend its support to a Board pipeline project designed to train, create new volunteer opportunities, and ultimately bring more underrepresented voices in global affairs into our member network and onto our Board of Directors.

Additionally, the Executive Team remains committed to investing in the professional growth of our staff. Throughout 2020, we are hosting a breadth of technical and soft-skills internal trainings. This effort will be supplemented by individualized professional development planning for staff who opt in.

In 2019, representation of people of color on the Pacific Council’s Board of Directors was at 20 percent, or about 1 out of 5 directors. As of June 2020, that percentage had increased to 24 percent, or about 1 out of 4 directors.

The percentage of people of color on the Council’s staff (including Executive Team) increased 10% from December 2019 to June 2020, from 25% to 35%.

MEMBERSHIP

The membership staff team, for their part, will continue to focus on reducing structural barriers to joining the Council’s member community, including:

1) lifting the nomination requirement for new members during the pandemic;

2) piloting an all-virtual membership program, and

3) identifying unique and emerging challenges faced by young people, women, and Black, Indigenous people of color (BIPOC) in our field while implementing programs and policies to help elevate underrepresented voices to leadership positions in global affairs.

From 2019 to 2020, the percentage of self-reported members who identify as people of color increased from 25% to 31%.*

* Other demographics that we have reported such as gender and age stayed close to the same between 2019 and 2020.

Sarah Sieloff highlights how the Pacific Council continues to promote new and underrepresented voices.

PROGRAMS

We will implement the following changes in FY21 to promote DEI among our speakers and program guests:

1)  The Pacific Council will identify and implement ways to remove barriers to entry for our speakers, in order to provide a platform to the next generation of global policy leaders and to bring unique perspectives that our audience cannot hear anywhere else.

2) We are updating our representation tracking system and have set a goal to increase racial diversity in our programming by 50% in FY2021.

3) In early 2021, we will launch a new program to highlight emerging talent that is working to promote global engagement at the state and local level and engaging their communities to take global action. The first class of leaders will reflect the diversity of the communities from which they come. Stay tuned for more on this exciting new program!

INITIATIVES

Lastly, we will incorporate a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens to our initiatives and project-based work in the following ways:

1) We will continue to educate our members on race relations and structural inequity in the United States and the damaging effects the issue has on our global standing through project work, event features, and partner activity.

2) Starting with our local-to-global voter project, we will select and feature community partners for all future projects who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • are led by women and / or BIPOC;
  • prominently feature the perspectives and work of women and / or BIPOC;
  • whose work advances social justice to the benefit of women and / or BIPOC in the U.S. and abroad.

3) We will also strengthen our partnership with the Leadership Council for Women in National Security, an organization whose mission is to promote the work of women and BIPOC at the highest levels of the U.S. national security apparatus.

4) Starting in FY21, all of our work on the Mexico Initiative will be published in English and in Spanish.

For the Pacific Council, DEI is not simply a buzz-word – it’s a perspective we are incorporating into every aspect of our work; it is a long-term commitment we plan to keep. We call on the rest of the international affairs sector to do the same, across political lines and ideologies, race and experience.

Join us in changing the face of global affairs.

Our Financials

Here we include audited statements from a 6-month period ending June 2019, and unaudited statements from FY2020.

We closed FY2020 with a shortfall of revenues by 33 percent compared to budget, and expenses were also down by 11 percent. Much of this can be explained by the disruption of regular member services and a major gala fundraiser that was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, the Council is in a strong financial position as we undertake year one of our new five-year strategy.

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You can view more details at the links below:

2019 Audited Financial Statements

Statement of Activity for FY 2020 unaudited

Statement of Financial Position for FY 2020 unaudited

The financial statements of the Pacific Council on International Policy as represented here for the month and year ended June 30, 2020, were not yet subject to an independent audit and might thus change in the course of the upcoming audit.

Our Donors

As of June 2020

Long-time Pacific Council supporters Robert Liu and Michael Kaplan
Long-time Pacific Council supporters Robert Liu and Michael Kaplan

Individual donors, foundation grants, and corporate sponsorships help comprise the highest cadre of annual supporters of the Pacific Council. We gratefully acknowledge the generous financial contributions of the following individuals:

Christopher Society

Amb. Frank & Mrs. Kathrine F. Baxter

David & Marianna Fisher

Mr. & Mrs. Robert & Mimi Liu

Alicia Miñana & Rob Lovelace, The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation

Marc & Jane Nathanson

Amb. Robert H. Tuttle & Ms. Maria Hummer-Tuttle

$100,000+

Foundation to Promote Open Society

$50,000+

Amb. Colleen Bell

Mrs. Lynn A. Booth

Mr. Charles C.Y. Chen

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Dr. Bradford W. & Mrs. Louise D. Edgerton

Mr. Arnold & Ms. Judy Fishman

Goldman Sachs Gives

Mr. Hans J. Dau & Ms. Deborah Benton

Harry & Florence Sloan Foundation

The W. M. Keck Foundation

Amb. Rockwell & Mrs. Marna Schnabel

$25,000+

AECOM

Amgen

Anonymous

Mr. Sonny Astani

Hon. Michael C. Camuñez

Cedars-Sinai

Ms. Carla Christofferson

Mr. Robert Eckert

Mr. Richard B. Goetz

Hudson Pacific Properties

Mr. Michael & Ms. Terri Kaplan

Dr. David & Mrs. Sandra Lee

Lockton Insurance Brokers, LLC

Los Angeles Rams

The Mesdag Family Foundation

Mr. Arthur J. Ochoa

Mr. Barry Porter

Nelson & Sharon Rising

Nancy and Miles Rubin

Sotheby’s

The Starr Foundation

Wedbush Securities

Whittier Trust

$15,000+

Dr. Nina Ansary

Ms. Pamela Brady

Nell Cady-Kruse

California Community Foundation

The Crown Robinson Family

Hon. Mel Levine & Ms. Connie Bruck

Teddy & Ellen Schwarzman

Mr. Jay and Ms. Deanie Stein

Ms. Mary Lu Tuthill

Ms. Carole Wagner Vallianos & Mr. Peter Vallianos

$10,000+

Anonymous

Robert Adler & Alexis Deutsch Adler

Mr. Stan Golden

Joan and Irwin Jacobs

Ms. Sherry Lansing

Ambassador Michael Lawson

Mr. Scott Olivet

Jane and Ron Olson

Donald & Susan Rice

Charles H. Rivkin

Mr. Steven Stathatos

Dr. Cynthia A. Telles

Ms. Barbera Thornhill

Karen Toffler Charitable Trust

Embassy of the U.A.E.

Mr. Daniel G. Weiss

Mr. David J. & Ms. Claudia Zuercher

$5,000+

Robert J. Allan

Ms. Joan Borinstein

Joe & Margot Calabrese

The California Wellness Foundation

Mr. Mark & Mrs. Anne-Marie Cappellano

Mr. Alexander L. & Ms. Linda Cappello

Ms. Maren Christensen

Ms. Gail Cohen

Seth Freeman & Julie Waxman

Ms. Elizabeth Karatz Faraut

Ms.  Leslie Gilbert-Lurie

Ms. Frida P. & Mr. Joel Glucoft

Amb. Nina L. Hachigian

Mr. Fred Grant & Ms. Tara Hubbard

Mr. William H. Hurt

Mr. Brett R. Johnson

Ms. Suzanne Nora Johnson & Mr. David Johnson

Hon. Mickey Kantor & Ms. Heidi Schulman

Ms. Joanne C. Kozberg, Ms. Lindsey Kozberg

Dr. Phillip Kurzner and Dr. Michael-Anne Browne

Mr. Stephen G. Larson

Mr. Christopher Lawson

Mr. Harry J. Leonhardt Esq.

Mr. Li Lu

Frank & Melanie Monestere

Mr. Steven S. Myers & Ms. Vivian Soren-Myers

Ms. Heidi Novaes

Ms. Viveca Paulin-Ferrell

Ms. Radha Iyengar Plumb

Mr. Arnold & Ms. Anne Porath

Mr. James Prince

Mr. David Rosenblum

Sanders Charitable Fund

Mr. Richard & Ms. Ellen Sandler

Susan C. Schnabel & Edward L. Plummer

Mr. Ken Solomon

Mr. Harry & Ms. Marta Stang

Mr. Seth Stodder

Mr. Nicholas H. Stonnington

Mr. Richard & Ms. Sandra Swarz

Ms. Lynda Thomas

Ms. Leslie Weisberg & Mr. James Hyman

Mr. Jeffrey & Ms. Vanessa Wright

Mr. Michael Zak

Interested in learning more about supporting the Council? Contact Ms. Lauren Batten at Lbatten@pacificcouncil.org or (213) 221-2005.

Corporate Members

The Council’s work would not be possible without the support from our corporate members. Thank you for the work you do in LA and beyond!

Our Board of Directors

As of June 2020

The Hon. Marc B. Nathanson (Co-Chair), Chair, U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (1995-2002); Vice Chair, National Democratic Institute; Trustee, The Aspen Institute

Ambassador Rockwell A. Schnabel, (Co-Chair), Chairman, The Sage Group, LLC; Former U.S. Ambassador to Finland and the European Union; Acting Secretary of Commerce (1991-1992)

Ambassador Frank Baxter, Chairman Emeritus, Jefferies & Company

Ms. Willow Bay, Dean, USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism

Ambassador Colleen Bell, U.S. Ambassador to Hungary (2014-2017)

The Hon. Howard L. Berman, Senior Advisor, Covington & Burling LLP

Mrs. Lynn A. Booth, President, The Otis Booth Foundation & The Evening Star Foundation

Ms. Elise Buik, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Los Angeles

Ms. Maria Camacho, Director of Government Affairs, Los Angeles Rams

The Hon. Michael C. Camuñez, President & CEO, Monarch Global Strategies LLC

Mr. Charles Chen, Chairman, Eyon Holding Group; President, Chen Yung Foundation; Vice Chairman, Taian Insurance

Ms. Carla Christofferson, Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer, DXC Technology

Dr. Bradford W. Edgerton, President, Edgerton Foundation & Plastic Surgeon, SCPMG

Ambassador John Emerson, Vice Chairman, Capital Group International, Inc., Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany

Mr. Richard B. Goetz, Partner, O’Melveny & Myers, LLP

Ambassador Nina Hachigian, Deputy Mayor for International Affairs, City of Los Angeles; Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.S. Mission to ASEAN

Ms. Antonia Hernández, President and CEO, California Community Foundation

Ambassador David Huebner, Former U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand & Samoa

The Hon. Mickey Kantor, Partner, Mayer Brown LLP

Ms. Sherry Lansing, Founder & Chair, The Sherry Lansing Foundation

Dr. Peter Laugharn, President & CEO, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Ambassador Michael Lawson, President & CEO, Los Angeles Urban League

The Hon. Mel Levine, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Mr. Robert W. Liu, Chairman, Tireco, Inc.

Mr. Robert W. Lovelace, Vice Chairman, Capital Group Companies

Mr. Willem Mesdag, Managing Partner, Red Mountain Capital Partners, LLC

Mr. Arthur J. Ochoa, Senior Vice President of Advancement and Chief Advancement Officer, Cedars-Sinai

Mr. Barry Porter, Managing General Partner, Clarity Partners, Inc.

Mr. Nelson C. Rising, CEO, Rising Realty Partners

Ambassador Charles H. Rivkin, Chairman & CEO, Motion Picture Association of America

The Hon. Nancy Rubin, Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights; Presidential Appointee to the White House Council for Community Solutions

Ms. Maria Salinas, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

Mr. Harry Evans Sloan, Chairman & CEO, Global Eagle Acquisition

Mr. Gene Sykes, Managing Director & Co-chair, Global Mergers & Acquisitions, Goldman Sachs & Co.

Dr. Cynthia A. Telles, Director, UCLA Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior; Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine

Ambassador Robert H. Tuttle, Co-Managing Partner, Tuttle-Click Automotive Group; Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom (2005-2009)

Our Staff

As of June 2020

Pacific Council staff in October 2019
Pacific Council staff in October 2019

Dr. Jerrold D. Green, President and CEO

Jennifer Faust, Executive Director

Carmille Lim, Vice President

Thomas Zimmerman, Director of Programs

Nastasha Everheart, Director of Strategy

Lauren Batten, Development Officer

Justin Chapman, Communications Officer

Julia Jamnejad, Chief Innovation Officer

Alex Jasiulek, Senior Membership Officer

Chaka Jones, Senior Human Resources & Operations Officer

Amie Kashon, Chief Development Officer

Ashley McKenzie, Senior Project Manager, External Affairs

Alexandre Moore, Senior Programs Officer

Marissa Moran, Chief Communications Officer

Ilyssa Padrid-Dykman, Communications Officer

YJ Paik, Operations Coordinator

Sumaya Quillian, Programs Associate

Moriah Tafoya, Project Associate, Initiatives

Ina Thigith, Membership Associate

Pacific Council staff in October 2019
Pacific Council staff in October 2019

Credits

This Annual Report was created by Communications staff at the Pacific Council:

Marissa Moran Gantman, Chief Communications Officer

Justin Chapman, Communications Officer

Ilyssa Padrid-Dykman, Communications Officer

Carmille Lim, Vice President

A special thank you to all Pacific Council staff who contributed to this report, especially Amie Kashon, Julia Jamnejad, Jennifer Faust, Sumaya Quillian, Nastasha Everheart, and Lauren Batten.

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The Pacific Council 1995-2020: A Retrospective

This year, the Pacific Council is celebrating its 25th anniversary. As we look forward to the impact our work will have in the coming years, we present here a look back at some of the significant moments of our history. What are your favorite memories with the Pacific Council over the years? Share them with us on Twitter @PacCouncil.

1995

  • The Pacific Council’s articles of incorporation were adopted by the new Board of Directors (formerly the Steering Committee) at its first meeting on April 6, 1995, at the LA Times headquarters. The articles were received by the state secretary on May 26, 1995, and approved May 30. The Council’s inaugural retreat was held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Marina del Rey in May 1995.
  • The Board made the decision to partner with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the University of Southern California (USC), following two years of negotiations.
  • The Board held a brainstorming retreat at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel, where the decision was made to change the name of the organization from “California Center on International Affairs” to “Pacific Council on International Policy.”
  • The Pacific Council emerged at a time when the world was becoming increasingly interconnected. The Council’s founders believed that the West Coast, not just the D.C.-New York corridor, had an important role to play in grappling with global issues and developing improved U.S. foreign policy. By building the Pacific Council as a membership organization, they aimed to reframe U.S. foreign policy as a concern not only for foreign policy practitioners, but also leaders from sectors like business, media, politics, academia, and law.
  • The number of founding members was 247 with 34 of those being our founding board members. In addition, 231 members of CFR’s western affiliates accepted membership into the Pacific Council (slight overlap with the founding members).
  • Dr. Abraham Lowenthal, then a professor in the School of International Relations at USC, was selected as the first president of the Pacific Council (1995-2005).
  • USC offered headquarters space, logistical cooperation, and in-kind support to help launch the Council.
  • Founding supporters included: Robert Erburu, Chairman of the Times Mirror Company; John Bryson, head of Edison International; and Steven Sample, President of USC; and U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, who later served as Director and Co-Chair of the Pacific Council’s Board of Directors until his passing in 2011. The Pacific Council continues to honor his leadership and his memory through the Warren Christopher Public Service Award.
  • The Council held its first annual Members Weekend conference.
  • The Council received support from the Ahmanson Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the General Service Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the governments of Canada and Mexico, ARCO, AT&T, Bank of America, the Boeing Company, the Capital Group, Chase Manhattan Bank, the Walt Disney Company, Edison International, First Interstate Bank of California, Hughes Electronics, IBM, J.P. Morgan Co., Kaufman and Broad Home Corporation, La Opinión, Microsoft Corporation, Pacific Enterprises, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, the Times Mirror Company, Warner Bros., and 102 individuals who made voluntary contributions beyond membership dues during the Council’s first two years.

1996

  • The Council expanded beyond Southern California to include members from and programming in Northern California and Seattle.
  • The Council published its first Annual Report: Launching a New Institution.

1997

  • The Council became further known as a source of experts with varied viewpoints on all types of international issues.
  • The Council launched its public affairs and communications department.

1998

  • The Council launched its “Pacific Council Dateline” newspaper.
  • The Council sought to develop a studies program and Mexico and Canada chapters.

1999

  • The Council launched its Mexico Task Force and Corporate program.
  • The Council published its first website.
  • In the Council’s early years, there were a number of international visiting fellows from Mexico, China, and elsewhere, as well as a number of leading U.S. journalists who were visiting fellows.

2000

  • During the 2000-2001 program year, the Board committed itself to a strategic review of the organization.
  • From 2000-2005, the Board reinforced its partnership with USC and CFR.
  • The number of programs grew from an average of some 35 per year in the Council’s first three years to more than 60 in 2000, including 30 in Los Angeles, 18 in San Francisco, and four each in Seattle, San Diego, and the Silicon Valley area.
  • The Council published its Annual Report: From Start-Up to Institution.

2001

  • The Board approved a 3-year extension of its partnership with CFR.
  • The Board deliberated over a mission concept for the organization: “It is important and viable for the West Coast to have a multisector leadership organization focusing on international trends, challenges, and opportunities—helping its members and sponsors determine how best to respond to international issues in their own domains and how to contribute more effectively to national and international policy responses.”
  • The Council sought to develop relationships with CNN, Bloomberg, CNBC, and PBS, to publish more op-eds, and to have more of a presence in Washington, D.C.

2002

  • The Council launched its Next Generation Task Force, with a focus on emerging leaders under 40 years old.
  • The Council formed a partnership with El Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales, (“COMEXI,” Mexico’s “CFR,” the Mexican Council of International Affairs).

2003

  • The Council began hosting organized field visits.
  • The Council developed a relationship with the Edgerton Foundation, which still supports Iran, Turkey, and China-focused programming.

2004

  • The Council strengthened its West Coast ties (Vancouver to Seattle to San Diego to Mexico), and focused on general membership meetings up and down the West Coast and on study group projects and reports on Mexico, China, Korea, Japan, Israel and the Palestinians, intellectual property, the foreign policy interests of the western states, and studies of how LA, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle related to the world economy, diversity, and American foreign policy.
  • In November, Dr. Lowenthal stepped down as president of the Pacific Council.

2005

  • The organization increased its overall membership, as well as its overall diversity in terms of gender, location, and professions.
  • Women made up 23 percent of the membership, an increase from 20.4 percent in 2000.
  • The Council continued its Next Generation Task Force, which was designed to find new members that are under 40 and who are emerging leaders in their field.
  • New foundation grants totaling $1.3 million to support the Council’s activities from 2005-2007 were announced.
  • In June, the Council established its Joint U.S.-Indian Task Force and published a report, India-U.S. Relations: A Vision for the Future.
  • The Board set a target of 70 programs per year for subsequent years.
  • The Board selected Geoffrey Garrett as its new president (2005-2008).
  • In November, the Council held its 10th anniversary Members Weekend.
  • The Council held its 10th Anniversary Gala honoring founding Council President Abraham Lowenthal.

2006

  • The Council launched a new website.
  • The Board of Directors was co-chaired by John E. Bryson, Chairman and CEO of Edison International, and Warren Christopher, former U.S. Secretary of State.

2007

  • At the end of the year, Mr. Garrett informed the Board that he would be stepping down as president of the Pacific Council.
  • The Council launched a 2007-2012 strategic plan and designed a new logo.

2008

  • The Council strengthened its partnership with COMEXI by forming a Joint U.S.-Mexico Task Force.
  • On March 30, the Board selected Dr. Jerrold Green as the next president and CEO of the Pacific Council.
  • In June, the Council founded its Emerging Leaders Member Committee.
  • The Council launched a new website.
  • The Council began discussions on its “Global LA” project.
  • CFR and the Pacific Council ended their formal affiliation.

2009

  • The Council moved off the USC campus and into an office in downtown LA.
  • In October, the Pacific Council and COMEXI released its Joint U.S.-Mexico Task Force report.

2010

  • In April, the Council held its inaugural Spring Conference.
  • The Council formed a Task Force on California’s Adaptation to Climate Change.
  • The Council began holding teleconferences to inform members about important international affairs stories.
  • Ambassador Robert Tuttle became a Co-Chair of the Council’s Board of Directors.
  • Jennifer Faust became the Council’s executive vice president.

2011

  • Former U.S. Secretary of State and early Pacific Council supporter Warren Christopher passed away.
  • President Obama nominates John Bryson, then-Co-Chair of the Council’s Board of Directors, to be Secretary of Commerce.

2012

  • On January 15, the Council’s communications department created its Twitter and Facebook accounts.
  • In June, former U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor was appointed Co-Chair of the Council’s Board of Directors.

2013

2014

  • In April, the Council launched a 2014-2019 strategic plan.

2015

  • In September, the Council launched a new website, still in use today. The website included an online Newsroom for the first time, where members can publish analysis and commentary on international policy issues.
  • The Council published its Global LA report.
  • The Council launched video about the Pacific Council for its 20th anniversary, held a gala featuring former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

2016

  • In June, the Council published a report on U.S.-China public diplomacy, which Pacific Council President and CEO Dr. Jerrold Green presented to a conference in Beijing, A Path Forward: Advancing U.S.-China Relations Through Public Diplomacy.
  • Members in Seattle, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles helped develop the Council’s new Global Water Scarcity Project over six months with support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
  • The Council elected its first-ever member class with a majority of women, and hosted the first Members Weekend conference without a single all-male panel.
  • Also at Members Weekend, the Council launched a new mobile app for its conferences and delegations with real-time participant polling, agenda-setting, feedback, messaging abilities, and more.

2017

2018

2019

2020

pacificcouncil.org.

Founding Board Members

  1. Mr. Robert Abernethy
  2. Hon. Michael Armacost
  3. Dr. Lloyd Armstrong, Jr.
  4. Mr. John Bryson
  5. The Rt. Joe Clark, P.C.
  6. Mr. Shelby Coffey, III
  7. Mr. Lewis Coleman
  8. Mr. John Cooke
  9. Ms. Lee Cullum
  10. Mr. Robert Erburu
  11. Dr. Alton Frye
  12. Ms. Linda Griego
  13. Mr. Edward Hamilton
  14. Mr. Hirotaro Higuchi
  15. Hon. Robert Hormats
  16. Ms. Karen House
  17. Hon. Jon Huntsman, Jr.
  18. Mr. Bruce Karatz
  19. Mr. Jessie Knight, Kr.
  20. Mr. Steve Koltai
  21. Hon. Mel Levine
  22. Dr. Abraham Lowenthal
  23. Mr. Richard Mallery
  24. Mr. Michael Murray
  25. Mr. Luis Nogales
  26. Dr. Condoleezza Rice
  27. Hon. Pamela Rymer
  28. Dr. Susan Shirk
  29. Mr. Jackson Tai
  30. Mr. David Tang
  31. Dr. Chang-Lin Tien
  32. Mr. Gerald Warren
  33. Mr. Mason Willrich
  34. Mr. Willis Wood, Jr.
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Annual Report 2018

From the President and CEO

Leading with Values in 2018

As you review our annual report, I hope that you will notice how the Pacific Council’s work in 2018 has been driven by the values that define us and our region. As an organization, we continue to maintain a deep commitment to impartiality and nonpartisanship. Throughout the year, we heard speakers from both sides of the aisle and from around the world, while striving to promote civil discourse based on evidence, facts, and yes—collegiality and good will.

Now more than ever we remain committed to integrity, the rule of law, democracy, freedom of expression, human rights and dignity, vibrant and unfettered journalism, and equity.

We are proudly committed to globalism; as a community, we believe that America’s global leadership favors American interests, that immigration is positive for the United States, and that the cultural and human values that make the American experiment so special are not obsolete. The values that define the Pacific Council reflect our home in Southern California. Los Angeles is not abstractly committed to globalism; it is its very embodiment.

Against a backdrop of tumultuous national and global politics, the Pacific Council continued to engage and inform our members by helping them to make sense of a confusing and rapidly changing world. This year we convened our inaugural Global Los Angeles Summit and PolicyWest conferences. We introduced new modes of programming to reflect the preferences of our members.

We launched a Virtual Book Club, skills-building webinars, interactive trainings, and a new special initiatives department. We found that these programs were especially popular among women and Emerging Leaders, our young members who will drive political and global change as the next generation of global leaders. In fact, in 2018 we saw a 10 percent increase in members age 40 and under.

The Pacific Council is committed to making certain that the next generation of decision makers genuinely reflects our society at large. In 2018, we dispatched a delegation of Emerging Leaders to Mexico City. We are also strengthening our Board and membership through the inclusion of future leaders. A cornerstone of the Pacific Council’s mission is to serve as an incubator for the next generation of international affairs decision makers.

In 2020, the Council will celebrate its 25th anniversary.

It is a time for us to reflect on our history and impact as an organization, while also looking to the future to see how we can make a difference. We are reflecting upon what the world and what Los Angeles need, and what solutions the Pacific Council can offer.

It is an exciting and pivotal moment for those of us involved with the Pacific Council on International Policy. We eagerly seek your collaboration and input as we approach 2020, and greatly value your continued support of our work and of our mission. Our members, supporters, and donors are essential to our success.

My warmest thanks for your commitment to the Pacific Council and for your continuing engagement going forward.

Sincerely,

Jerrold D. Green, President and CEO, Pacific Council on International Policy

Our Values

The Pacific Council is an independent nonprofit committed to furthering constructive, sophisticated discourse on international affairs.

We believe in cultivating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive global affairs community. Respect, civility, and nonpartisanship underpin our work to encourage civic participation and global engagement to promote peace, prosperity, sustainability, and human rights.

The mission of the Pacific Council is to build the vast potential of the West Coast for impact on global issues, discourse, and policy.

Inclusivity in Action

This year, the Pacific Council made a public commitment to embrace the inclusion of all voices in our community, across our membership, leadership, staff, event speakers, and guests, regardless of race, ethnicity, ability, class, religion, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other differentiating characteristic.

Under that commitment, we implemented a variety of innovative activities and program structures in 2018 to engage our members in new ways, taking into consideration location, accessibility, affordability, and professional need. Based on member feedback, we created virtual offerings, more social and networking events, and casual settings with lower barriers to entry.

Thanks to your helpful input and staff dedication to this effort for the past few years, the Council is poised to continue to build on its inclusion practices in 2019 and beyond.

We also convened an Emerging Leader Task Force that gave recommendations about improving our program offerings and inclusion practices to the Board of Directors.

“We recommend that the Council provide regular opportunities for Emerging Leaders to develop expertise on foreign policy issues by co-producing programming with them, and featuring them as speakers, moderators, and interviewers, even if their expertise is still growing. Personally, this has been a beneficial experience for me as a young member.”

– Karen Richardson, Co-Chair, Emerging Leaders Task Force

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Pay It Forward Spotlight: Delegations

In April, the Pacific Council hosted its first Emerging Leaders Delegation. Fourteen young professionals traveled to Mexico City, subsidized by Pay It Forward funds, to hold discussions with government officials, civil society leaders, and others on strengthening the U.S.-Mexico relationship.

“There are extraordinary opportunities to have more strategic relationships to expand trade that would be mutually constructive. There are opportunities to cultivate more workforce cooperation across the two regions—and really the mega-region—from a Southern California/Mexi-Cali/Baja California perspective.”

– Angelov Farooq, Mexico City Delegate

“I came away with more knowledge about Mexico as a large, deeply cultured country. Geography has much to do with the nature of the caravans that travel annually through the country (gleaned via our visit to the U.S. Embassy). Geography also plays a part in the disparity between wealth and poverty, as well as the stratification and consolidation of crime and cartels at the northern and southern borders of the country.”

– Kareena Kirlew, Mexico City Delegate

Thanks to those same funds, Emerging Leaders were also able to join the Pacific Council to observe the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) maritime exercise in Hawaii, and travel to Seattle for a national delegation to explore global policy at the nexus of business, national security, and innovation.

“With generous support from the Pay It Forward campaign, I was able to participate in the Seattle delegation at a reduced rate for Emerging Leaders within the Pacific Council community. I want to offer up my sincere gratitude to everyone that has contributed to the Pay It Forward campaign. Without their generous support, my participation in the delegation, as well as much of my participation in rewarding events over the past two years, would simply not have been possible.”

– Aaron Brooks, Seattle Delegate

These activities were made possible by the generous donations collected during our Pay it Forward Annual Giving Campaign in 2016 and 2017.

Thank YOU for helping us amplify new voices in our community.

“We no longer live in the foreign policy world of Allen Dulles or Henry Kissinger. New international policy issues arise every day, and with them come an array of new voices. The Pacific Council would do well to infuse its leadership with people who will be dealing with these issues for decades to come.”

– Jared Schott, Co-Chair, Emerging Leaders Task Force

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Where We’re Headed

At our inaugural PolicyWest fall conference, Pacific Council President and CEO Jerry Green shared a vision for the Council as it approaches its 25th anniversary in 2020. He said the Pacific Council must reflect the evolving character and composition of our community through our membership, leadership, staff, and programming.

To this end, the Pacific Council strives to change the face and practice of global affairs. It is our goal to set a new standard for diversity, equity, and inclusion in our field.

As we move toward the future, we hope to better mirror the broader community in Los Angeles, the city we call home. We are aiming for more diverse representation across our membership, staff, and Board of Directors, especially in the area of gender parity, and we laid the foundation for that goal in 2018.

In the spirit of true inclusion, we invite all of our members and donors to be part of this journey with us. What the Pacific Council has to offer—civil discourse and impact on international affairs—is for everyone.

You can find data about the composition of our staff and Board of Directors in the respective sections below.

Our Impact – And Yours

In 2018, the Pacific Council reflected on the impact we’ve had over the past few decades as the leading global affairs organization on the West Coast. It was also a year of exploring how we will have impact in the future, as we approach our 25th anniversary and look to the next quarter century.

Since 2015 when we launched our current 5-year strategic plan, the Pacific Council’s mission has been to build the vast potential of the West Coast for impact on global issues, discourse, and policy. We strive to represent the range of West Coast global policy interests and perspectives and cultivate an informed and civically-engaged membership that contributes at local, national, and global levels.

Our work promotes an educated populace, a stronger West Coast culture of international engagement, and improved policy formation and implementation in key issue areas.

In order to fulfill our mission in 2018, the Pacific Council initiated collaborations with new audiences and supported members working on innovative projects in global affairs, such as the Project to Strategically Protect Soft Networks. We also renewed the legislative call to action of the GTMO Task Force, an ongoing program that sends Council members to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to observe official proceedings.

Here we capture some of our most exciting accomplishments and collaborations in 2018, which elevate the talents and expertise of our members while sharing the Pacific Council’s values with the rest of the world. A special thanks to our funders and donors who have made these efforts a reality.

Two Ways We Have Impact

GTMO Task Force Report

On the 17th anniversary of 9/11, the Pacific Council’s Guantánamo Bay (GTMO) Task Force announced the release of its second report, A Matter of Time, to renew the call for federal judges to preside over the military trials at Guantánamo. The report builds on recommendations made in 2016, several of which were adopted in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.

The Task Force’s new report proposed that federal judges (or military judges, to the extent they remain empaneled) should have the authority to:

  • Issue binding orders on discovery and sanction parties that do not or will not comply
  • Require the defense to establish the legal necessity of its discovery requests—or face a discovery cutoff and the start of trial
  • Require the prosecution to produce relevant discovery—or risk losing the right to pursue the death penalty at sentencing
  • Appoint a magistrate judge and an electronic discovery specialist to help manage the data at issue.

These proposals reflect the unanimous conclusions of the non-partisan Task Force, comprised of 23 Pacific Council members and legal experts who have spent a collective 255 days at Camp Justice as observers of the Guantánamo proceedings. While the report circulates among legislators in Congress, Task Force member Hon. Robert Bonner published an op-ed about the report’s recommendations in the Los Angeles Daily Journal in October.

The GTMO Task Force is chaired by Mr. Richard B. Goetz and Ms. Michelle M. Kezirian.

Collaboration with USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

This fall, the Pacific Council launched a new collaboration with the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism and Professor Philip Seib, a long-time Pacific Council member, to create a graduate-level class on foreign reporting. The class enrolled eight graduate students—most of them in Annenberg’s M.S. Journalism program—to think critically about covering international issues from a city like Los Angeles. The students wrote stories about vibrant immigrant communities on the West Coast, efforts to right historical injustices, and complex legal and tax issues. They also had front row access to Pacific Council events, including our inaugural PolicyWest conference, and covered the issues discussed and debated by experts.

The Pacific Council and USC plan to continue the endeavor and welcome a new class in 2019, while continuing their ongoing operational cooperation, started with the Council’s founding in 1995. A special thank you to Dean Willow Bay and USC Annenberg for a sustained and fruitful partnership with the Pacific Council.

“I decided to move into a career in journalism in the hopes of raising awareness about important international stories that many Americans would otherwise never think twice about. Seeing the enthusiasm at the PolicyWest conference and the incredible work my classmates are producing has made me optimistic about the future of foreign reporting and my contribution to the field.”

– Mikayla Bean, M.S. Journalism candidate, USC Annenberg

Project to Strategically Protect Soft Networks

The project to Strategically Protect Soft Networks (SPSN) is an effort led by Pacific Council member and retired U.S. Army Colonel Steve Miska to engage the U.S. policy community around the development of policy measures that effectively protect soft networks, or local partners in conflict zones. After Miska served multiple combat tours in Iraq, he was exposed to the extreme sectarian violence that plagued those who aided U.S. forces and set out to aid the local-national partners in his unit.

The Pacific Council is working with SPSN to engage other Pacific Council members in a policy development process that seeks to ensure our allies’ faith in the United States’ missions abroad. SPSN and the Council hosted a discussion at PolicyWest featuring a former Iraqi interpreter and an American who hosted an Afghan family fleeing violence abroad.

Her perspective helped members understand the experience from a prospective sponsor viewpoint. SPSN continues to examine and develop nontraditional protection methods and best practices used throughout the world to protect at-risk local partners, and is evaluating practices from the NGO community, federal law enforcement agencies, and refugee protection doctrine.

Thank you to the Smith Richardson Foundation for supporting SPSN.

Partnership with Isla Urbana

A group of Pacific Council members and staff teamed up with Isla Urbana, a social enterprise based in Mexico City that provides rainwater harvesting systems to water-stressed communities in Mexico, to support a mapping project of Mexico City’s water stakeholders. The project resulted in a report analyzing common water priorities across 32 water stakeholders from academia, government, civil society, and the private sector.

The Pacific Council also supported the participation of two Los Angeles high school students in the 2019 Isla Urbana High School Summer Program, in which the students will help install a rainwater harvesting system in a community in Mexico and learn about the country’s water scarcity.

The project combines the Council’s work in water scarcity with our Mexico Initiative, offering an exciting opportunity for members and the LA community to gain hands-on experience for global impact.

A special thanks to the Honorable Michael Camuñez for his support and leadership of the Mexico Initiative in 2018.

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What Members Have to Say

Spotlight on Corporate Partner: Los Angeles Rams

The Council is delighted to work with the Los Angeles Rams through our Corporate Member Program. We asked Maria Camacho, Director of Government Affairs at the Rams, where the team finds value at the Pacific Council.

PACIFIC COUNCIL: How have the Rams and the Council collaborated in the past year?

MARIA CAMACHO: Thanks to the Pacific Council’s Mexico Initiative and as a result of my participation in the Pacific Council’s Emerging Leaders Delegation to Mexico City in Spring of 2018, I pieced together opportunities for our organization to engage in dialogue with Mexico leading up to the Rams’ planned game in Mexico City in November 2018. Before the game, our Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President, Kevin Demoff, joined the Consul General of Mexico, Carlos García de Alba, and the Pacific Council’s Jerry Green in a candid dialogue regarding the interdependence of brands locally and abroad, such as that of the Los Angeles Rams, and the importance of prioritizing such international relationships.

PC: Our President and CEO Jerry Green calls the Rams “the world’s home team” because of LA’s diverse international population. How does the team approach community engagement?

MC: Watching Angelenos come together behind the Los Angeles Rams since their return home to Los Angeles in 2016, whether in times of need in our community or in times of celebration, reminds us of the power we have as a sports team to unite our region. At the Los Angeles Rams, we believe in the importance of using our platform to create meaningful connections with surrounding communities by embracing and celebrating our region’s diversity.

PC: Any exciting plans for global connections in 2019?

MC: We hope to utilize our new stadium, Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, as a way to engage in global dialogues given the district’s ability to redefine the sports and entertainment experience throughout the world.

The LA Rams are joined by AECOM, Amgen, Cedars-Sinai, Lockton Insurance, and Whittier Trust as the Pacific Council’s corporate members. Learn more about corporate membership by contacting us.

Institutional Health

The following are the Pacific Council’s audited Statements of Financial Position and Activities for the year ending December 31, 2018.

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Behind the Scenes

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Our Donors

Individual donors, foundation grants, and corporate sponsorships comprise the highest cadre of annual supporters of the Pacific Council. We gratefully acknowledge the generous financial contributions of the following individuals in 2018:

Christopher Society

Mr. Sonny H. Astani Amb. Frank & Mrs. Kathrine F. Baxter David & Marianna Fisher Mr. & Mrs. Robert & Mimi Liu Alicia Miñana & Rob Lovelace Marc & Jane Nathanson Amb. Robert H. Tuttle & Ms. Maria Hummer-Tuttle

Chairman’s Circle

Mrs. Lynn A. Booth Mr. Charles C.Y. Chen Mr. Hans J. Dau & Ms. Deborah Benton Dr. Bradford W. & Mrs. Louise D. Edgerton Amb. Rockwell & Mrs. Marna Schnabel

President’s Circle

AECOM Amgen Amb. Colleen Bell Ms. Pamela Brady Cedars-Sinai Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Ms. Carla Christofferson Mr. Robert Eckert Mr. Arnold & Ms. Judy Fishman Mr. Richard B. Goetz Goldman Sachs Gives Mr. Michael & Ms. Terri Kaplan Dr. David & Mrs. Sandra Lee Lockton Insurance Brokers, LLC Mr. William R. Loomis Jr. Los Angeles Rams The Mesdag Family Foundation Mr. Adam & Ms. Lauren Nathanson Mr. Arthur J. Ochoa Mr. Barry Porter Nelson & Sharon Rising Nancy and Miles Rubin Mr. Fredric Rosen & Ms. Nadine Schiff-Rosen The Harry & Florence Sloan Foundation Mr. Jay and Ms. Deanie Stein Whittier Trust

Ambassador’s Circle

AnchorFree Inc. Dr. Nina Ansary Hon. Michael C. Camuñez California Community Foundation Mr. Arthur N. Greenberg Nell Cady-Kruse Hon. Mel Levine & Ms. Connie Bruck Mr. George Nolfi Jane and Ron Olson The Crown Robinson Family Ms. Mary Lu Tuthill Ms. Carole Wagner Vallianos & Mr. Peter Vallianos

Benefactor Level

Anonymous Mr. Russell Goldsmith, City National Bank Mr. Scott W. & Ms. Allison Christopher Seth Freeman & Julie Waxman Mr. William H. Hurt Joan and Irwin Jacobs Hon. Mickey Kantor & Ms. Heidi Schulman Mr. Georges Khneysser Ms. Sherry Lansing Ms. Nancy A. Lieberman Ms. Zohreh Mizrahi Mr. Scott Olivet Donald & Susan Rice Charles H. Rivkin Teddy & Ellen Schwarzman Mr. Steven Stathatos Dr. Cynthia A. Telles Ms. Lynda Thomas Ms. Barbera Thornhill Embassy of the U.A.E. Mr. David J. & Ms. Claudia Zuercher

Patron Level

Robert Adler & Alexis Deutsch Adler Robert J. Allan Mr. Jonathan Beutler Ms. Joan Borinstein Ms. JoAnn Bourne Joe & Margot Calabrese The California Wellness Foundation Mr. Mark & Mrs. Anne-Marie Cappellano Mr. Alexander L. & Ms. Linda Cappello Ms. Carla Christofferson Ms. Gail Cohen Mr. Bradford Freeman Ms. Leslie Gilbert-Lurie Ms. Frida P. & Mr. Joel Glucoft Amb. Nina L. Hachigian Mr. Fred Grant & Ms. Tara Hubbard Mr. Brett R. Johnson Ms. Perlette M. Jura Hon. Mickey Kantor & Ms. Heidi Schulman Mrs. Michelle M. Kezirian Ms. Joanne C. Kozberg, Ms. Lindsey Kozberg Mr. Roy Landstrom Mr. Christopher Lawson Mr. Harry J. Leonhardt Esq. Gail & Warren Lieberfarb Mr. Li Lu Mr. Jim Lovelace Frank & Melanie Monestere Mr. Steven S. Myers & Ms. Vivian Soren-Myers Ms. Heidi Novaes Ms. Suzanne Nora Johnson & Mr. David Johnson Larson O’Brien LLP Mr. J. Alan Orlob Ms. Viveca Paulin-Ferrell Mrs. Allison & Mr. Win Pescosolido Mr. Arnold & Ms. Anne Porath Mr. David Rosenblum Sanders Charitable Fund Mr. Richard & Ms. Ellen Sandler Susan C. Schnabel & Edward L. Plummer Mr. Harry & Ms. Marta Stang Mr. Ken Solomon Mr. Nicholas H. Stonnington Mr. Richard & Ms. Sandra Swarz Ms. Josie Tong Mr. Todd Toral Ms. Leslie Weisberg & Mr. James Hyman Mr. Jeffrey & Ms. Vanessa Wright Mr. Richard Ziman

We regret to report the passing of our sustaining member, Mr. Roy Landstrom, in January 2019. The Council sends our condolences to his wife, Sharon Gam, and their family.

Our Leadership

The Honorable Marc B. Nathanson

Co-Chair Chair, U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (1995-2002); Vice Chair, National Democratic Institute; Advisory Council, USC Center on Public Diplomacy Ambassador Rockwell A. Schnabel Co-Chair Chairman, The Sage Group, LLC; Former U.S. Ambassador to Finland and the European Union

Directors

Mr. Sonny H. Astani, Chairman, Astani Enterprises, Inc.

Ambassador Frank Baxter, Chairman Emeritus, Jefferies & Company

Ms. Willow Bay, Dean, USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism

Ambassador Colleen Bell, U.S. Ambassador to Hungary (2014-2017)

The Hon. Howard L. Berman, Senior Advisor, Covington & Burling LLP

Mrs. Lynn A. Booth, President, The Otis Booth Foundation & The Evening Star Foundation

Ms. Elise Buik, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Los Angeles

Mr. Emilio Cadena, President & CEO, Grupo Prodensa

The Hon. Michael C. Camuñez, President & CEO, Monarch Global Strategies LLC

Mr. Charles Chen, Chairman, Eyon Holding Group; President, Chen Yung Foundation; Vice Chairman, Taian Insurance

Ms. Carla Christofferson, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, AECOM

Dr. Bradford W. Edgerton, President, Edgerton Foundation & Plastic Surgeon, SCPMG

Ambassador John Emerson, Vice Chairman, Capital Group International, Inc., Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany

Mr. Richard B. Goetz, Partner, O’Melveny & Myers, LLP

Ambassador Nina Hachigian, Deputy Mayor for International Affairs, City of Los Angeles; Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.S. Mission to ASEAN

Ms. Antonia Hernández, President and CEO, California Community Foundation

Ambassador David Huebner, Former U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand & Samoa

The Hon. Mickey Kantor, Partner, Mayer Brown LLP

Ms. Sherry Lansing, Founder & Chair, The Sherry Lansing Foundation

Dr. Peter Laugharn, President & CEO, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Ambassador Michael Lawson, President & CEO, Los Angeles Urban League

The Hon. Mel Levine, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Mr. Robert W. Liu, Chairman, Tireco, Inc.

Mr. Robert W. Lovelace, Vice Chairman, Capital Group Companies

Ambassador Vilma S. Martinez, U.S. Ambassador to Argentina (2009 – 2013)

Mr. Willem Mesdag, Managing Partner, Red Mountain Capital Partners, LLC

Mr. Arthur J. Ochoa, Senior Vice President, Community Relations & Development, Cedars Sinai Medical Center

Mr. Barry Porter, Managing General Partner, Clarity Partners, Inc.

Mr. Nelson C. Rising, CEO, Rising Realty Partners

Ambassador Charles Rivkin, CEO, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA); Former Assistant Secretary of State for Business & Economic Affairs, U.S. State Department

Mr. Fredric D. Rosen, Former CEO, Ticketmaster

The Hon. Nancy Rubin, Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights; Presidential Appointee to the White House Council for Community Solutions

Ms. Maria Salinas, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

Mr. Harry Evans Sloan, Chairman & CEO, Global Eagle Acquisition

Mr. Gene Sykes, CEO, LA2028; Managing Director & Co-chair, Global Mergers & Acquisitions, Goldman Sachs & Co.

Dr. Cynthia A. Telles, Director, Spanish-Speaking Psychosocial Clinic, Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital, UCLA School of Medicine

Ambassador Robert H. Tuttle, Co-Managing Partner, Tuttle-Click Automotive Group; Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom (2005-2009)

A special welcome to our new Directors in 2018: Emilio Cadena, John Emerson, Michael Lawson, Gene Sykes, and Maria Salinas.

In 2019, the Pacific Council Board of Directors plans to add two or three Emerging Leaders to the Board, allowing them the opportunity to participate in leading and providing strategic direction for the organization.

Our Team

Executive Team

Dr. Jerrold D. Green, President & CEO

Ms. Jennifer A. Faust, Executive Director

Ms. Kasia Bzdak Perdue, Vice President & COO

Ms. Melissa Lockhart Fortner, Vice President

Ms. Lauren Batten, Development Officer

Mr. Justin Chapman, Communications Officer

Ms. Nastasha Everheart, Chief Membership Officer

Ms. Amy Exelby, Senior Officer, Planning and Evaluation

Ms. Julia L. Jamnejad, Chief Innovation Officer

Mr. Alex Jasiulek, Membership Outreach Officer

Mr. Chaka Jones, Operations Officer

Ms. Amie Kashon, Senior Officer, Initiatives

Ms. Madison Jones McAleese, Communications Associate

Ms. Ashley McKenzie, Senior Officer, Delegations

Mr. Alexandre Moore, Events Officer

Ms. Marissa Moran, Senior Communications Officer

Ms. Kelley Newton, Executive Coordinator to the President & Board

Ms. Ilyssa Padrid-Dykman, Member Engagement Officer

Ms. Sumaya Quillian, Programs Associate

Mr. Derek Richardson, Development Officer

Ms. Moriah Tafoya, Programs Associate

Ms. Ina Thigith, Membership Associate

Mr. Thomas Zimmerman, Chief Programs Officer

Ms. Millie Zucker, Special Assistant

Categories
atavist-organization-23110

A Matter of Time

Two years ago we pooled our experience as nongovernmental observers of the U.S. Military Commissions at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba—the most important terrorism cases in our country’s history—and developed a set of practical, bipartisan proposals for fairly and transparently expediting the halting pace of the proceedings [1].

We were motivated then, as we are now, not by a desire for a particular result by a particular date. Our concern remains the process—its integrity, its defensibility—and the degree to which chronic delays at Guantánamo risk undermining public faith in the American legal system.

The victims of these atrocities deserve a clear path forward—as a nation of laws, we all do.

These are the issues—victims and values—that have prompted us to reconvene and try again to point the way toward an expeditious resolution of Guantánamo’s two ongoing death-penalty cases: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) et al. and Abd al Rahim al Nashiri. Over the past two years, we have continued to observe the Guantánamo proceedings—50 of us have now spent a collective 255 days at Camp Justice—and we have grown only more frustrated by the roadblocks that thwart something as basic as a trial date. To reach the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks without even knowing what year the 9/11 trial is expected to begin, after six years of pretrial jockeying and sparring, is an affront to the surviving families’ anger, pain, and right to an adjudicated outcome. It is also an affront to our system of, commitment to, and reputation for justice—at home and abroad.

Under the current statutory regime, however, there is still no mechanism for ending the procedural skirmishes, holding both sides accountable, and propelling these proceedings toward trial. As long as Guantánamo’s judges lack the will to enforce deadlines and the authority to impose meaningful consequences, the cases will not reach trial within any tenable timeframe, if ever at all. This uncertainty hurts not just the victims but everyone involved. We continue to believe that the principal recommendation of our 2016 report, Up to Speed, in which we recommend that federal judges are sent to Guantanamo——offers a pragmatic, nonpolitical solution to getting these cases on track. But we now go a step further.

Our task force is in unanimous agreement that federal judges should be sent to Guantánamo with expanded powers, including the authority to issue binding orders on discovery and, to the extent necessary, sanction parties that do not or will not comply.

This tool would be both statutory and psychological: we cannot ask judges to be more resolute if they know their orders lack teeth. To assist with the enormous burdens of discovery, the Guantánamo judges should also have the latitude to appoint a magistrate and electronic discovery specialist, just as Article III judges routinely do in complex litigation stateside. From the beginning of these proceedings, the overwhelming obstacle has been the tug-of-war over classified information related to the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation (RDI) program—evidence caught between the government’s legitimate interest in protecting national security and the defense’s right to investigate and defend against the charges.

With the death penalty looming over these cases, the question of what is discoverable and what isn’t has even greater ramifications. If the prosecution hopes to convict KSM and his cohorts—and carry out their executions—it will need to permit a judge to privately review documents related to the defendants’ experiences in the CIA’s secret prisons and either turn over those documents the court deems relevant or provide a satisfactory substitute, i.e., a summary or written admission of what the relevant evidence contains. If the defense, on the other hand, wishes to gain access to RDI-related evidence, it will need to establish that each discovery request is legally necessary—that the information is relevant, noncumulative, and helpful to its case and that the proffered summary or admission is inadequate. If the government, for whatever political, military, or logistical reason, won’t produce relevant discovery, or if the defense won’t tailor its requests to evidence that satisfies the standard for legal relevance, then there truly may be no end in sight. Allowing the parties to wrangle indefinitely, without establishing deadlines or levying consequences, undercuts the whole point of this process.

If these cases are to move forward, Guantánamo’s judges need to establish boundaries and enforce timetables for all parties. That could mean ending discovery and setting a trial date sooner than the defense would like, a remedy already within the court’s discretion. Or—to ensure the court’s powers are symmetrical—it could mean limiting the punishment that the prosecution is entitled to seek at sentencing, even removing the death penalty from consideration.

We take this position without passing any judgment on the merits of the death penalty or its appropriateness in these cases. Nor are we addressing the legal and moral dimensions of the RDI program. Our task force encompasses a wide range of opinion on these subjects. What we agree on is that, as a practical matter, the death penalty will never be imposed on any of these defendants unless the discovery process is expeditiously and fairly concluded. It is time that we all come to terms with the fate of these trials if the evidentiary standoff is not addressed. Again, we think that federal judges are ideally suited for deciding those questions, and we remain optimistic that narrow amendments to the Military Commissions Act, which we describe below, can equip them to propel the Guantánamo cases toward a fair and final conclusion.

The Evidentiary Stalemate

It has been 15 years now since suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured, 11 years since he and his four codefendants were transferred to Guantánamo, and six years since their arraignment. Still, no trial date has been established, and none is on the horizon. Indeed, based on the hearing dates proposed for 2019—and the abrupt retirement of the judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, who is stepping down September 30 after presiding over the case since 2012—there is no chance that a trial could even start until 2020 [2]. (The case against al Nashiri, the alleged USS Cole bomber, has been derailed by an alleged breach of attorney-client confidentiality—and the judge there, Air Force Col. Vance Spath, is also retiring [3]. ) While many factors have contributed to the glacial pace, from geographical isolation to the particularities of military law, the overarching obstacle is, has been, and likely will continue to be discovery: the battle over classified documents and witnesses related to the U.S. government’s treatment of the individual defendants.

The volume of sensitive information at issue is extraordinary—more data than the Library of Congress’s entire collection of printed materials. Simply collecting it all has been a herculean undertaking for the prosecution, especially since the information resides in the hands of multiple agencies, some of which do not fall under the Department of Defense’s control. Reviewing it has been an even more daunting task. The government is understandably protective of the sources and methods it employed in the worldwide pursuit of those who perpetrated the September 11 attacks. Producing these materials risks compromising classified tools; it also risks revealing details of what the defendants were subjected to in secret prisons.

Janet Hamlin
Janet Hamlin

For the defense, meanwhile, that RDI evidence is potentially a matter of life and death—as their treatment in detention forms the centerpiece of their efforts to avoid execution. The principles governing access to such evidence have been enshrined in decades of legal precedent. If, for instance, key materials have been intentionally destroyed, such as the videotaped waterboarding of detainees, the government may be in violation of its discovery obligations [4]. If a detainee made statements that were unlawfully coerced, such testimony (and its fruits) may be inadmissible at trial against him [5]. And if defense counsel can establish that a client has endured inhumane treatment, a jury that in its fact-finding role votes to convict may in the penalty phase view the government’s conduct as mitigating evidence—what the U.S. Supreme Court has called the “reasoned moral response” that makes capital cases different—and vote to spare his life [6]. Assuming a judge determines the evidence is relevant, noncumulative, and helpful [7], it is well established that the defense is entitled to the information it is seeking in some form; even those accused of the most barbarous acts have a right to exculpatory evidence [8]. In capital cases, it is left to the judge to decide what evidence is mitigating for purposes of the penalty phase. We note, however, that Rule for Military Commissions 1004 grants the accused “broad latitude to present evidence in … mitigation [9].”

But we also recognize that the defense counsel have met the prosecution’s rigid secrecy with broad requests and relentless objections, deluging the Military Commissions with hundreds of motions. Because each of the five 9/11 defendants has his own team of lawyers, their written pleadings and oral arguments often overlap—sometimes creating a round robin of protestations that can dominate the hearings. Together, defense counsel has sought access to the entire 6.2 million-page trove of classified documents that formed the basis for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s study of the RDI program [10]. While the government has produced some responsive information [11], the defense continues to insist that more is required. In the first few months of 2018 alone, the defense has filed motions to compel the production of witnesses, interrogator statements, phone bills, black site locations, and information related to intelligence agency monitoring of the prison camp—to name a few examples.

The prosecution has resisted most of these efforts, arguing that the defense already has proof of what it seeks. “We have given them discovery that describes in vivid detail in many cases the treatment of the accused,” said prosecutor Jeffrey Groharing at an April 2018 hearing. “They can offer any piece of that, and we’re not going to dispute it.” The defense, in turn, has argued that the government’s case will collapse if the defense is denied its right to thoroughly investigate. “[E]very ineffective assistance of counsel case, every capital case that’s been reversed by the Supreme Court, has involved a lawyer who just took the discovery that the government gave and then didn’t do anything else,” KSM attorney David Nevin said at the same hearing. “These cases go down because lawyers don’t investigate.”

In short, even under the best of circumstances, moving these cases forward would be a challenge.

But, as currently constituted, the Military Commissions lack the tools and resources to break the impasse. That judicial vacuum allows every party to righteously express frustration. It invites each to accuse the other of gamesmanship. The longer discovery drags on, the more each side purports to claim the moral high ground for itself. Meanwhile, for the families who travel back and forth to Guantánamo in hopes of seeing justice administered, each passing year brings only more uncertainty—the prospect of trial, verdict, and finality no less elusive today than when these proceedings began.

A Renewed Call for Federal Judges

When we last endeavored to diagnose the delays plaguing Guantánamo, we coalesced around a structural, commonsense remedy that united the various viewpoints of our group: put federal judges in charge. More than ever, we think their special combination of constitutional powers, management skills, and lifetime tenure makes them ideally suited to expedite the two death-penalty cases. As we noted then, many of us have appeared in U.S. District Courts across the country and have witnessed firsthand the time-tested expertise and gravitas of the federal judiciary. We know from experience what they will and will not put up with. And unlike military judges, who report to the Pentagon, federal judges are free to call their own shots. Having no superiors, they will not be susceptible to perceptions of undue command influence [12].

We believe that people on both sides of the aisle have come to share our view.

Indeed, the families of four young Americans killed in Syria by the Islamic State have pleaded with the U.S. government not to take the recently apprehended suspects to Guantánamo. “Our first choice would be to try them in a federal criminal court, where they belong because their victims were Americans,” the parents of James Foley, Kayla Mueller, Steven Sotloff, and Peter Kassig wrote in a February op-ed. “Give them the fair trial that makes our nation great.” President Trump, who last November demanded the death penalty for Uzbek-born Sayfullo Saipov after eight people were mowed down with a rented truck in New York, recognized that Guantánamo could not deliver the “quick justice” he desired. “Would love to send the NYC terrorist to Guantanamo,” the President tweeted, “but statistically that process takes much longer than going through the Federal system [13].”

He is right, of course. The federal courts—and the independent, experienced, no-nonsense judges who preside over them—have successfully resolved hundreds of cases related to jihadist terror or national security since 9/11. To be clear, our task force is not advocating for the transfer of the Guantánamo cases to the U.S. mainland; we want federal judges to take the bench at Guantánamo. If U.S. District Judges were to bring their sound judgment to bear on the Guantánamo proceedings, we remain optimistic that they would help propel the Military Commissions to fair, final conclusions.

To that end, we previously proposed a simple amendment to Section 948j of the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (MCA), requiring the appointment of current or former U.S. District Judges for assignment to Military Commission cases. While we recognized that this revision would require congressional approval—always an ambitious proposition in this highly partisan climate—Congress’s embrace in the FY2018 defense bill of two of our more modest recommendations has encouraged us that functional, concrete remedies for Guantánamo’s on-again, off-again proceedings can bring together diverse coalitions.

Today, we not only renew our call for sending federal judges to Guantánamo but also propose equipping them with powers more commensurate with those of an Article III court.

Because Guantánamo’s military judges have lacked sufficient resources to sift through the staggering volume of contested evidence, we believe that federal judges assigned to Guantánamo should at a minimum have the statutory authority to appoint a magistrate judge to manage discovery and other pretrial matters. And, as necessary, the magistrate should have the discretion to appoint an electronic discovery specialist to help process that data.

As a group mostly of lawyers, many of us litigators, we have a keen appreciation for how our increasingly digital world has turned the discovery process into a costly, high-stakes slog through terabytes of electronically stored information (ESI). Overseeing the preservation, collection, review, and production of that evidence—while also safeguarding privileged communications—can quickly swamp and exhaust the capacity of the court. Under 28 U.S.C. § 631 et seq., U.S. District Judges are authorized to appoint magistrates to assist with those issues, and hundreds of them are currently serving as discovery experts. Magistrates establish ESI protocols for the parties; they adjudicate discovery disputes, including motions to compel and claims of spoliation; and they conduct in camera reviews of confidential information to determine whether it must be disclosed. Given the technological hurdles of searching and cataloging so much data, magistrates, in turn, often enlist the services of electronic discovery specialists.

While we do not underestimate the volume or sensitivity of the evidence in dispute at Guantánamo, we feel confident that a U.S. District Judge would inherently be better positioned to evaluate the millions of pieces of classified information that have thus far ensnared the cases in years-long discovery disputes.

If that judge were to also have the benefit of frontline discovery specialists—a standard feature of complex litigation in our federal courts—the impact on the Guantánamo proceedings would be immediate. Even if military judges remain in charge, they ought to at least be equipped with the same case-management resources that enable U.S. District Judges to efficiently administer the discovery process.

Authorize Federal Judges to Enforce a Timetable

If we are serious about breaking the Guantánamo logjam, we need to do more than send federal judges and equip them with expert help. In their own courtrooms, they enjoy the statutory authority to issue binding orders on discovery and sanction parties that do not comply—ultimately, the threat of fines, adverse jury instructions, or even termination of the case is what keeps a court’s scheduling orders from being more than mere suggestions. Without the power to set and enforce a timetable at Guantánamo, we fear that even formidable, fiercely independent U.S. District Judges might have difficulty bringing these cases up to speed.

The problem, as we see it, is that neither side is especially eager to try its case. The defense, obligated to fight for its clients’ lives, has every incentive to run out the clock. The prosecution, meanwhile, does not want the biggest mass-murder trial in the nation’s history to be overshadowed by a blow-by-blow account of the government’s own conduct. So, as if following a script, the parties repeat the same pattern month after month, year after year: the defense casting a wide net, and the government embarking on a time-consuming review of what it will and will not share.

A judge needs to intervene and assert control. Regardless of how essential or peripheral a defense motion may be, the government has faced no consequences for its inability or unwillingness to make timely productions of evidence.

The defense, likewise, has not been seriously forced to contemplate the reality that discovery must be relevant and must reach an end. A litigant in a federal court would eventually be subject to an order to show cause requiring the party to explain, justify, or prove why it should not be sanctioned for its failure to meet a particular deadline. Not at Guantánamo. Properly empowered, a federal judge would be able to call the question—conduct in camera hearings, determine relevance, establish a discovery cutoff date, and then hold everyone to that schedule.

Section 949p-4(b) of the MCA provides for the “discovery of, and access to, classified information by the accused,” but as shown below, it is silent on the sort of remedial authority that would enable a judge to end the seemingly indefinite wrangling over pretrial discovery of classified material.

We therefore propose amending Section 949p-4(b) so that federal judges, if empaneled, would be granted the authority to impose discovery sanctions, including limiting the maximum penalties that may be sought at sentencing. Our suggested revision would add a fourth subsection:

By giving the court a cudgel to enforce its discovery orders, we believe that the Guantánamo proceedings would take a dramatic, and more realistic, turn. If the government can make responsive productions (or summaries/admissions in lieu of production) to valid RDI-related requests, then it should say so and be required to adhere to a strict timeframe. If, on the other hand, the government is unable or unwilling to ever produce the requested evidence in any form, then it should also be required to say so. As long as the parties circle each other, rather than chart a course to trial, the prosecution will never have an opportunity to impose a death sentence anyway. That is true regardless of the discovery sanctions available to the presiding judge. Our proposed amendment merely crystallizes and accelerates the inevitable. And it looks to the court, not the parties, to decide what is and is not relevant, and what summaries and/or admissions might supplant the need to turn over relevant classified material.

We can imagine this playing out in a few ways. Assuming the defense in the 9/11 proceedings will continue to seek as much RDI-related information as possible, we would expect the prosecution to respond, as it has previously, that it is doing its best to collect and evaluate highly sensitive documents but cannot predict when that process will be finished. Perhaps, after months or years of partial productions, discovery remains incomplete. Or perhaps, as has occurred more recently, the government deems discovery complete, but the defense argues that relevant information has been withheld. Under our proposal, a judge would have the authority to cut to the chase.

If the court determines that the prosecution still owes the defense more discovery, it would be able to demand that the government choose a date for completing production. Whatever timeline the prosecution were to offer, at least there would be a plan. Taking the prosecution at its word, the court would be able to schedule an end to discovery and get a trial date on the calendar. If the price for running afoul of those scheduling orders were the end of its capital case, the prosecution would have a strong impetus for meeting every deadline. Alternatively, if the prosecution were unable or unwilling to propose a reasonable timeline, then an amendment to Section 949p-4(b) would allow the judge to take the death penalty off the table right then and there. The prospect of such a severe sanction might inspire the prosecution to devise a schedule it can stick to. Or it might serve as a reality check: foreclosing the death penalty, streamlining the proceedings, and perhaps setting the stage for a plea agreement. Either way, empowering a judge to make that call would likely break the impasse that has kept a trial date out of reach.

Conclusion

While we believe that the recommendations described here would have an immediate effect on the Guantánamo proceedings, our proposal is not limited to the current moment. These amendments could have altered the course of the pending trials years ago, and they will remain applicable well into the future—whether for these cases or for cases not yet brought. Our task force spans a diverse range of perspectives, but we all share a commitment to the transparency and integrity of the American system of justice, which means taking steps now to construct a fair and predictable path forward. We should do so both for the victims and for our values.

The Pacific Council’s GTMO Task Force includes 23 members, all of whom have traveled to Guantánamo as official civilian observers.

GTMO Task Force Co-Chairs

Mr. Richard B. Goetz, Partner, O’Melveny & Myers LLP

Ms. Michelle M. Kezirian, Attorney at Law

GTMO Task Force

Mr. Robert R. Begland, Jr. Partner, Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP

The Honorable Robert C. Bonner, Senior Principal, Sentinel HS Group

Dr. Lyn Boyd-Judson, Director, Levan Institute for Humanities & Ethics, USC

Mr. Joe Calabrese, Partner, Latham & Watkins LLP

Mr. Charles Gillig, Supervising Attorney, Neighborhood Legal Services

Dr. Jerrold Green, President & CEO, Pacific Council on International Policy

Ms. Carol Leslie Hamilton, Attorney, Law Office of Carol Leslie Hamilton

Ms. Perlette M. Jura, Partner, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Mr. Michael Kaplan, Co-Partner, ARKA Properties

Mr. Victor I. King, University Legal Counsel, California State University, Los Angeles

Mr. Harry J. Leonhardt, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer & Corporate Secretary, Halozyme

Ms. Melanie Monestere, Trusts & Estates Attorney (retired)

Mr. John F. Nader, General Counsel, Data Society

Ms. Tara Paul, Attorney at Law, Water Practice Group, Nossaman LLP

Dr. K. Jack Riley, Vice President & Director, RAND National Security Research Division

Mr. John Stamper, Litigation Partner, O’Melveny & Myers (ret.)

Mr. Harry Stang, Senior Counsel, Bryan Cave LLP

Mr. Steven Stathatos, Attorney, Buchalter Nemer

Mr. Paul J. Tauber, Partner, Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP

Mr. Todd Toral, Partner, Jenner & Block LLP

Ms. Carole Wagner Vallianos, Principal, Law Offices of Carole Wagner Vallianos & President & CEO, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (ret.)

Staff

Mr. Jared R. Ginsburg, Litigation Associate, O’Melveny & Myers LLP

Mr. Jesse Katz, Editor, O’Melveny & Myers LLP

Ms. Ashley McKenzie, Senior Officer, Delegations, Pacific Council on International Policy

Ms. Marissa Moran, Senior Officer, Communications, Pacific Council

Mr. Justin Chapman, Officer, Communications, Pacific Council

Ms. Madison Jones, Associate, Communications, Pacific Council

Ms. Cynthia Tan provided report design. Ms. Carol Hamilton, Mr. Michael Kaplan, and Mr. Harry Leonhardt provided photos.

This report was published in September 2018. Download a printable version of this report here.

Endnotes

1. Our 2016 report, Up to Speed, urged Congress to send federal judges to Guantánamo to preside over the military trials. We also recommended that: counsel be permitted to appear by videoconference for pretrial matters; each judge be required to set a feasible trial date; surviving families be invited to provide victim impact statements without waiting until sentencing; and proceedings be broadcast or streamed for the public. The latter two ideas captured the attention of Congress, which amended the FY2018 defense appropriations bill to: (i) encourage Guantánamo’s military judges to take recorded testimony from the families of victims wishing to memorialize their losses, and (ii) order a study of the feasibility and advisability of making Military Commission hearings available for public viewing over the internet.

2. Carol Rosenberg, Army judge not planning for 9/11 trial at Guantánamo in 2019, MIAMI HERALD, June 13, 2018, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/guantanamo/article213108769.html; Carol Rosenberg, Sept. 11 judge quits terror trial, names successor as he announces retirement, MIAMI HERALD, August 27, 2018, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/guantanamo/article217385995.html.

3. Carol Rosenberg, Frustrated USS Cole case judge retiring from military service, MIAMI HERALD, July 5, 2018, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/guantanamo/article214354414.html.

4. See Illinois v. Fisher, 540 U.S. 544, 547-48 (2004) (a failure to preserve potentially useful evidence constitutes a denial of due process if a criminal defendant can show bad faith on the part of the government) (citing Arizona v. Youngblood, 488 U.S. 51, 58 (1988)). The rules for unavailable evidence in Rule for Military Commissions (R.M.C.) 703(f)(2) are consistent with, but broader than, the due process jurisprudence related to the preservation of evidence. R.M.C. 703(f)(2) provides a “critically important to a fair trial” test.

5. See Brown v. Mississippi, 297 U.S. 278, 286 (1936) (a conviction obtained by confessions procured through the use of torture is not the commission of mere error, but of “a wrong so fundamental that it mak[es] the whole proceeding a mere pretense of a trial and renders the conviction and sentence wholly void”); Rabbani v. Obama, 656 F. Supp. 2d 45, 54 (D.D.C. 2009) (“[E]vidence that coercion, abuse or torture were used to obtain inculpatory statements from [a] defendant at any point during his detention must be produced.”) (quoting Lyons v. Oklahoma, 322 U.S. 596, 603 (1944)). See also 10 U.S.C. § 948r(a) (“No statement obtained by the use of torture or by cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment…whether or not under color of law, shall be admissible in a military commission under this chapter…”) (But a statement of the accused may be admitted in evidence in a military commission only if the military judge finds— ‘‘(1) that the totality of the circumstances renders the statement reliable and possessing sufficient probative value; and ‘‘(2) that— ‘‘(A) the statement was made incident to lawful conduct during military operations at the point of capture or during closely related active combat engagement, and the interests of justice would best be served by admission of the statement into evidence; or ‘‘(B) the statement was voluntarily given. 10 U.S.C.§948r(c)).

6. See Skipper v. South Carolina, 476 U.S. 1, 4 (1986) (a sentencer in capital cases may not refuse to consider or be precluded from considering “any relevant mitigating evidence”) (quoting Eddings v. Oklahoma, 455 U.S. 104, 114 (1982)). See also 10 U.S.C. § 949j(b)(3) (Trial counsel in a military commission “shall…disclose to the defense the existence of evidence…that reasonably may be viewed as mitigation evidence at sentencing.”).

7. See 10 U.S.C. § 949p-4(a)(2); Rules for Military Commissions (R.M.C.) 701 and 703; see also United States v. Yunis, 867 F.2d 617, 622 (D.C. Cir. 1989).

8. See Washington v. Texas, 388 U.S. 14, 19 (1967) (every accused defendant has a right to a robust factual record, and to obtain witnesses and evidence to present a complete defense); Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87 (1963) (suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment).

9. See Rule for Military Commissions (R.M.C.) 1004.

10. Only the SSCI’s 500-page executive summary has been made public. The full 6,700-page report, as well as the millions of underlying operational cables, intelligence reports, internal memoranda and emails, briefing materials, interview transcripts, contracts, and other records, remains classified.

11. According to Chief Defense Counsel Brigadier General John G. Baker, the government has produced 17,269 pages of more than 6,200,000 pages of known RDI materials as of February 23, 2018.

12. While we do not express any view on the circumstances that led to the replacement of the two most recent full-time Convening Authorities—Harvey Rishikof (who was dismissed in February 2018) and Retired Marine Maj. Gen. Vaughn Ary (who resigned in March 2015)—their answerability to the Pentagon only underscores the need to appoint federal judges shielded from a chain of command.

13. On May 2, 2018, under a January 30 executive order signed by President Trump, Secretary of Defense James Mattis delivered to the White House an updated policy “governing the criteria for transfer of individuals to the detention facility at U.S. Naval Station Guantánamo Bay.” While the Pentagon has not publicly disclosed the substance of the recommendations, the subject matter does not address the pace of Guantánamo’s pending cases or provide a mechanism for moving them to trial.

About the Pacific Council

The Los Angeles-based Pacific Council on International Policy is an independent, nonpartisan organization committed to building the vast potential of the West Coast for impact on global issues, discourse, and policy. Since 1995, the Pacific Council has hosted discussion events on issues of global importance, convened task forces and working groups to address pressing policy challenges, and built a network of globally-minded members across the West Coast and the world.

The Pacific Council is governed by a Board of Directors chaired by Mr. Marc B. Nathanson, Chairman of Mapleton Investments, and Ambassador Rockwell A. Schnabel, former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union. Dr. Jerrold D. Green serves as the President and CEO. The Pacific Council is a 501c(3) non-profit organization. Its work is made possible by financial contributions and in-kind support from individuals, corporations, foundations, and other organizations.

Learn more at pacificcouncil.org.

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2016 Annual Report

From the President & CEO

Looking Back at 2016

As the Pacific Council’s 21st year concludes, we have much to be proud of both as an organization and as a community of individuals who are passionate about global affairs.

We also know there is much that remains to be done.

This year, we witnessed the tragedy in Syria get worse at the expense of its most vulnerable citizens; global terror shook the western world with attacks in France, Belgium, and elsewhere; and Colombia finalized a landmark (but contentious) peace deal. World leaders faced a deepening migrant crisis, the global threat of a Zika pandemic, and new political trends that had previously seemed unimaginable. We saw decades-old tensions diminish as President Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba in over 85 years. And we watched as a divisive American presidential race and the Brexit vote in the U.K. projected an unpredictable future onto the global stage.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Council continued to evolve as an organization. In 2016, we elected our first-ever member class with a majority of women, and we hosted our first Members Weekend conference without a single all-male panel. Throughout the year, we welcomed prominent leaders with diverse policy orientations to provide insights into our changing world, and sent delegations of members on fact-finding visits across the country and around the world.

We improved our digital sophistication and reach, expanding our web platform to provide up-to-date news and ideas from the Council, livestream video of some of our most important events, and connect members around the world. Members Weekend brought with it a new mobile app with real-time participant polling, agenda-setting, feedback, and messaging abilities.

Throughout the year, our members continued to put their expertise into action: the Guantánamo Bay Task Force released a report of its recommendations in February; members in Seattle, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles helped develop our new water scarcity project over six months with support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation; and in December, experts weighed in on the new administration’s foreign policy agenda in the First 100 Days series.

As we look ahead, we see a Pacific Council poised for greater impact and growth. In 2017, we will advance our water scarcity project and our Mexico Initiative. We will host a special “State of the Global City” address with Mayor Eric Garcetti, supported by the RM Liu Foundation, and a half-day “SeouLA” conference in partnership with the Korea Foundation. Members will lead international delegations to Doha, Abu Dhabi, Brussels, The Hague, and Mexico City. Indeed, 2017 promises to be a momentous year as we track the first year of President Donald J. Trump’s administration and the resulting changes to U.S. foreign policy.

We look forward to working with you for years to come. As ever, we are humbled and grateful for your support.

Warm regards,

Dr. Jerrold D. GreenPresident & CEO

What is the Pacific Council?

http://www.pacificcouncil.org

The Pacific Council is an international affairs organization.

We are more than a think tank: we work to make the U.S. West Coast a foreign policy powerhouse.

We are independent. We are non-partisan.

Members are at the heart of what we do. We bring together leaders from different industries and sectors to share ideas, keep up on foreign affairs, and effect change on issues that are important at home and abroad. Our community is built on a shared commitment to international affairs, dialogue, and collaboration.

Our Values

The Pacific Council is a non-profit committed to furthering constructive, sophisticated discourse on complex global issues. We believe that dialogue leads to innovation, while inflammatory, polemical, or hyper-partisan perspectives hinder efforts to find common ground.

We believe in the transformative power of a community of leaders whose experiences are wide and varied, but who are bound together by a shared commitment to improved global outcomes. No one at the Pacific Council is a spectator. Together, we develop the ideas that inform and drive global progress.

Building a Member Community

The Pacific Council is first and foremost an organization of people: members are at the heart of what we do.

Our membership spans business, civic, and political leaders, policy and issue experts, and qualified individuals with demonstrated interest in and commitment to international affairs. We are a community of thoughtful, concerned global citizens whose experience informs smart policy and discourse.

“Smart” Growth

The Pacific Council’s growth is gradual and deliberate: every Pacific Council member is nominated by another member and elected by the board of directors.

Our Smart Growth plan ensures that as the Pacific Council community grows, we balance the perspectives, backgrounds, and identities represented within that community, meet our financial imperatives, and recruit experts and practitioners that can help us make an impact on international affairs.

In 2016, the board elected 236 new members, increasing our ranks to nearly 1,100 leaders based in Southern California, the Bay Area, the Pacific Northwest, and around the world.

For the first time in our 21-year history, we elected two membership classes (out of four) with more women than men.

Our sustaining member community also grew in 2016 – by 10 percent. Sustaining member support year over year ensures the Pacific Council’s strong future, and we are humbled by their commitment and vision.

How Are We Doing?

We are proud that members are happy with the services the Pacific Council provides. Around 90 percent of members renewed their membership in 2016. In response to an April 2016 survey, 88 percent of members said that they were likely to recommend the Pacific Council to friends or colleagues.

Balance Initiative

Launched in 2016, our Balance Initiative seeks to recruit more women to the Pacific Council and feature their expertise as members and as speakers.

We know that women are underrepresented in foreign policy and national security positions in government, academia, and think tanks. Our own membership consisted of only 22 percent women in 2008, and with significant effort since then, today women represent 35 percent of all members. With that number we already outpace peer organizations, but we aim to do much better: we seek to set the gold standard on representation of women leaders in our male-dominated field.

In 2016, we pledged in an open letter to all members to never again feature a panel of all men at a Pacific Council conference.

There are other, less-heard voices that have just as much authority and expertise. Members Weekend 2016 was a milestone in that effort as our very first conference without a single all-male panel.

Paying It Forward

Our inclusivity efforts are not cosmetic: diversity in thought, experience, and worldview strengthens the Pacific Council as a membership community and as a foreign affairs thought leader on the West Coast. With every new perspective, our community grows stronger.

In that spirit we launched the Pay It Forward campaign at the end of 2016. Contributions to the new campaign support organization efforts to bring a rich diversity of perspectives into our global affairs work.

By the end of the year, individual donations totaled over $115,000, including a generous $50,000 matching gift from an anonymous donor. Nearly 100 members participated, voting with their wallets to make inclusivity a key component of our international affairs work.

The funds raised will help the Pacific Council offset the cost of participation for young people and not-for-profit professionals, bring in more women as speakers and members, and invest time and resources into actively recruiting from other underrepresented groups in the coming year.

Leading the Global Affairs Conversation on the West Coast

Every year, the Pacific Council holds a series of events and meetings for members to stay up-to-date on issues of global importance. Our delegations travel to domestic sites that are of global interest, and to international destinations with special relevance to U.S. policy. The discussions feature global leaders, thinkers, and policymakers who offer insider perspectives or innovative outsider opinions.

We also: host regular Situation Briefing teleconferences on breaking developments in international affairs; work together with members to develop and share op-eds and analysis on our web Newsroom; and maintain a strong presence on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. We keep the conversation flowing.

Members Weekend 2016

The Pacific Council connects a network of people from different industries and sectors to share ideas, keep up on foreign affairs, and effect change on issues that are important at home and abroad.

Members Weekend is a centerpiece of that effort. Our 2016 conference convened 265 of the best and brightest in business, government, academia, and beyond.

The event in October came during the last month of a heated U.S. presidential campaign season. Yet despite the challenging and divisive rhetoric that dominated the airwaves, members and guests of the Pacific Council bridged industries, ideologies, and party lines to engage in lively, thoughtful discussions and intelligent debates over the course of two days.

Marquee speakers at Members Weekend 2016 included U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who argued forcefully for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and trade agreements like it, and U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson together with her counterpart, Mexican Ambassador to the United States Carlos Sada, discussing what effect the “build the wall” rhetoric will have on U.S.-Mexico relations.

Other discussions during the weekend included the refugee crisis, the fight against ISIL on social media, the race for a Zika vaccine, California’s drought and its connection to global water scarcity, the changing trade and investment climate in African nations, and more. Experts from the U.S. Department of State, the Council on Foreign Relations, RAND Corporation, the Los Angeles Times, and many other institutions participated in plenary and breakout sessions.

Members Weekend is supported each year by corporate, foundation, and individual sponsors who are passionate about global affairs. We are grateful to Goldman Sachs Gives, Cedars-Sinai, Dr. Nina Ansary, ManattJones Global Strategies, Bryan Cave, Sunrider International, and the USC Center on Public Diplomacy for their generous support of Members Weekend 2016.

Members Leading the Discussion

At the Pacific Council, members are the experts. Throughout the year, members helped to shape public discourse by sharing thoughtful perspectives on current international events, issues, and trends in the Pacific Council Newsroom. We published analysis of the refugee crisis, trade, food security, terrorism, and so much more.

During 2016, the online Newsroom also became the official place for members to catch up on summaries from events, dispatches from our international delegations, and our weekly “Global Beat” roundup of important news stories around the world.

Following the U.S. presidential election in November, Council experts weighed in on the top foreign policy priorities for the next administration in our “First 100 Days” interview series. They counseled:

Meetings and Events

In 2016, we welcomed prominent leaders with diverse policy orientations to provide insights into our changing world. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker addressed the current backlash against free trade. U.S. Ambassador Roberta Jacobson and Mexican Ambassador Carlos Sada discussed the U.S.-Mexico relationship and its connection to damaging campaign rhetoric. We also heard from CIA Director John Brennan, Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, former Afghanistan, Iraq, and UN Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and numerous other thinkers and doers who shape our world.

All in all, members took part in 70 total discussions with more than 180 experts over the course of the year.

Mary Robinson: Winner of the 2016 Warren Christopher Award

The Pacific Council presents the Warren Christopher Public Service Award to those who demonstrate commitment to international and domestic affairs, to the highest ethical standards, to promotion of the common good, to equality and fairness, and to government service as a noble pursuit.

Former president of Ireland Mary Robinson became the second recipient of the Christopher Award in January 2016, following the inaugural award to former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2013.

Robinson’s career includes service as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa and as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change. Today she leads the Mary Robinson Foundation—Climate Justice as president. In 2009, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian award – from President Obama. The Pacific Council’s Warren Christopher Public Service Award honors the lifetime achievements of former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, the former longtime chair of the Pacific Council’s board of directors.

“This means a great deal to me because I knew Warren Christopher,” Robinson told the Pacific Council as she accepted the award. “I met him on a number of occasions, and he impressed me as the ultimate person who served the public well in governmental office. He just knew, in a very particular way, what it meant to have the honor to serve. That is leadership. I am honored to receive this award.”

Described by President Bill Clinton as a man who had “the stamina, steel and judgment to accomplish things that were truly extraordinary,” Warren Christopher was an exemplary public servant. His distinguished career spanned service as a young Naval officer, an attorney at O’Melveny and Myers, the nation’s top diplomat, and the head of what came to be called the Christopher Commission in the wake of the Rodney King incident. As deputy secretary of state, he was awarded the Medal of Freedom—the nation’s highest civilian award—by President Jimmy Carter on January 16, 1981, for his role in negotiating the release of 52 American hostages held in Iran for 444 days.

Delegations

Pacific Council members traveling on our Country Dialogues, National Delegations, and Local Field Forays learn firsthand about the issues, people, events, and trends that shape our world. In holding discussions and fostering closer ties with leaders and partners around the globe, delegates serve as ambassadors representing the Pacific Council during the visit and bring back new ideas upon their return.

In 2016, our international delegations traveled to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to explore the region’s oil and gas economy, its unique culture, and political environment.

Here at home, Council delegations met top tech industry leaders in Silicon Valley; talked to security, military, and Asia experts during a visit to the U.S. Pacific Command in Honolulu; explored challenges in Middle East policy during a visit to Washington, D.C.; visited the naval base at Point Loma in San Diego; toured the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro; and participated in an embark on the U.S.S. Carl Vinson aircraft carrier at sea.

Continuing the Conversation: Social Media

Every day, the Pacific Council shares news and exchanges ideas on Twitter and Facebook. Our updates keep members and other followers in the loop, cluing them in to recommended resources and smart analysis by Council experts.

Over the course of the year, we sent 2,416 tweets and published 388 Facebook posts. We were mentioned 3,345 times, liked 7,352 times, and retweeted 1,512 times. That’s more than 30 interactions each day with members, followers, and informed people who care about international affairs.

Pacific Council Live

For the first time in 2016, the Pacific Council began live-broadcasting some of our most important events on our website to engage non-local members and foster an active online community. Two generous donors underwrote the pilot effort for the first year, enabling us to produce one event video each month.

Our live-streamed videos featured U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson, Mexican Ambassador to the United States Carlos Sada, and CIA Director John Brennan.

Other videos included discussions with U.S. Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, and former U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.

Taking Action: Beyond the “Think Tank”

At the Pacific Council, we foster thoughtful, intelligent debate in the events, conferences, and delegations we convene.

Then we seek to transform that spirit of collaboration and innovation into action. Throughout the year, we work with member experts, working groups, and task forces to develop new, nonpartisan ideas that inform and drive global progress.

Up to Speed in Guantánamo Bay

The Pacific Council’s GTMO Task Force released the report Up to Speed in February 2016, calling on the United States to fairly and transparently expedite the Guantánamo trials by putting federal judges in charge.

The week before the report’s publication, U.S. President Barack Obama presented a plan to close the base at GTMO, pointing out that the military cases being tried there had “resulted in years of litigation without a resolution.” Justice would be swifter and surer, he suggested, if detainees could be prosecuted in federal courts.

The GTMO Task Force provided a new, bipartisan option, recognizing that trying detainees on U.S. soil is enormously contentious. Their report argued that the United States could achieve a similar result – and avoid a political impasse – by simply bringing federal judges to the base at Guantánamo.

Pacific Council members Richard B. Goetz, a partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, and Michelle Kezirian, a director of litigation and policy advocacy at a public-interest law firm, served as co-chairs of the task force. Together with Pacific Council President and CEO Jerrold D. Green and RAND Corporation’s K. Jack Riley, Goetz and Kezirian published an op-ed in Newsweek (“How to Fix Guantánamo’s Broken Justice,” March 7, 2016) that highlighted the report’s recommendations.

Between 2013 and 2016, the Pacific Council sent 17 members to the Guantánamo proceedings as official nongovernmental observers; together, they spent 90 days on the island.

“Guantánamo Bay may be only a few hundred miles from the U.S. mainland, but its isolation, dated infrastructure, and exclusive military control make it a uniquely cumbersome place to conduct a trial—let alone some of the most complex, politically sensitive cases in our country’s history.”Up to Speed

The Task Force’s recommendations remain under active review and consideration by members of the U.S. Congress. Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA 28) publicly announced his support.

Water Scarcity: California and the World

Water is one of the world’s most precious resources, and access to water and adequate sanitation pose major challenges across the globe. Water shortages – exacerbated by demographic pressures – threaten the global economy, public health, political stability, and food supply. The United Nations estimates that within 10 years, nearly two-thirds of the global population could be living under water-stressed conditions. Without concerted action, water shortages will accelerate instability and constrain economic development, hitting the world’s most vulnerable populations hardest.

Thanks to an initial planning grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, in 2016 the Pacific Council was able to develop a bold five-year strategy and operating plan for a new global water scarcity project that will address these important challenges – to launch in 2017. We believe that as a water-scarce state that is also a global leader on environmental conservation and watershed restoration, California brings special experience and expertise to the table.

The strategy, developed in cooperation with Pacific Council members in Seattle, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles, reasons that the most important contribution California can make to resolve the issue of global water scarcity will be to determine ways to turn around its own water situation, drawing from international experience and sharing its experiences with others as it learns.

Mexico Initiative

During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, the Pacific Council launched a new Mexico Initiative.

Michael C. Camuñez, the chair of the Mexico Initiative, wrote an open letter to Pacific Council members announcing the initiative, saying, “This is an important moment in the U.S.-Mexico relationship. As we watch the U.S. presidential campaign unfold, the conversations about Mexico and its citizens continue to focus on narrow and distorted issues related to illegal immigration, narcotrafficking, and violence. Despite our close proximity and shared history and culture, this harsh and inaccurate rhetoric persists.”

“One talking point that needs to be much louder and much stronger from the United States is that Mexico does have our back. It’s a point that is very poorly understood.” - Roberta Jacobson, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico
“One talking point that needs to be much louder and much stronger from the United States is that Mexico does have our back. It’s a point that is very poorly understood.” – Roberta Jacobson, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico

In the Initiative’s inaugural year the Pacific Council held several events and produced regular commentary on the website. We convened a working lunch in February with the Mexican Ambassador to the United States. In the spring, we co-hosted a special event on the politics and economy of Mexico together with ManattJones Global Strategies and the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, featuring Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Port of Los Angeles Chair Vilma Martínez, and other distinguished speakers and guests. At Members Weekend 2016 we discussed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), security cooperation, the U.S. presidential election, and more with U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson and Mexican Ambassador to the United States Carlos Sada.

A Path Forward for U.S.-China Relations

The relationship between the United States and China is more important than at any time in history. At the China-U.S. Diplomacy Summit held at Renmin University in Beijing on June 19, 2016, Pacific Council President and CEO Jerrold D. Green submitted a report on the important role of public diplomacy in improving the complex bilateral relationship.

Green argued that the central issue is whether or not the two countries can successfully manage their relationship in a manner that advances strategic mutual trust and allows for increased cooperation on security issues in the Asia-Pacific; this question, he said, weighs heavily on diplomats and generals across the globe.

Further, he wrote that minimizing costly and dangerous rivalry, especially in the military sphere, is in everyone’s interest. No longer can Beijing and Washington rest upon the laurels of economic interdependence as the primary guarantor of peace; far too many countries throughout history have forsaken economic interests in order to protect strategic ones.

Instead, Green suggested that the United States and China must take a path that advances mutual understanding and respect at every level – a path that can be immeasurably smoothed by public diplomacy. Public diplomacy is an avenue dynamic enough to reverse decades of rivalry while garnering popular support in both countries, reaffirming alliances abroad, and reinforcing mutual trust between Americans and Chinese writ large and not just between Washington and Beijing.

Making an Effective Ambassador

“A United States Ambassador is the ears, the voice, and the face of Washington abroad.

“A successful ambassador is a powerful asset for U.S. diplomacy: the right person can improve a foreign public’s perception of America and can establish critical business or trade relationships, or turn a foe into an ally. An unprepared or unfit diplomat, on the other hand, can damage U.S. credibility with international partners.”

So begins The Effective Ambassador, a practical handbook researched, written, and published in November 2016 by the Future Leaders Task Force, a group of young business and legal professionals from the Pacific Council. The handbook aims to provide useful guidance and best practices to potential candidates for U.S. ambassadorships.

The report’s insights come from the authors’ interviews with numerous distinguished individuals with experience and expertise in politics, international relations, and diplomacy, including nine current and former U.S. ambassadors, two foreign ambassadors to the United States, a former Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, a senior-ranking member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a representative of the Office of White House Counsel.

The Future Leaders Task Force was chaired by Adam Nathanson, President and CEO of Mapleton Investments, LLC.  

Institutional Health

2016 was the Pacific Council’s strongest financial year in its 21-year history, thanks to the support and vision of the individuals, foundations, and corporations whose donations make our work possible.

Financials

The following are the Pacific Council’s audited Statements of Financial Position and Activities for the years ending December 31, 2016, and December 31, 2015.

Support

Who We Are

This report was published in April 2017.

Learn more about our work at www.pacificcouncil.org.

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Global Leadership from the West Coast

From the President & CEO

Reflecting on 2017 and Looking to the Future

As an organization committed to amplifying the voice of Los Angeles and the West Coast in global affairs, the Pacific Council had a transformational year, as did our country and world.

We watched Washington’s position on global leadership take on an increasingly nationalistic and inward-looking character, redefining the world order and the United States’ role in it—perhaps permanently. While numerous trade and environmental pacts came under attack, at the same time we witnessed a growing and encouraging trend toward subnational international affairs leadership by cities and states, mayors and governors. Clearly, our work is more important than ever. Despite a climate of global concern, and indeed because of it, the Pacific Council is dedicated to informing, connecting, and leveraging our community to have impact on key issues both at home and abroad.

This past year’s highlights include the inaugural State of the Global City address by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, an event featuring former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and a gala evening with former President George W. Bush. We are proud of the fact that our Guantánamo Bay Task Force’s recommendations made their way into the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018. Member-led international delegations traveled to Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Belgium, and the Netherlands. And 2017 concluded with the inaugural Water Conference as part of our Global Water Scarcity Project.

In 2017, we welcomed 300 new members, nearly half of them women. We reached out to younger members and strengthened our policy eliminating exclusively male panels at Council events. We also made considerable strides in broadening ties with new communities through collaborations with the Seoul-based Korea Foundation and other partners, as well as our emerging corporate membership program.

The year ahead is shaping up well, with delegations slated to visit Japan and Israel, as well as a special delegation to Mexico for our emerging leaders.

We will host the Tokyo-Los Angeles Forum in May with several Japanese partners, alongside conferences in the spring and fall. Our programming will continue to evolve to reflect our commitment to inclusivity across our membership.

The Pacific Council on International Policy remains deeply committed to highlighting and strengthening the significant role enjoyed by the West Coast, and especially Southern California, in international affairs. Our members, donors, and far-flung network of supporters are absolutely essential to the successful accomplishment of that mission.

My warmest thanks for all that you do to make our community what it is today. We are most grateful for your support.

With my best wishes,

Dr. Jerrold D. GreenPresident & CEO

Mission and Values

Mission

The Pacific Council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to building the vast potential of the West Coast for impact on global issues, discourse, and policy.

We are dedicated to building a community of leaders and emerging leaders across industries and sectors to share ideas, keep up on foreign affairs, and effect change on issues that are important at home and abroad.

Values

We believe that constructive discourse on complex global issues builds an informed citizenry. An informed citizenry leads to idea exchange and collaboration, which improves policy outcomes. Together, the Pacific Council member community is proposing solutions and developing ideas that inform and drive global progress.

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The Pacific Council embraces the inclusion of all voices in our community, across our membership, staff, event speakers, and guests, regardless of race, ethnicity, ability, class, religion, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other differentiating characteristic.

To solidify and guide our commitment to inclusivity and diversity, the Pacific Council has formed a staff committee dedicated to creating programs and opportunities that elevate underrepresented voices in our membership. Our Pay It Forward Annual Giving Campaign, launched in 2016, aims to build a network of tomorrow’s thought leaders from all corners. We also continue to fulfill a promise made at the beginning of 2017 to feature women experts on all of our panels.

We welcome and support diversity in all its forms; indeed, we believe it is the only way to effect change on global issues.

Highlights of 2017

Our Initiatives

Advancing the Conversation in 2017

At the Pacific Council, we know that change happens when people from different fields work together toward a common goal. We operate across sectors and silos to inspire collaboration and provoke change. We incubate ideas and solutions to global issues through four initiatives:

Through these initiatives, members have the opportunity to address the challenges affecting our community and our world. These projects focus on specific areas where the Pacific Council is poised and pledged to make a difference.

You can learn more about the Council’s focus on these initiatives as well as our work on various regions and international topics on our website and by following our social media channels:

Twitter: @PacCouncil

Instagram: @PacificCouncil

Facebook.com/PacificCouncil

Global Water Scarcity Project

The effects of global water scarcity extend beyond the possibility of drought, spilling into cross-border conflict, global trade issues, and human insecurity. The Pacific Council’s Global Water Scarcity Project looks at what we can do to address these issues now to create a water abundant future.

The mission of the Global Water Scarcity Project is to empower the Pacific Council’s network to contribute to international policy solutions addressing water scarcity. We approach water scarcity as a crosscutting issue that requires cross-cutting solutions, connecting the dots between water scarcity and issues like trade, energy, politics, and security. We aim to build knowledge, inspire and incubate ideas, and motivate action on global water scarcity through ongoing activities, events, and education.

Here in California—where government, the private sector, agriculture, conservationists, and individuals all have deep experience of drought and water challenges—the region is poised to lead the charge.

Here’s how we advanced the project’s mission in 2017:

Mexico Initiative

The United States and Mexico enjoy one of the most interdependent, successful economic partnerships in the world, and their populations share deep cultural, linguistic, and often familial ties. As part of North America, the two countries also share common domestic and foreign policy priorities as they relate to energy security, the environment, and public health.

The Pacific Council seeks to take an approach to Mexico that reflects our geography, identity, and appreciation for the international policy interests of the United States. Under the auspices of the Mexico Initiative, chaired by the Honorable Michael C. Camuñez, the Pacific Council holds events, produces analysis and commentary, and fosters exchange with Mexican leaders.

Here’s how we advanced the project’s mission in 2017:

Global Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of the world’s great urban communities. It is large, diverse, vibrant, and cosmopolitan. Its people, businesses, and institutions routinely and constructively connect and interact with their counterparts all over the world. The city provides goods, services, ideas, and culture to the larger world and in turn enjoys the best that the world has to offer. Los Angeles is a global city.

Through our Global LA initiative, the Pacific Council seeks to position Los Angeles as a leader on international issues and to engage the city in a conversation about seizing the opportunities and dealing with the challenges that arise from its global character.

“In 2017, we were proud to return our Humanitarian Symposium and Prize Ceremony to LA, our hometown, after years on the East Coast. Our strategic partnership with the Pacific Council has inspired us to connect our international humanitarian work to the thriving community that is Global Los Angeles.”

Dr. Peter Laugharn, President and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and a Pacific Council Director.

Here’s how we advanced the project’s mission in 2017:

Guantánamo Bay Observer Program

Since 2013, the Pacific Council has held official NGO observer status with the Office of Military Commissions at Guantánamo Bay Office of Military Commissions at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO). We are one of a select group of organizations with that designation, alongside Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the American Bar Association. In this role we send member representatives with relevant expertise to observe select proceedings at GTMO and report back. In 2017, we sent 12 observers to continue to observe the pre-trial hearings for the highest-profile detainees.

The Pacific Council’s GTMO Task Force works with observers and policymakers to translate findings and recommendations into policy. This year, the Task Force provided recommendations to Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), who applied them as three amendments to H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018. In July, the bill passed the House of Representatives by 344-81 votes and became law in December.

“I offered three amendments to the defense bill based on the work of the Pacific Council, and all three were made in order. My thanks to the Council for their good work.”

Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA)

Congressman Adam Schiff introduced these three amendments which were informed by the Pacific Council’s GTMO Task Force report, published in 2016:

  1. Expressing a sense of Congress that in the interest of justice and efficiency, military judges should provide victims of terrorism and their families the opportunity to provide recorded testimony.
  2. Allowing military judges to use video conferencing for any matter for which the military judge may call the military commission into session, to improve efficiencies of military commissions. Any party who participates through the use of video teleconferencing shall be considered as present.
  3. Requiring proceedings of military commissions to be publicly available on the internet.

We are grateful for the support and dedication of Representative Schiff to this important issue. The Task Force will continue to observe the proceedings at GTMO in 2018.

Gala Dinner

Featuring President George W. Bush

In September, we gathered 500 members and guests at our 2017 gala with President George W. Bush. It was the first Pacific Council event with a former U.S. president, and included a moderated discussion between President Bush and Ambassador Robert H. Tuttle.

The event was held at the beautiful new InterContinental Downtown Los Angeles and helped us raise over $1 million, which will allow us to grow and enhance our programs in the years ahead. It will be remembered by our members, donors, guests, and staff for a long time.

“It’s good to be back with my base.”

George W. Bush quipped to an audience of California Democrats, Republicans, and others at our gala dinner in downtown Los Angeles.

Get Involved

The Pacific Council is dedicated to engaging you, our members and sustaining members, around the issues you care about and giving you the opportunity to take action. If you have a passion for a particular global region or issue, or want to know how to take part in one of our initiatives, get in touch. We are always available at engage@pacificcouncil.org.

We encourage members to get involved in the following ways:

In 2018, we will evolve our programs to respond to member feedback and illustrate our commitment to inclusive programming for all of our members. Keep an eye out for more virtual offerings, more social and networking events, and more opportunities for members to provide feedback and lead with your input.

Christopher Society

Warren Christopher, former U.S. Secretary of State, was an early champion of the Pacific Council on International Policy and longtime chair of its Board of Directors. His vision and values inspired all aspects of the Council’s work, and we seek to honor his legacy through the creation of the Christopher Society, a distinguished member society consisting of the Council’s most dedicated supporters and leaders.

Secretary Christopher demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to public service, and his legacy embodies equality, fairness, community service, and the highest ethical standards. The members of the Christopher Society follow in his footsteps by representing the forward-thinking values and commitment to the common good demonstrated throughout Secretary Christopher’s career.

The Pacific Council is grateful to our generous supporters who make it possible to advance our mission to build the potential of the West Coast for impact on global issues, discourse, and policy.

Members of the Christopher Society in 2017:

  • Mr. Sonny Astani & Mrs. Jo Astani
  • Ambassador Frank Baxter & Mrs. Kathy Baxter
  • Mr. Robert Liu & Ms. Mimi Liu
  • Mr. Robert W. Lovelace & Ms. Alicia Miñana
  • Mr. Marc Nathanson & Ms. Jane Nathanson
  • Ambassador Robert H. Tuttle & Ms. Maria Hummer-Tuttle

Institutional Health

In 2017, the Pacific Council exceeded $6 million in revenue for the first time in our 22-year history. We thank our generous individual donors, foundations, and corporate partners who helped us achieve this success. This year’s fundraising accomplishments give us a foundation to make additional strategic investments in the organization so that we can continue our track record of excellence, inclusivity, and nonpartisanship well into the future.

Scroll left to right to view the Pacific Council’s audited financials:

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Our Donors

Our Team

Directors

Mr. Sonny H. Astani, Chairman, Astani Enterprises, Inc.

Ambassador Frank Baxter, Chairman Emeritus, Jefferies & Company

Ms. Willow Bay, Dean, USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism

Ambassador Colleen Bell, Former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary

Hon. Howard L. Berman, Senior Advisor, Covington & Burling LLP

Mrs. Lynn A. Booth, President, The Otis Booth Foundation & The Evening Star Foundation

Ms. Elise Buik, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Los Angeles

Hon. Michael C. Camuñez, President & CEO, Monarch Global Strategies LLC

Mr. Charles Chen, Chairman, Eyon Holding Group; President, Chen Yung Foundation; Vice Chairman, Taian Insurance

Ms. Carla Christofferson, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, AECOM

Mr. Robert Eckert, Chairman Emeritus of the Board, Mattel

Dr. Bradford W. Edgerton, President, Edgerton Foundation & Plastic Surgeon, SCPMG

Mr. Richard B. Goetz, Partner, O’Melveny & Myers LLP

Dr. Jerrold D. Green, President & CEO, Pacific Council on International Policy

Ambassador Nina Hachigian, Deputy Mayor for International Affairs, City of Los Angeles; former U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN

Ms. Antonia Hernández, President and CEO, California Community Foundation

Ambassador David Huebner, Former U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand & Samoa

Hon. Mickey Kantor, Partner, Mayer Brown LLP; U.S. Secretary of Commerce (1996-1997); U.S. Trade Representative (1993-1996)

Ms. Sherry Lansing, Founder & Chair, The Sherry Lansing Foundation

Dr. Peter Laugharn, President & CEO, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Hon. Mel Levine, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Mr. Robert W. Liu, Chairman, Tireco, Inc.

Mr. Robert W. Lovelace, Vice Chairman, Capital Group Companies

Ambassador Vilma S. Martínez, U.S. Ambassador to Argentina (2009–2013)

Ambassador Susan McCaw, President, COM Investments

Mr. Willem Mesdag, Managing Partner, Red Mountain Capital Partners, LLC

Dr. Sharon Nazarian, President, Y & S Nazarian Family Foundation

Mr. Arthur J. Ochoa, Senior Vice President, Community Relations & Development, Cedars Sinai Medical Center

Mr. Barry Porter, Managing General Partner, Clarity Partners, Inc.

Mr. Nelson C. Rising, CEO, Rising Realty Partners

Ambassador Charles H. Rivkin, CEO, Motion Picture Association of America; Former Assistant Secretary of State for Business & Economic Affairs, U.S. State Department

Mr. Fredric D. Rosen, Former CEO, Ticketmaster

Hon. Nancy Rubin, Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, Presidential Appointee to the White House Council for Community Solutions

Mr. Harry Sloan, Chairman & CEO, Global Eagle Acquisition

Dr. Cynthia A. Telles, Director, Spanish-Speaking Psychosocial Clinic, Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital, UCLA School of Medicine

Ambassador Robert H. Tuttle, Co-Managing Partner, Tuttle-Click Automotive Group; Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom

Mr. Ernest Wooden, Jr., President & CEO, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board

Learn more about our work at www.pacificcouncil.org.

This report was published in April 2018.

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A Path Forward

Introduction

The relationship between the United States and China is more important than at any time in history. It has been said that the two superpowers are neither friends nor foes, and indeed, the remarkably complex U.S.-Sino relationship comes with its fair share of contradictions. As two Pacific powers with unique global responsibilities and reach, it is indisputable that both countries share an interest in global and regional stability.

The central issue is whether or not the two countries can successfully manage their relationship in a manner that advances strategic mutual trust and allows for increased cooperation on security issues in the Asia-Pacific; this question weighs heavily on diplomats and generals across the globe. Minimizing costly and dangerous rivalry, especially in the military sphere, is in everyone’s interest. To do this, China and the United States must be acutely aware of the fashion in which they view one another. No longer can the two rest upon the laurels of economic interdependence as the primary guarantor of peace; far too many countries throughout history have forsaken economic interests in order to protect strategic ones.

Instead, the United States and China must take a path that advances mutual understanding and respect at every level – a path that can be immeasurably smoothed by public diplomacy. Public diplomacy can be an avenue dynamic enough to reverse decades of rivalry while garnering popular support in both countries, reaffirming alliances abroad, and reinforcing mutual trust between Americans and Chinese writ large and not just between Washington and Beijing at the highest levels of government.

Contradictions and Mutual Concerns

The United States and China are often at odds. Militarily, the United States is concerned about the modernization and expansion of China’s armed forces and its strategic domain, while China is worried about attempts at strategic containment by the United States and its regional allies. Economically, the United States and China now compete in almost every market. This competition has at times resulted in the two leveling accusations against one another of unfair trade practices and economic espionage. Human rights remain a consistent point of contention between the two, with Washington long ago incorporating the goal of expanding human rights abroad into its foreign policy platform and Beijing adopting the view that human rights should be defined by each country’s unique history and socio-political system.

Despite these areas of disagreement, it is within these very same theaters that the United States and China have overlapping and even interdependent interests. Both governments want to peacefully manage North Korea, to secure access to affordable energy, to guarantee free navigation of the seas, to combat terrorism and contain the spread of violent extremism, to bolster cybersecurity, to promote global development and trade, and to curb climate change, environmental degradation, and pollution. Getting the United States and China to cooperate on these issues will require greater dialogue between ordinary Chinese and Americans, as the policies of our governments will only begin to change once the perceptions of our publics lead the way.

Data from a recent Pew Research Center poll found that most Americans and Chinese do not hold favorable views of each other. Just 38 percent of Americans think positively about Chinese, and just 44 percent of Chinese think positively about Americans. However, “young people in both countries express more favorable attitudes of the other nation,” according to Pew’s analysis of the survey. Fifty-five percent of American adults under 30 gave China a positive rating, and 59 percent of Chinese adults under 30 gave the United States a positive rating. Interestingly enough, 59 percent of young Chinese also said they “like American ideas about democracy.”

Getting the United States and China to cooperate on these issues will require greater dialogue between ordinary Chinese and Americans, as the policies of our governments will only begin to change once the perceptions of our publics lead the way.

Even so, more than half of Chinese respondents said the United States is trying to prevent China from becoming as powerful as the United States. Indeed, as The New York Times recently pointed out, “The Chinese hold contrasting, schizophrenic views of America. For many Chinese people, the depth of their admiration for the American system and way of life is matched only by their animosity toward the country.” We can safely assume this is at least partially attributable to the narratives both governments are responsible for espousing.  

It is here that the role of public diplomacy comes in as a potentially very powerful force for positive change. Relying on the core elements of public diplomacy – listening, advocacy, cultural diplomacy, exchange, and international broadcasting – both China and the United States can strengthen their vital relationship, avoid confrontation, and chart a way forward that is mutually beneficial.

Los Angeles in particular, a key city that is aware of and values its multifaceted ties to Asia, and home to the Pacific Council on International Policy, is uniquely well positioned to play a central role in this process.  

A Regional Model for the Nations

At the Pacific Council’s 2016 Spring Conference in April, Atman Trivedi, senior director for policy at the U.S. Department of Commerce Global Markets Bureau, said, “The relationship between China and Los Angeles is incredibly important. Chinese investment and tourism in Los Angeles County is a major driver for economic growth. Los Angeles is a gateway to U.S.-China international trade.” Indeed, on trade, energy, business cooperation and investment, education, health care, tourism, and the environment, Los Angeles and California already have a unique relationship with China.

The entertainment industry is at the forefront. With China expected to surpass North America’s box office numbers by 2017, and with more Chinese money being invested in American studios and films, the entertainment industry’s connection with China is a vital piece of this puzzle. Entertainment, media, and creative services – with an ability to reach and influence hundreds of millions if not billions of people – could serve as an important tool in recasting our perceptions of one another.

This year the Chinese firm Dalian Wanda Group purchased Legendary Entertainment, which produced The Dark Knight, Jurassic World, and several other blockbusters, for $3.5 billion. Major Hollywood studios have been “aggressively pursuing film co-financing deals with Chinese companies, including Alibaba Pictures,” according to the Los Angeles Times. Hollywood studios increasingly have Chinese audiences in mind when producing new films. There is a natural opportunity here to use entertainment as a medium for public diplomacy messaging. The more we learn about China and the more they learn about us, the more likely and able both sides will be to update narratives of one another and to begin a more meaningful and far deeper level of engagement.

Los Angeles is leading the way in many other areas as well. In May, the Los Angeles-based U.S.-China Cleantech Center (UCCTC) – a public-private partnership between the Innovation Center for Energy and Transportation and the U.S. Department of Commerce – hosted the U.S.-China Cleantech Innovation Forum, a series of conferences and exhibitions promoting bilateral cooperation in trade, culture, and the environment. About 200 Chinese and American government officials, business leaders, and clean energy and environmental policymakers attended the forum in Pasadena, California. “China and the United States, the two most powerful countries in the world, can work together and achieve global magnitude in clean technology,” an article about the forum quotes Dr. Feng An, founder and executive director of UCCTC, as saying.

There are also a number of Chinese companies with operations headquartered in Los Angeles, such as the BYD Company. The Chinese automaker’s decision to produce electric buses in Lancaster, a city in Los Angeles County, is a good example of how the complex U.S.-China economic relationship can be mutually beneficial: Chinese companies gain access to the U.S. market, employ U.S. citizens, and offer a valuable product. In this specific instance the product being offered also contributes to local sustainability goals.

Peter Shiao of the Los Angeles Business Journal cited a new report by research firm Rhodium Group and the non-profit National Committee on U.S.-China Relations that found California is the top destination for Chinese direct investment. From 2000 through the end of 2015, 452 California businesses received $8 billion. “Chinese-owned businesses already directly employ almost 10,000 Californians, and indirect jobs through tourism and construction multiply that figure several times,” wrote Shiao. Nationally, 90,000 American jobs are now directly tied to Chinese organizations based here in the United States.

Los Angeles is uniquely positioned to influence China’s perception of the United States and of Americans and American’s perceptions of China and of the Chinese people.

Chinese investment in the United States could reach $200 billion by 2020, according to Rhodium economist Thilo Hanemann, with California – and Los Angeles especially – reaping the lion’s share of this investment. One need only look across the street from the Pacific Council’s offices for evidence of this massive trend of investment in Los Angeles: the new Metropolis building is being constructed by Chinese developer Greenland for $1 billion. Several other major mixed-use projects currently under construction in downtown Los Angeles are also financed by Chinese developers.

With so much Chinese capital at play, as well as this city’s sizable Chinese population, Los Angeles is uniquely positioned to influence China’s perception of the United States and of Americans and American’s perceptions of China and of the Chinese people.

On the environment, subnational government entities are already circumventing Beijing and Washington. California has been a leader on this front as well. Orville Schell of the Asia Society and Geoffrey Cowan of the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands and Pacific Council’s board of directors released a report last year highlighting the success of Chinese provinces and the state of California in partnering against climate change. In 2013, California Governor Edmund Brown, Jr., and China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua, China’s top climate official, signed a joint, historic memorandum of understanding to combat climate change.

“The fact that the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China is entering into an agreement with one of the fifty states reflects the important position of California not only in the economy, but in science, technology, and climate change initiatives,” said Governor Brown before signing the agreement. “I see the partnership between China, between provinces in China, and the state of California as a catalyst and as a lever to change policies in the United States and ultimately change policies throughout the world.”

U.S. President Barack Obama and China President Xi Jinping at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif., June 8, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
U.S. President Barack Obama and China President Xi Jinping at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif., June 8, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Also in 2013, presidents Obama and Xi met at Sunnylands in Southern California where, according to a press release from the historic estate, “the meetings resulted in stronger relationships between the two leaders, along with significant progress on several issues of bilateral importance, including cybersecurity, North Korea, and controlling rising hydrofluorocarbon emissions from industrial activities.”

However, Schell said, “In the end if the United States and China do come together in a meaningful way to deal with climate change, it is not going to exclusively be between Washington and Beijing. In fact that may be the least important link. Where the rubber will really meet the road is with states and municipalities dealing directly, so that the solution ends up being more of a patchwork, kind of a mosaic, rather than some big grand design where the presidents wave a wand in Washington and Beijing and bring about a solution.”

Los Angeles is already out in front on this and many other issues. It would be a mistake for China to engage only New York and Washington, D.C., in its relations with the United States, as the East Coast is only part of the story in terms of U.S. public diplomacy resources. Californians would be eager to cooperate on an initiative with China, along the lines of the state’s partnerships with other countries.  

Expanding What Works in the Military Realm

The armed forces of the United States and China may have a complex professional relationship, but in recent years bilateral cooperation has deepened. Now, the military-to-military relationship has the potential to alter the adversarial narrative in both countries. Both sides know that in contentious arenas like the South China Sea, rivalry could boil over into something far more costly.

We have already seen limited examples of positive engagement between the U.S. and Chinese armed forces. When the United States Navy recently sent a carrier strike group through the South China Sea, Rear Admiral Marcus Hitchcock was highly complimentary of his Chinese counterparts, saying that he was engaged on an almost “twenty four-seven basis” with a “completely professional” People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). This mutually respectful and open-line approach by the two forces fostered a safe and non-threatening environment in which they could operate despite their differences. In summer 2016, the PLAN is expected to join military exercises known as RIMPAC near Hawaii beginning June 30, which will further that cooperation.

“Where the People’s Republic of China is building real naval capabilities, most are actually best suited for cooperating, rather than competing, with other world powers,” writes David Axe in The Diplomat. “Indeed, there are signs that China intends to be a full partner in a loose, emerging alliance of developed world navies aiming to suppress piracy and seaborne terrorism and to provide rapid relief in the wake of coastal natural disasters.”

The aggressive spirit behind China’s maritime activity has not been overlooked.

On the other hand, during the recent rollout of a Department of Defense report to Congress on Chinese military and security developments, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Abraham Denmark stated that China’s Coast Guard and fishing vessels sometimes act in an “unprofessional” manner “in the vicinity of the military forces or fishing vessels of other countries in a way that’s designed to attempt to establish a degree of control around disputed features. These activities are designed to stay below the threshold of conflict, but gradually demonstrate and assert claims that other countries dispute.”

The aggressive spirit behind China’s maritime activity has not been overlooked. The actions taken by China’s fishing fleet and Coast Guard, including their land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea, has pushed many of its neighbors such as Vietnam and the Philippines to deepen their ties with the United States in an attempt to balance against China. This rebalancing has seen the Philippines invite American troops back for the first time since expelling U.S. forces from the country nearly 25 years ago, and, even more extraordinarily, has seen the complete end to the U.S. arms embargo on its Cold War-era foe Vietnam.

U.S. Navy vessels in the South China Sea
U.S. Navy vessels in the South China Sea

These developments clearly run counter to China’s strategic interests. However, Beijing must not resent Washington for reacting to the demands of its regional partners. Instead, China should take note of the second and third order effects that its aggression is having on its long term strategic interests in the region and abroad.

If China’s commitment to a cooperative – rather than competitive – approach is genuine, Beijing will need to bring the professionalism of its Coast Guard and the behavior of its fishing fleet fully in line with that of its navy. As it stands, China’s Coast Guard and fishing fleet communicate less effectively and more aggressively than their counterparts in the PLAN.

Cooperation on these challenges would go far in helping to create a new narrative between everyday Chinese and Americans regarding the relationship of their countries’ armed forces; particularly with the proper media focus, shift in public statements by government and military officials, and vocal support for such efforts from academics and think tanks. Greater engagement and interaction between the upper echelons as well as the rank and file of the two forces could help empower moderate voices within both organizations as their working relationship expands.

Areas for Collaboration and Cooperation

One of the most publicized and possibly damaging issues dividing the United States and China is the new Chinese law requiring foreign NGOs to register with the police and to submit budgets, among many cumbersome restrictions. To the United States and other outsiders, this is perceived as paranoia about alleged infiltration, espionage, and subversion by foreigners. The vast majority of foreign NGOs are performing vital work in China, and most Americans believe that Beijing should reevaluate this overreaching law.

North Korea victory parade
North Korea victory parade

On the topic of North Korea, Beijing has already stepped up its cooperation with Washington on sanctions, but Beijing is unwilling to go further and thus risk the destabilization of the Korean Peninsula. Accordingly, Washington must seek China’s assistance in freezing North Korea’s nuclear program, which would help to reinforce U.S.-Sino mutual trust and advance cooperation by avoiding the need for a buildup of U.S. military forces on the Peninsula. Such a buildup, while in the interest of the United States should North Korea’s nuclear program continue to accelerate, will only be seen by the Chinese as the U.S. government taking advantage of the situation in an attempt to contain China. Some in the United States are already calling for nuclear weapons to be returned to South Korea, and Kim Jong-un’s continued missile tests are not helping the situation. For China, cooperation with the United States on these matters also has the added benefit of bolstering its soft power and standing on the world stage, not to mention the potential to curtail the strength of the country’s jingoistic elements.

Recently, Washington missed two key opportunities to cooperate with China on economic development and trade. When the United States decided not to support the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), it lost a chance to work with China to set the bank’s agenda on environmental protections, human rights, anticorruption measures, and other governance standards. Additionally, by actively discouraging other nations from participating in the bank, the United States damaged its relationship with China as well as its credibility abroad, as the AIIB will be crucial for development in Southeast Asia.

Last year China surpassed Canada as America’s largest trading partner. Some Americans believe that it is imperative that China be included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest free trade agreement in a generation that is firmly centered on trade within the Asia-Pacific. China’s participation in the arrangement would be a financial boon to all parties and the reforms they would need to undergo in order to participate would allow the United States to better compete within China’s domestic market. Interestingly, during a recent address to the Pacific Council in Los Angeles, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that China has inquired about what the process might be for entry into TPP. Meanwhile, China is pressing ahead on its own version of the trade agreement. There is ample room for collaboration and cooperation on this front.

Last year China surpassed Canada as America’s largest trading partner.

For the United States to avoid missing additional opportunities, it should develop a clear and realistic path for China’s eventual participation in TPP and should begin exploring with China a role for the United States within or alongside the AIIB.

Washington can also ramp up its support of exchanges with China. While the 100,000 Strong Initiative student exchange program reached its goal of increasing Americans studying in China, student exchanges are just the beginning. Professor Jay Wang, director of the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy, wrote about the importance of initiating “dialogs and substantive exchanges between practitioners and scholars of public diplomacy of the two countries. Nurturing and sustaining a positive relationship between the two countries is consequential not only for the United States and China, but also for the world. And, it requires the active engagement of public diplomacy, which plays a crucial role in steering this vital relationship in a positive direction. Popular perception of each other matters, because it forms the climate of opinion in which policies and actions are considered, weighted, and pursued.”

These solutions will not solve all of the problems between the United States and China, but they will go a long way towards avoiding real conflict between the two nations.  

Conclusion

The Pacific Council on International Policy and other think tanks – especially those in China such as the National Academy of Development and Strategy at Renmin University – can play a key role in this process. We must continue to highlight each other’s cultural achievements, convene strategy sessions like the 2016 China-U.S. Public Diplomacy Summit, and brainstorm new ways to cooperate in an increasingly complex, interconnected, and often dangerous world.

In order to advance strategic mutual trust and allow for increased cooperation on security issues in the Asia-Pacific, China and the United States must recast the way they view one another. One of the most powerful tools we have to accomplish this goal is public diplomacy. The stakes are too high – financially, politically, strategically, and culturally – to flounder at this critical moment in history. If Americans and Chinese do not learn to understand and respect each other, the worst case alternative is a frightening future with the potential for violent conflict not seen in almost a century. ■

Dr. Jerrold D. Green is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Council on International Policy. Read more about his background.

Special thanks to Justin Chapman, Communications Associate, and Alexandre Moore, Events Associate, for their assistance researching and drafting this paper.

This report was presented at the 2016 China-U.S. Diplomacy Summit held at Renmin University in Beijing on June 19, 2016.

The Los Angeles-based Pacific Council is an independent, nonpartisan organization committed to enhancing the West Coast’s impact on global issues and policy. Since 1995, the Pacific Council has hosted discussion events on issues of global importance, convened task forces and working groups to address pressing policy challenges, and built a network of globally-minded members across the West Coast and the world.

Visit us at www.pacificcouncil.org.

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Up to Speed

Introduction

Guantánamo Bay may be only a few hundred miles from the U.S. mainland, but its isolation, dated infrastructure, and exclusive military control make it a uniquely cumbersome place to conduct a trial—let alone some of the most complex, politically sensitive cases in our country’s history.

The proceedings at the GTMO naval base, in the Expeditionary Legal Complex courthouse, should be showcases for American jurisprudence at its fairest and most defensible, opportunities not just to prosecute those we suspect of harming us but also to demonstrate to the world how a nation founded on due process responds to crimes of war in an age of terror. Instead, more than 14 years after the September 11 attacks cut short 2,977 lives, seven years after the first filing of charges, and nearly four years after the commencement of pretrial hearings, the 9/11 case—like the two others underway, for the USS Cole bombing and the al Qaida-led assault of U.S. troops on the Afghan battlefield—has moved at a dismal pace.

Photo credit: court artist Janet Hamlin
Photo credit: court artist Janet Hamlin

We are not assigning blame or choosing sides, much less advocating for a particular outcome. Everything moves glacially at Guantánamo, whether the disruption is a hurricane or a toothache, revelations of government eavesdropping or detainee objections to contact with female guards. We worry, however, that these chronic delays—the inefficiency, the expense, the uncertainty over something as basic as a trial date—are undermining the legitimacy of the Military Commission process, and beyond that, our nation’s credibility on the world stage. By our count, Guantánamo’s three military judges conducted a total of just 30 days of on-the-record hearings in 2015. That matches the halting clip previously documented in an internal Pentagon memo, which tallied 33 days of hearings in 2014, preceded by 34 days in 2013. Regardless of one’s political views or position on the detention camp’s future, the on-again, off-again pursuit of justice, for at best a week or two every other month, serves nobody’s interests, neither deciding guilt nor doling out punishment nor affirming the integrity of our legal system.

We know this firsthand. Since 2013, the Pacific Council on International Policy has sent 17 members to the Guantánamo proceedings as official nongovernmental observers; together, we have spent 90 days on the island. Our GTMO Task Force is a bipartisan group, mostly practicing lawyers, though some of us have government, public policy, academic, and military backgrounds. What we share is a concern over the sporadic schedule we have witnessed at Guantánamo and a desire for concrete, pragmatic remedies that can fairly and transparently expedite a just resolution.

And after studying this issue over recent months, we can unanimously recommend a common sense solution: empower federal judges to preside over the Military Commission trials.

While we recognize that the intricacies of these cases and the particularities of the military codes governing them resist an easy solution, we believe that experienced current or retired U.S. District Judges—assigned full-time to Guantánamo—could apply case-management techniques that would go a long way toward clearing the logistical and procedural hurdles that have stymied the military’s commuter judges. Many federal judges, versed in the protocols for reviewing classified evidence, have already presided over high-profile terrorism trials in their own courts, guiding them to fair, final conclusions. As a group composed largely of attorneys, some of whom routinely litigate before federal judges, we can attest to the temperament of those who wear that robe: their impartiality, their gravitas, and their insistence that all parties keep to a reasonable schedule. Because they are civilians, moreover, federal judges would not create any improper “command influence” perceptions; their independence would be beyond question.

To further equip federal judges to advance the interests of justice at Guantánamo, we propose four additional steps:

  • Technology. Permit stateside counsel to participate in routine pretrial matters and conduct attorney-client communication via secure videoconference.
  • Timeline. Require each judge to set the earliest feasible date for trial to begin.
  • Victims. Invite survivors and victims’ families to testify now, creating a record of their loss for the court if and when sentencing occurs.
  • Openness. Encourage engagement and accountability by making the Guantánamo proceedings available to the public via broadcast or Internet streaming.  

Again, we have made a deliberate choice to focus on workable, depoliticized measures directed specifically at Guantánamo’s three ongoing cases—Khalid Shaikh Mohammed et al., Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, and Abd al Hadi al Iraqi—recommendations that will continue to be relevant regardless of whether the detention camp remains operational or is ultimately moved or shuttered. Most of our task force members have expressed strong feelings about the broader issues that have made Guantánamo such a fraught symbol, including the indefinite imprisonment without charges of some detainees and the prolonged detention of others despite their clearance for release. Those concerns, which speak to the values we share as an open, democratic society, have animated our every discussion. Yet they ultimately go beyond the mandate we have adopted here, which is to identify tools for refining and, where necessary, repairing the legal machinery that has already been set in motion.

By keeping our aim narrow, we hope to avoid the inertia that has greeted other well-intended reports on Guantánamo’s fate, and instead steer the discussion toward practical, realistic solutions in this divisive election season.

I. Justice Delayed

In November 2009, when then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced his decision to try suspected September 11 architect Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators in the U.S District Court for the Southern District of New York, just blocks from where the Twin Towers once stood, he declared it the most appropriate venue for “what is truly the trial of the century.”

Today, the quest to prosecute KSM—the terrorism-related case that will say the most about our American brand of justice—is barely a blip on the national consciousness. As we know, Holder’s determination to bring charges in a civilian court was met with a storm of political pushback, including a congressional ban on relocating any Guantánamo detainee to the U.S. mainland. That put matters back again before a Military Commission, the war-trial process convened under President George W. Bush and revised under President Obama. And there on Cuba’s eastern tip, the case against KSM—captured in 2003, transferred to Guantánamo in 2006, arraigned in 2012—limps along, without so much as a trial date in sight.

In 2013, the prosecution predicted that a trial could begin as early as September 2014 and, despite the dearth of pretrial discovery, asked the military court to issue a placeholder scheduling order “so the parties can properly plan for trial.” The judge presiding over the KSM case, Col. James L. Pohl, declined to commit to an unrealistic date, calling the request “not within the realm of possibility at this juncture.” By 2014, defense attorneys were no longer certain that a trial could even begin in 2016. At a recent pretrial hearing, in December 2015, the chief prosecutor, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, was unwilling to offer any prediction, other than to insist that movement toward a trial date was occurring in a “methodical” fashion. Defense counsel countered that, at this point, “2020 would be optimistic.”

Just about anything that can disrupt progress at the Guantánamo proceedings has.

(The al Nashiri case has had several trial dates, the most recent in February 2015, but his proceedings have been sidelined while the government pursues appellate challenges to multiple rulings. No trial date has been set for al Hadi, the only one of the three cases not eligible for the death penalty.)

Just about anything that can disrupt progress at the Guantánamo proceedings has. Assembling all the parties on a Caribbean island—reached by a three-hour military charter flight from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland—is itself a trial at times. Legal teams, including the military judges, occasionally spend as much time in transit as they do participating in courtroom proceedings. Schedules are set, often with months-long intervals, then scrapped. Hearings have been canceled even after participants and observers have already been airlifted in. In 2012, a train derailment in Baltimore damaged a fiber-optic cable that supplied Internet access to the Navy, forcing a 24-hour delay in the KSM proceedings; the next day, with Tropical Storm Isaac bearing down on Guantánamo, everyone scrambled back to the mainland, not to reconvene for another seven weeks.

Concerned that only 108 hours of on-the-record hearings had been conducted in 2014 for all three prosecutions combined, the official overseeing the Military Commissions recommended that military judges be required to relocate full-time to Guantánamo and preside exclusively over the war trial to which each was assigned. Retired Marine Maj. Gen. Vaughn Ary explained that “fundamental changes” were necessary if the military hoped to demonstrate a “serious commitment” to the “efficient, fair, and just administration” of ongoing and future cases there.

Assessment of Office of Military Commissions, Dec. 9, 2014
Assessment of Office of Military Commissions, Dec. 9, 2014

Gen. Ary’s mandate, which to a civilian audience would appear to be a modest step toward conscientious case management, played differently within the military. After defense attorneys objected to the Pentagon’s meddling—and each military judge determined that the move-in requirement could be perceived as unlawful influence—Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work revoked the order; days later, Gen. Ary resigned.

The defendants, often contemptuous of the proceedings, have manufactured their own delays. At KSM’s arraignment, for instance, he and his confederates insisted—to Judge Pohl’s disbelief—that their entire 87-page charge sheet be read aloud, an exercise that consumed nearly three hours. Detainees have sidetracked the hearings with complaints of strange noises and vibrations in their cells, and they have dragged the court into debates over whether their refusal to be escorted by female guards constitutes misogynistic foot-dragging or a “sincerely held religious belief.” When suspected 9/11 terrorist Walid bin Attash abruptly announced that he wanted to fire his defense team and represent himself, explaining to the judge that “so many issues… take precedence over what is happening in this courtroom,” his attorney said she had “no idea” how to advise him, given the Military Commission’s abbreviated legal history.

The government’s intrusions have further hindered progress. Judge Pohl was dismayed to discover, in 2013, that “some external body” was monitoring the proceedings and, without his knowledge or consent, had hit the mute button controlling the audio feed, which runs on a 40-second delay to prevent leaks of classified information. A few months later, the prison camp conceded that a smoke detector in an attorney-client meeting room had been equipped with a hidden microphone—one of several confidentiality lapses that defense lawyers have protested—although prosecutors insisted the device had not actually been used to snoop on privileged conversations. That was followed by the government’s acknowledgment, in 2015, that an interpreter assigned to the defense had previously worked for the CIA. (“I cannot trust him,” complained accused 9/11 conspirator Ramzi bin al Shibh, alleging that he recognized the linguist from a secret CIA prison. “We know him from there.”) And that came on the heels of the FBI’s attempt to infiltrate al Shibh’s defense team in 2014 over a suspected security breach—revelations that effectively derailed the KSM trial for a year and a half.

“Not only is there no end in sight to the military commission,” defense attorney James Connell told reporters, “there’s no middle in sight.”

Looming over much of the pretrial holdup is the specter of classified intelligence: millions of documents detailing the U.S. government’s harsh treatment of the defendants. It is information that the prosecution argues could compromise national security if disclosed—and that the defense maintains is essential, especially in a capital case, to mitigating their clients’ culpability. Even if found guilty, KSM and the other 9/11 defendants would be given “broad latitude” under Military Commission rules to present mitigating and extenuating evidence at their sentencing—and as their attorneys have already argued, “torture pervades everything.” In short, they hope this information will convince a jury to spare their clients’ lives.

Col. James L. Pohl, photo credit: court artist Janet Hamlin
Col. James L. Pohl, photo credit: court artist Janet Hamlin

Federal courts already have a tool for striking an appropriate balance: CIPA, the Classified Intelligence Procedures Act, which provides a framework for weighing the government’s secrecy interests against a criminal defendant’s right to exculpatory material. Although CIPA has been incorporated into the Military Commissions, successfully applying its provisions to evidentiary disputes at Guantánamo, where the volume of sensitive information is unprecedented and the interruptions are unrelenting, has proved an elusive task.

A recent example we witnessed firsthand: At the December proceedings for the 9/11 case, Judge Pohl asked for oral argument on a defense motion to compel the prosecution to produce documents related to White House or Department of Justice authority for the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program. It was first filed three years earlier, in December 2012, and for a year and a half, the defense complained, the prosecution had responded with “absolute silence.” As the transcript of their courtroom exchange confirms, Judge Pohl appeared frustrated as well, noting that he had before him a motion to compel, “and no reasons not to grant” it.

The prosecutor, Gen. Martins, took exception to the defense’s accusations of stonewalling, insisting that his team knew its discovery obligations and had been “working seven days a week trying to provide this.” Rather than address each defense request individually, however, he argued for a “consolidated” approach to producing all pending rendition-related discovery and asked for another nine months—until September 30, 2016—to complete it.

“Are you just not going to—you don’t want to address… [the motion to compel] at all then…?” Judge Pohl asked.

“I don’t,” Gen. Martins said.

A bit later, the defense tried to nudge Judge Pohl into taking a firmer stance. Al Shibh’s attorney explained that “it would be useful for the military judge to rule on motions to compel in the ordinary course so that it would define the obligations of the prosecution.”

Brigadier General Mark S. Martins, photo credit: McGeorge School of Law
Brigadier General Mark S. Martins, photo credit: McGeorge School of Law

Judge Pohl declined the invitation. It was true, he acknowledged, that the government was seeking some leeway, but at least on this occasion, the court was not going to force the prosecution’s hand: “I said okay, you can do that, okay, this time, okay.”

Although the complex Military Commission rules and still-evolving legal interpretations of them have had a hand in these delays, other agendas sometimes appear to be standing in the way. The government is surely reluctant to air the harrowing facts of its torture program, evidence that could prove disastrous in the court of international opinion even if it leads to convictions at Guantánamo; defense attorneys, meanwhile, know that even if they can expose those embarrassing details, the closer a trial actually looms, the closer their clients are to facing death.

As the Los Angeles Times recently concluded, articulating a perception that some of our observers have detected: “Neither side seems all that eager to go to trial.”

II. Enter, Federal Judges

We have revisited the fitful progress of these Guantánamo cases not to point fingers but to point a way forward. We have great respect for the military and its high judicial standards, including the countless military judges who serve their country honorably. But these are unusual proceedings, a new test of American justice in a new era of conflict, and they call for trial judges with the experience to appraise classified evidence and the latitude to embrace an expedited calendar. So many of the logistical and procedural snags we have witnessed strike us as avoidable, or at least readily ameliorated, if a few structural—and, we think, uncontroversial—remedies are adopted. First and foremost: put federal judges in charge of the Military Commission trials.

As a group primarily of lawyers, many of us litigators who have appeared in U.S. District Courts across the country, we have a special appreciation for judicial authority and discretion—all the more so at the federal level, where lifetime appointments protect judges from political interference. Federal judges rule their courtrooms through a combination of constitutional powers, procedural rules, management skills, and no-nonsense temperament. In our experience, no federal judge would tolerate the delays and detours that have characterized the Military Commission prosecutions thus far. At a minimum, if federal judges were appointed to serve at Guantánamo—to relocate to the naval base and preside full-time over the three ongoing cases—we are confident they could expedite the proceedings to a point where a viable trial schedule would come into focus.

We know this, in part, because federal judges already have a track record of successfully resolving some of the highest-profile terrorism cases of our day. The Center on Law and Security at New York University’s School of Law examined a decade of DOJ prosecutions since September 11, 2001, and found that of approximately 300 cases related to jihadist terror or national security charges, 87 percent resulted in convictions. Those figures do not include more recent cases, such as the prosecution of Osama bin Laden’s senior adviser and son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, whose 2013 arraignment before the Southern District of New York’s legendary Lewis A. Kaplan inspired commentators to observe that the judge “was in complete control of his courtroom.” Indeed, in the span of about 18 months, Abu Ghaith was captured, tried, and sentenced to life in prison. As Attorney General Holder said in a statement, the “trial, conviction and sentencing have underscored the power” of the civilian courts “to deliver swift and certain justice in cases involving terrorism defendants.”

Contrast that with the record of the Military Commissions, which have won only eight convictions since their inception—four of which have already been overturned on appeal. Unlike civilian courts, the Guantánamo tribunals allow for certain kinds of coerced statements and hearsay to be admitted, exceptions that prosecutors contend are essential to bringing the high-value detainees to justice. But Military Commissions at the same time are available only to prosecute specific crimes of war, a limitation that has served as the grounds for several of the successful appeals.

What we do propose is sending judicial officers to Guantánamo who are uniquely qualified to bring the cases to swift and fair resolutions. In other words: empowering federal judges to apply Military Commission law.

Although many of our task force members would support trying the Guantánamo cases in the federal courts, we recognize the political and legislative barriers to bringing the defendants onto U.S. soil, and do not propose to challenge Congress’s clear opposition to doing so. Nor do we propose to dismantle the Military Commission mechanisms already in place, which for all their untested and occasionally confounding procedures, still have the ability, we believe, to produce just, credible verdicts. What we do propose is sending judicial officers to Guantánamo who are uniquely qualified to bring the cases to swift and fair resolutions. In other words: empowering federal judges to apply Military Commission law.

We recommend therefore that the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (MCA) be amended to require the appointment of U.S. District Judges for assignment to Military Commission cases. Specifically, the MCA should direct the Convening Authority—the military official designated by the Secretary of Defense to oversee the Military Commission process—to assign current, senior, or former U.S. District Judges to preside over the Military Commissions. This could be accomplished by minor revision to MCA Section 948j (“Military judge of a military commission”):

Section 948j, with proposed amendment in redline
Section 948j, with proposed amendment in redline

These revisions would naturally require congressional approval, always an ambitious proposition in this highly partisan climate. Although we would not object to an executive order, we are hopeful that the legislative branch will accept our recommendation in the spirit with which it is offered: not to frustrate Congress’s will but to put jurists in place who can help advance it. Our proposal would also be subject to the approval of the Chief Justice of the United States or his designee. Again, we are optimistic that anyone who has risen to the Supreme Court would share our faith in the resolve of a U.S. District Judge to see the Guantánamo cases to a just conclusion.

We are aware, too, that federal judges, no matter how tenacious, would not be arriving at the naval base with magic wands. Much of their case-management authority—to compel testimony, to preclude evidence, to sanction counsel—flows from Article III of the U.S. Constitution, whereas the Military Commissions have been established under Article I. Several members of our task force have suggested that we propose additional powers for federal judges under the MCA, giving them tools more commensurate with an Article III court. While recognizing that such authority may be appropriate—and worthy of further study—we have agreed that it goes beyond the scope of this report. In any event, to the extent that federal judges would be operating within the confines of the MCA, they would not be of it. A federal judge, with the consent of that district’s Chief Judge, could agree to undertake the Military Commission assignment as his or her exclusive judicial duty. As a tenured officer of the court, outside the military’s chain of command, he or she could also independently commit to establishing chambers at Guantánamo for the duration of the case. Far from being susceptible to command influence, a federal judge would help inoculate the trial against potential meddling.

Precedent exists for appointing federal judges to preside over courts for special purposes abroad. President Eisenhower created one such court in Germany after World War II—the United States Court for Berlin—pursuant to his powers under Article II of the Constitution. After lying dormant for nearly a quarter-century, the court was convened in 1978 to try two East German nationals accused of hijacking a Polish jet. To preside over the case, U.S. v. Tiede, the State Department selected the Hon. Herbert J. Stern, a U.S. District Judge in New Jersey. To Judge Stern’s dismay, the same government that put him in charge of the case also wanted to tell him how it should turn out. In ruling that foreign nationals were entitled to a jury trial under the Constitution, he rebelled against State Department orders—a reaction, according to one commentator, likely due to his lifetime tenure and displeasure with receiving direction from Washington, which was “highly inconsistent with the self-image of federal judges.”

Although the United States Court for Berlin did not have jurisdiction over war crimes or enemy belligerents, as the Military Commissions in Guantánamo do, its establishment nevertheless supports the executive branch’s ability to recruit a federal judge to preside over proceedings abroad. It also shows constitutional support for allowing the federal judiciary to serve in a non-Article III court and apply an external body of law—there, it was German law; here, it could be the MCA. More importantly, even though he was serving outside the confines of Article III, Judge Stern retained the independence he was accustomed to on the U.S. District Court bench. Given the disruptions that have plagued the Guantánamo proceedings, the habitual exercise of autonomy that Judge Stern embodied could not help but speed these trials and ensure their fairness. Equipped with deep experience in CIPA procedures, a federal judge would also be better positioned to evaluate the millions of pieces of classified information that have thus far mired the cases in years-long discovery disputes.

Again, to say that U.S. District Judges are particularly suited for managing an unwieldy capital case involving allegations of extensive government torture is not to denigrate military judges. It is to highlight the time-tested expertise and makeup of the federal judiciary, whose capabilities we propose to supplement with the technological and procedural recommendations outlined in the next section. For those of us who are litigators, the most impressive judges we encounter are simply masters of “the art of judging,” courtroom deans with a talent for curbing lawyerly excess and encouraging consensus—if not by invoking the rules, then through sheer force of personality. A U.S. District Judge with those credentials would have an immediate impact on the pace at Guantánamo.

III. Closing the Gap

As much confidence as we have in the case-management and administrative capabilities of the federal judiciary, we recognize that the Guantánamo trials pose unique logistical and procedural challenges. To help close those gaps and facilitate management of the cases, we offer four additional recommendations. Like our proposed amendments to the MCA, these do not seek to dismantle or relocate the Military Commissions but to remove some of the obstacles impeding their headway. And like the appointment of federal judges, these tools will remain effective regardless of what ultimately becomes of the detention camp.

Technology. In a world that has never been more mobile and connected, there is no reason every pretrial motion involving a Guantánamo detainee should have to be heard in person. Even if a federal judge were stationed there, many other parties—lawyers, witnesses, interpreters—would still face the prospect of shuttling to and from the naval base. To permit expeditious resolution of pretrial matters, we propose that any judge appointed by the Convening Authority be authorized to utilize secure videoconferencing for the hearing of pretrial and discovery motions, pretrial and status conferences, and the like, and to order defendants or their counsel, as needed, to appear by closed videoconference as well. We would endorse an amendment to the MCA expressly granting that authority. We also support making videoconferencing technology available to defense counsel, whose ability to communicate confidentially with their clients—compromised at various points in these cases—is essential to promoting more efficient proceedings.

Given Guantánamo’s remoteness, establishing a secure transoceanic connection would have been a fantasy when the Military Commissions were initially formed. But in 2014, the U.S. Navy awarded a $31 million contract to a Texas firm, Xtera Communications, to install an underwater fiber-optic cable between Guantánamo and Florida. Scheduled to be active in February 2016, it should add significant bandwidth to the base, which is currently served by satellite, and permit for the kind of instantaneous global communications on which federal courts routinely rely.

Timeline. Although the MCA did away with an accused’s statutory right to a speedy trial under military law—a protection that some, though not all, of our task force members would like to see restored—we believe nonetheless that setting a trial date is critical to the effective management of these cases. Currently, Section 949e of the MCA (“Continuances”) makes no mention of scheduling orders, and instead provides broad authority to a Military Commission judge to “grant a continuance to any party for such time, and as often, as may appear to be just.” We recommend that Section 949e be amended to state explicitly that “the judge appointed by the Convening Authority shall schedule a trial date.” In our experience, federal judges treat their trial dates not as placeholders or pipe dreams but as strict, almost sacrosanct mileposts. Even if there is good cause to later continue that trial date, the simple act of setting one establishes goals for all parties and signals the judge’s commitment to guiding the case to a timely resolution. Moreover, the public, including victims and witnesses, has an interest in at least knowing that the Military Commission is proceeding along a firm schedule. We subscribe to the American Bar Association principles that policies and standards designed to achieve timely disposition of criminal cases should be established to, among other things, “minimiz[e] the length of the periods of anxiety for victims, witnesses and defendants, and their families” and “increas[e] public trust and confidence in the justice system.”

Hicksville, Long Island, residents Robert, left, and Christopher Howard, the sons of George Gerard Howard, who was killed on Sept. 11, 2001. (Aug. 23, 2011) (Credit: Mike Roy)
Hicksville, Long Island, residents Robert, left, and Christopher Howard, the sons of George Gerard Howard, who was killed on Sept. 11, 2001. (Aug. 23, 2011) (Credit: Mike Roy)

Victims. Every one of us who has traveled to Guantánamo as an observer has felt the anger, pain, and frustration of the victims’ families, some of whom have come to believe they will never in their lifetimes achieve legal finality given the pace of pretrial hearings and the specter of appeal. While we remain hopeful that our recommendations here will help bring relief to these families and restore their faith in the Military Commission process, we also believe there is a mechanism for incorporating their voices into the current proceedings.

One of our members, who served as a judicial law clerk to President and Judge Khalida Rachid Khan of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, helped draft the 2011 judgment in Bizimungu, et al., a high-profile case against four Rwandan cabinet-level officials. By then, 17 years had elapsed since the genocide and 12 years since the indictments, an agonizing wait for the survivors and victims’ families. Recognizing that progress would be incremental, however, the tribunal had invited witnesses to testify during the discovery phase of the proceedings. Indeed, between 2003 and 2008, the trial court recorded testimony from 171 witnesses over the course of 399 days, preserving their recollections both for appeal and for history. Knowing that their testimony would survive for posterity comforted survivors and victims’ families and provided some with satisfaction that their stories were finally heard on an international stage. The same opportunity could be extended, even now, to families victimized by the 9/11 and USS Cole attacks. Rather than waiting years for the trials to begin, they could testify to the personal impact of these crimes during the pretrial phase. Under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 15(a)(1), when “exceptional circumstances and… the interests of justice” require it, courts have allowed videotaped deposition testimony to be admitted in criminal trials, provided counsel is present at the taping and the witness was subjected to cross-examination. Military Commission Rule 702 mirrors that standard. While some in our group have cautioned that managing victim testimony at this stage of the proceedings could impose a burden on the court, the majority of us remain optimistic that a full-time federal judge would devise an appropriate scheduling strategy. The victims have waited too long already. Initiating that process for surviving families now would give them a legal and public forum to memorialize their loss, and it would provide the Military Commission with a record of what these crimes inflicted for purposes of sentencing, if and when that occurs.

Out of sight, out of mind?
Out of sight, out of mind?

Openness. If a trial is to achieve the objective of maintaining public confidence in the administration of justice, it must remain open to the public—or as Justice Brennan once put it, “what transpires in a courtroom is public property.” While we are grateful that the Military Commissions have made accommodations for nongovernmental observers, as well as victims’ families and members of the media, we are concerned that the limits on documenting and transmitting the proceedings at Guantánamo have, at worst, bred suspicions of prejudice and, at a minimum, created conditions that have contributed to a general unawareness of and indifference toward these important proceedings. Assuming the appropriate security mechanisms remain in effect, we believe that all public Military Commission hearings—i.e., the legal machinery we have witnessed firsthand—should be made available for broadcast and Internet streaming. The Supreme Court began releasing same-week audio files of its hearings in 2010, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2013 became the first federal appellate court to live-stream video of its proceedings. An audio and/or video feed from Guantánamo, whether on air or online, is essential to promoting public engagement, demystifying a process mired in misunderstanding, and articulating for the world how the Military Commissions advance American values and interests.

IV. Why We Care

In making these recommendations, our task force hopes to underscore the stakes of the Guantánamo trials—for our country and, on behalf of those of us who are lawyers, for our profession. We have deliberately focused our efforts on proposing narrow, pragmatic revisions to the existing legal mechanisms, a target that we think makes the best use of our collective experience. But neither our interest nor our concern ends there. We care about logistics and procedures because they shape the bigger questions: about legality and credibility, impartiality and transparency, public diplomacy and military principles.

Although as individuals we span the political spectrum, we all share the view that our country must do a better job of communicating, at home and abroad, what we are doing at Guantánamo and why. As recent events serve to remind us, the 9/11 and USS Cole attacks are unlikely to be the last time our government will feel compelled to take extraordinary legal action under emergency conditions. It is one thing to be a nation of laws in peacetime. It is how we respond in times of peril that will define what is meant by American justice.

The Pacific Council’s GTMO Task Force includes 18 members, most of whom have traveled to Guantánamo as official civilian observers. The views and opinions expressed here are solely each member’s own and do not reflect those of any company, organization, agency, or employer. ■

Richard B. Goetz, Co-Chair, is a partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP and leads its mass torts practice. He sits on the Pacific Council Board of Directors and served as the Council’s inaugural Guantánamo observer. He wrote about that experience here.

Michelle M. Kezirian, Co-Chair, is a public interest lawyer.

Gordon Bava is a partner and the co-chairman of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP.

Robert C. Bonner is a former U.S. Attorney, U.S. District Judge, Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Lyn Boyd-Judson is Director of the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics at USC and Executive Director of the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights.

Joseph Calabrese is a partner at Latham & Watkins and chair of its Entertainment, Sports and Media Practice. He sits on the board and is past chair of the Constitutional Rights Foundation, an organization committed to civic education.

Mike Dwyer is Senior Vice President, Legal, at JAKKS Pacific and a retired U.S. Army JAG Corps officer.

Charles Gillig is CEO of RemitRight. He wrote about his Guantánamo experience here.

Jerrold D. Green is President and CEO of the Pacific Council on International Policy.

Marisa Hernández-Stern is a litigation associate with the civil rights firm Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP, where she represents plaintiffs in employment class actions and other employment matters. She wrote about her Guantánamo experience here.

Perlette Jura is a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and co-chair of its Transnational Litigation Group. She wrote about her Guantánamo experience here.

Harry Leonhardt, Esq., is a veteran healthcare executive, general counsel, and chief compliance officer.

Alicia Miñana is a transactional attorney and the founding chair of the board of directors for the Learning Rights Law Center.

Robert C. O’Brien is a partner at Larson O’Brien LLP. He served as a U.S. Representative to the United Nations and as Co-chairman of the Department of State Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan. He wrote about his Guantánamo experience here.

Seepan Parseghian is a former associate at Snell & Wilmer and Vice Chair of the Pacific Council’s Eurasia Committee.

K. Jack Riley is Vice President and Director of the RAND National Security Research Division.

Harry Stang is a senior counsel and former partner at Bryan Cave.

Paul Tauber is a partner at Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP.

Staff

Dru Brenner-Beck, a retired Army JAG Corps officer, contributed research assistance.

Tristan Bufete, an O’Melveny & Myers associate, contributed research assistance.

Jesse Katz, a journalist and author, provided drafting and editing assistance.

Kaveh Farzad, the Pacific Council’s Communications Officer, Melissa Lockhart Fortner, the Pacific Council’s Vice President of Communications, and Ashley McKenzie, the Pacific Council’s Trips Officer, provided additional staff support.

This report was published in February 2016.

The Los Angeles-based Pacific Council is an independent, nonpartisan organization committed to enhancing the West Coast’s impact on global issues and policy. Since 1995, the Pacific Council has hosted discussion events on issues of global importance, convened task forces and working groups to address pressing policy challenges, and built a network of globally-minded members across the West Coast and the world.

Visit us at www.pacificcouncil.org.

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Global Los Angeles

PEOPLE

Who lives in Los Angeles?

If the United States is a nation of immigrants, Los Angeles is a city of immigrants, and especially one of recent immigrants: 36 percent of the residents of Los Angeles were born abroad. Among major metropolitan areas, only Miami has a higher percentage of foreign-born residents than Los Angeles.

The link to other countries is even more pronounced in the next generation. More than half of all children in Los Angeles live in households with at least one foreign-born parent. Only Miami and the San Francisco Bay area share this characteristic.

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Among major U.S. metropolitan areas, Los Angeles has the highest concentrations of Hispanics and Latinos, and the second highest concentration of Asians. As a region, Southern California has the largest populations, in absolute numbers, of people who claim Mexican, Guatemalan, and Salvadoran descent. The region is also home to the largest populations of people of Korean, Japanese, Filipino, and Vietnamese origins. Only the New York metropolitan area has a larger population of Chinese descent. Southern California also has the highest concentrations and largest absolute numbers of people who claim Iranian or Armenian descent.

These demographic facts are widely known. Less well known, perhaps, is that in the United States, Southern California is home to the largest populations of people who claim British descent (that is, English, Scottish, or Welsh) and those who claim Scandinavian descent (Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, or Finnish).


A Magnet for International Migrants

Southern California is a major destination for people moving to the United States from abroad. In 2013, it accounted for almost 9 percent of all U.S. residents who had moved to this country from abroad in the previous year. Southern California is particularly a magnet for young adults, with more migrants aged 18 through 24 than any other major city.

Thousands march for immigration reform in Los Angeles, CA - Credit: Flickr user SEIU
Thousands march for immigration reform in Los Angeles, CA – Credit: Flickr user SEIU

Southern California also draws a disproportionate share of migrants who have bachelor’s degrees – more than 10 percent of the U.S. total and more than any other U.S. city.


Polyglot City

In his 2010 inaugural address, C.L. Max Nikias, the incoming president of the University of Southern California, noted that 224 different languages are spoken in the Los Angeles region:

“The 224 languages that are spoken in this city, and the 115 nations represented today on this campus, are distinctly representative of a new world that is tilted toward the civilizations of the Pacific.” C.L. Max Nikias

Somewhat less dramatically, but perhaps more operationally significant, the California Department of Education identified 59 specific native languages among public school students in Los Angeles County in the 2013-2014 school year, and a measureable number (0.4 percent of total enrollment) of students with yet other native tongues. Students with native languages other than English account for 52 percent of total public school enrollment in the county. The comparable figure for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is even higher at 63 percent. There is some indication, though, that the wave of students requiring educational services in languages other than English, which has been a characteristic of LAUSD in recent years, is receding. The fraction of students in LAUSD classified as “English learners” – that is, not fully proficient in English – peaked in the 2003-2004 school year and has been gradually declining since.

Fully half of L.A. residents aged five years or older live in households where a language other than English is spoken, higher than any other major U.S. city. The proportion is only slightly lower in the region as a whole. While Spanish is the most common language other than English spoken in a large majority of these households (70 percent of those who speak a language other than English at home), Southern California is far from being simply a bilingual region. Substantial minorities speak Asian languages or Pacific Islander languages (19 percent) or some Indo-European language other than Spanish (8 percent).

Official institutions in Los Angeles accommodate residents who prefer to speak languages other than English. The California State Department of Motor Vehicles offers written driver license examinations in 31 languages other than English. The next most accommodating state, New York, offers examinations in only 12 languages other than English. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County makes instructional materials available in 30 languages other than English. For comparison, the New York State Unified Court System provides information in only 10 languages other than English.

The California State Department of Motor Vehicles offers written driver license examinations in 31 languages other than English.

Despite these efforts to provide written material in multiple languages, L.A. residents with limited facility in English still face obstacles in gaining access to important government services. Although Los Angeles County courts are generally able to provide interpreters for non-English speakers in criminal cases, they lack sufficient interpreters to provide similar services in all civil cases. This prompted a complaint from the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and a subsequent investigation by the U.S. Justice Department concluding in 2013 that county courts were in violation of the Civil Rights Act. A draft plan to remedy this situation was released in July 2014.

Finally, at least 42 foreign-language newspapers are regularly published in Southern California in 10 different languages. An additional four English-language papers are published in the region for specific expatriate communities.


Integrating L.A.’s Immigrants

Grand Park, Los Angeles - Credit: Flickr user cappuccinojunkie
Grand Park, Los Angeles – Credit: Flickr user cappuccinojunkie

In the long run, the large population of immigrants who now make their homes in Los Angeles and Southern California constitutes a potential source of economic and social strength for the region. The foreign-born population is more heavily concentrated than the native population in the prime working-age group of 18 through 64, and among residents 16 and older, the foreign-born population shows a higher rate of employment than does the native population. Despite the relatively high rate of employment among foreign-born residents, families headed by a foreign-born householder in Southern California are almost twice as likely to live in poverty as are families headed by a native householder.

May Day Immigration Rally 2010 in Los Angeles - Credit: Flickr user Joseph Voves
May Day Immigration Rally 2010 in Los Angeles – Credit: Flickr user Joseph Voves

One explanation for the poor economic status of foreign-born residents of Southern California is their low average educational achievement. As the last row of table 2-5 shows, foreign-born residents of the five-county Los Angeles area are more than four times as likely as natives not to have graduated from high school. In San Diego County the disparity is even greater, at 5.6 times.

By these measures of economic success and educational achievement among the foreign-born population, the Los Angeles CSA does not compare well with other major U.S. urban centers. Nor do these indicators seem to be improving. Employment rates among foreign-born residents were lower in 2013 than in 2006 in both the Los Angeles CSA and the San Diego MSA. Household poverty rates rose in both areas over the same period. The only hopeful sign is that the percentage of foreign-born residents aged 25 or older without a high school education declined in Los Angeles, and held steady in San Diego. Integration of Southern California’s immigrant population into the regional economy, it would seem, is still a work in progress.

Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, on Immigration Reform

Recently, the new mayor of the City of Los Angeles re-established an Office of Immigrant Affairs to assist immigrants in navigating local, state, and federal governmental programs. A similar office had been created in 2004, but had been defunded during the previous mayor’s administration. With the re-opening of this office, the City of Los Angeles joins New York, Chicago, Houston, and San Francisco in providing a governmental focal point for immigrant affairs.


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ECONOMY

Los Angeles is a global “command center” on the Pacific. It is a hub of sea and air travel and hosts some of the top companies and banking institutions from around the world. This access to the ideas, practices, and products of the world stimulates local innovation and growth. But with the expansion of the Panama Canal, shipping routes could change, and the increase in longer-range aircrafts could allow more flights to skip L.A. on their way to Asia. Strategic policy decisions must ensure that Los Angeles continues to thrive as a global hub.

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International Transportation Connections

Being a global city requires direct connections to foreign destinations by both sea and air. The major ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, subsidiary seaports in the region, and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) provide strong links between Southern California and overseas markets.

Maritime Trade

The Art of Stevedore | A time lapse video of the port of Long Beach, by Alex Hallajian

By a wide margin, the ports of Southern California lead the United States in the value of goods handled. Both the Houston-Galveston and New Orleans port districts handle greater tonnages of foreign trade than does Los Angeles, but trade in these ports is concentrated in commodities, which typically have lower value per weight than the more varied cargos that pass through Los Angeles-area ports.

From 2003 through 2008, the share of all U.S. maritime foreign trade handled by Southern California ports declined. This share appears to have stabilized since 2008. Even with modest increases in 2012 and 2013, Southern California ports have not regained the market share they enjoyed a decade earlier. U.S. West Coast ports, including those in Southern California, will face increased competition when the widening of the Panama Canal is completed in 2015. The expanded canal will accommodate larger ships, which may then proceed directly from Asia to U.S. Gulf and East Coast ports, bypassing West Coast ports.

Air Transport

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) - Credit: Flickr user Robert Pratt
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) – Credit: Flickr user Robert Pratt

LAX is a major international airport. In numbers of international flights and international passengers, it ranks third nationally behind John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York and Miami International Airport (MIA). If traffic at JFK and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) – the two major international airports serving New York City – is combined, the New York region dominates U.S. international flight-segment and passenger traffic by a wide margin. With respect to international freight, LAX is third behind Anchorage and Miami.

Although LAX ranks high among U.S. airports with respect to international flight segments and international passengers, LAX has been losing market share in both categories in recent years. In contrast, the LAX share of total freight handled has been growing since 2005.

LAX Data Cloud, L.A. Airport: The Next-Generation Destination Board

The loss of share of international traffic – flights and passengers – at LAX is particularly disappointing in view of the rapid growth of Asia, which would seem to constitute the natural destinations for flights from Los Angeles. Presumably, increasing use of longer-range aircraft since 2000 has allowed some flights from the U.S. East Coast to reach Asia without an intermediate stop in Los Angeles, thus reducing the share of international passengers and flights at LAX. But if this were the principal explanation for LAX’s declining shares of passengers and flights, one might expect to find a similar reduction in shares at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), the other obvious gateway to Asia. This appears not to be the case. SFO did see declines in its shares of passengers and flights (from lower starting shares), but the reductions were less pronounced than at LAX. From a lower initial share, SFO lost about 4 percent of its share of international passengers and about 9 percent of its share of international flights from 2000 to 2013. The corresponding losses at LAX were 19 percent and 25 percent. It would appear, then, that at least some of the causes of declining shares at LAX must be factors specific to LAX.


A Commercial “Command Center

Downtown Los Angeles, CA - Credit: Flickr user Neil Kremer
Downtown Los Angeles, CA – Credit: Flickr user Neil Kremer

Although Los Angeles is an international center of decision-making related to a few industries – entertainment being the most prominent example – in general, the city does not rank high among U.S. cities as a commercial “command center”: a place where corporate headquarters or other important commercial institutions have chosen to locate.

Corporate Headquarters

In 2013, Los Angeles was host to the corporate headquarters of 22 Fortune 500 firms, coming behind New York, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay area, and Houston. Southern California has just two more, for 24 total, but in the next count of Fortune 500 companies (in June 2015) the region will lose at least two of those 24. In February 2014, Occidental Petroleum, then based in Los Angeles, announced that it would split off its California assets and move the headquarters of the much larger remaining company to Houston. And in November 2014, Irvine-based Allergan agreed to be acquired by the Irish pharmaceutical firm Actavis.

After these losses, the number of Fortune 500 headquarters in Southern California will be only slightly higher than the 19 in the region in 1991. Since then, the commercial sectors with corporate headquarters in Southern California have changed. Some sectors traditionally associated with international operations and sales are no longer represented. Oil and gas headquarters, for example, have left the region (Atlantic Richfield, Unocal, and soon Occidental). Similarly, aerospace and defense contracting firms (Northrop, Lockheed, Rockwell, Teledyne, Litton) have merged or moved their headquarters elsewhere. But many of the companies now appearing on the list are active internationally. There seems to be no reason to think that the changing mix of companies with headquarters in Southern California has reduced the region’s international connections. Nonetheless, the small number of major-company headquarters in the region is disappointing.

Neither is Southern California home to U.S. or North American headquarters of major foreign or multinational firms. Of the 100 largest foreign companies that had regional headquarters in the United States, only six had headquarters in Southern California: Honda in Torrance, Nestle in Glendale, Hyundai in Fountain Valley, Mitsubishi Motors in Cypress, Toshiba Information Systems in Irvine, and Tewoo Group in Irvine.

Downtown Los Angeles - Credit: Flickr user Matti Vuorre
Downtown Los Angeles – Credit: Flickr user Matti Vuorre

Foreign Banking Institutions

Another indicator of a city’s commercial engagement with the rest of the world is the presence of the offices of foreign banks. Since 1997, the U.S. Federal Reserve has published a quarterly listing of all such offices in the United States.

The total number of foreign banking offices in the United States has fallen by half since 1997, a reflection of consolidation in the worldwide banking sector. New York is the dominant location for foreign banking offices, but a significant cluster of these offices is found in Southern California – more than in any metropolitan area other than New York. Nonetheless, the share of foreign banking offices in Southern California has fallen from 13.4 percent in 1997 to 10.4 percent in 2014.

Managing Foreign Trade

Despite the relative scarcity of major corporate headquarters in Los Angeles and Southern California, the region seems to play a significant role in directing the flow of U.S. merchandise exports. Since 2005, the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the U.S. Commerce Department has reported the annual value of merchandise exports by metropolitan statistical area (MSA). These data do not reflect where the exported goods were actually produced. Rather, exports are attributed to MSAs on the basis of the ZIP code of the United States Principal Party of Interest (USPPI) of record for each export transaction. The USPPI is “the person or legal entity in the United States that receives the primary benefit, monetary of otherwise, from the export transaction.” Plausibly, the location of the party initially receiving the return from the trade transaction is the party directing the transaction. Consequently, these statistics point to a locus of decision-making with respect to U.S. exports and thus reflect which metropolitan areas constitute “command centers” for U.S. international trade.

The Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, California, and the largest shipping port in America - Credit: Flickr user Neil Kremer
The Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, California, and the largest shipping port in America – Credit: Flickr user Neil Kremer

In terms of the value of merchandise exports (2013 data), the Southern California region ranks third behind Houston and New York. Southern California’s share of total U.S. merchandise exports has declined modestly since 2005 – from 6.6 percent to 6.0 percent.

Binational Chambers of Commerce

A final indicator of a metropolitan area’s role in directing international commercial activity may be the number of local associations dedicated to promoting or facilitating commercial relations between that city and particular foreign countries. The California Chamber of Commerce provides a list of “binational chambers of commerce and associations” in California, along with contact information. In early 2014, there were 41 such organizations in Southern California and, coincidently, another 41 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Southern California organizations represented 26 different countries; those in the Bay Area represented 22 different countries. There appears to be no archive of lists from previous years, and it is therefore impossible to know whether the number of such organizations is growing or shrinking.


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DIPLOMACY

The city of Los Angeles may not be a traditional diplomatic hub, but it has developed considerable institutional and informal diplomatic ties to the rest of the world. These include extensive consular representation, a robust Sister Cities program, booming tourism, a diverse population of international students, and much more.

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Consular Representation

Air Force One, taking off from LAX - Credit: Flickr user Anthony Citrano
Air Force One, taking off from LAX – Credit: Flickr user Anthony Citrano

The presence of consular offices in a city provides some indication of the richness of commercial and civil relations between that city and foreign countries, as judged by foreign diplomatic services. By this measure, Southern California is second only to the New York area. Washington, D.C., is not included in this ranking since countries that maintain diplomatic relations with the United States have embassies in the nation’s capital, and most of these have consular sections.

There has been modest growth in the consular presence in Southern California in recent years. Southern California hosted 62 consular offices in 2006: that number is now 65.


Sister Cities

An introductory video for the Sister Cities of Los Angeles program

Among them, the cities that make up the Southern California region have sister-city relationships with 159 foreign cities. The city of Los Angeles alone has 25 foreign sister cities.


A Place Where the World Gathers

Venice Beach, California - Credit: Flickr user Pedro Szekely
Venice Beach, California – Credit: Flickr user Pedro Szekely

By a number of measures, Los Angeles and Southern California rank high as a destination for foreigners who come to the United States for limited periods of time.

Foreign Visitors

There is no fully satisfactory source of information on the number of foreigners who visit particular U.S. cities for business or for pleasure. The most common starting point for such estimates is the Survey of International Air Travelers undertaken by the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) within the U.S. Department of Commerce. A variety of proprietary estimates seek to supplement or augment the OTTI estimates, and sometimes these alternative estimates vary significantly from the OTTI estimates. Although they have some shortcomings, the OTTI surveys do provide a consistent measure of foreign visitors across cities and over time.

The growth of foreign visitors to the Los Angeles area is being driven by a sharp increase in the number of Chinese visitors.

Looking at the number of foreign visitors to U.S. cities since 2000 (Figure 2-12), New York is in a league of its own, with three times as many foreign visitors as any other city. In most years, Los Angeles is at the top of a distant second tier of destination cities. San Diego and Anaheim also attract significant numbers of overseas visitors; both rank within the top 20 U.S. destination cities.

The number of foreign visitors to all U.S. cities dropped after the September 11 attacks, bottoming out in 2003, and then gradually recovering. The number of visitors dropped again in 2009 as a consequence of the global recession. New York regained its pre-9/11 number of foreign visitors by 2005, far ahead of other destination cities. Los Angeles, however, did not achieve this until 2011. Something about New York, apparently unique, brought overseas visitors back more quickly than to other U.S. cities.

The growth of foreign visitors to the Los Angeles area is being driven by a sharp increase in the number of Chinese visitors. The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board (LATCB) estimated that Los Angeles received 570,000 Chinese visitors in 2013. That number is up from 158,000 in 2009, for an increase of 261 percent. In a welcome display of international orientation, LATCB has established what it calls its NiHao China program, through which staff at L.A.-area hotels, attractions, and retailers are trained to meet the cultural preferences of Chinese visitors. Businesses with sufficient staff who complete the training receive certification and are promoted via LATCB’s marketing in China.

…there is no systematically coordinated planning or international marketing among the various municipal tourism authorities in Southern California. This seems to be a lost opportunity.

Although LATCB marketing materials feature tourist attractions beyond the city of Los Angeles, there is no systematically coordinated planning or international marketing among the various municipal tourism authorities in Southern California. This seems to be a lost opportunity.

Welcoming International Leaders

Four organizations in Southern California participate in the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), which aims to “connect current and emerging foreign leaders with their American counterparts through short-term visits to the United States.” The four participating organizations are the International Visitors

The International Visitors Council of Los Angeles (IVCLA)

Council of Los Angeles, the UCLA International Visitors Bureau, the International Relations Council of Riverside, and the San Diego Diplomacy Council. Southern California is not unique in hosting visiting foreign leaders: cities throughout the United States have participating local organizations. Southern California stands out, though, in the number of visitors it hosts. These four local organizations host, among them, more than 2,500 visitors, a substantial fraction of the 5,000 or so foreign visitors who participate in the IVLP each year.

International Conferences and Meetings

A characteristic of truly global cities and regions is their hosting of international conferences and meetings. Among U.S. regions, Southern California shows mid-level performance by this measure. The region’s status as a location for international meetings depends largely on the popularity of San Diego, which surpasses Los Angeles by a considerable margin.

The International Congress and Convention Association collects data on the number of “regularly occurring association meetings which rotate between at least three countries” in selected U.S. cities. Primarily, these data reflect meetings of international professional associations and what the ICCA terms “social groups” (Lions Club International, for example). These data exclude corporate gatherings and international governmental meetings.

The Hon. José Manuel Barroso, former President of the European Commission, at a Pacific Council event - May 2014
The Hon. José Manuel Barroso, former President of the European Commission, at a Pacific Council event – May 2014

Combining Los Angeles and San Diego, Southern California ranks well below Boston, Washington, D.C., and the San Francisco Bay area as a preferred location for international meetings in the United States. No U.S. city ranks anywhere near the top cities in the world for international conferences: Paris (204 meetings in 2013), Madrid (186), and Vienna (182) lead the way. Figures for European cities are naturally higher because the smaller size of European countries makes border crossing for meetings much more common than in the United States.

Although it is not specifically an indicator of international engagement, the city of Los Angeles ranks poorly for its size as a preferred location for conventions and business gatherings – not just international gatherings. The most recent ranking of U.S. cities by Cvent places Los Angeles only nineteenth in this regard, with San Diego ranking fifth.

International Students

The colleges and universities of Southern California are major contributors to the international character of the region. In figures compiled by the Institute of International Education (IIE), the state of California leads the nation in the number of international students enrolled in its colleges and universities with 121,647 in the 2013-2014 academic year, far ahead of second-place New York with 98,906. Higher education institutions in Southern California enrolled some 72,762 international students in academic year 2013-2014.

Crowd cheers for President Obama at USC Rally - Credit: Flickr user Neon Tommy
Crowd cheers for President Obama at USC Rally – Credit: Flickr user Neon Tommy

Comparing data on total international enrollment in Southern California institutions in academic years 2005-2006 and 2013-2014, Southern California’s share of total international enrollment in U.S. universities has remained roughly the same: international enrollment in the region in recent years has been growing at just about the same rate as international enrollment in the United States as a whole. The 2005-2006 academic year marked a low point in international enrollments in the United States – in both absolute numbers of students and as a share of total university enrollment – after the attacks of September 11, 2001, made travel to the United States by foreign students more difficult.

…the state of California leads the nation in the number of international students enrolled in its colleges and universities…

Some institutions of higher education in Los Angeles are particular magnets for foreign students. The University of Southern California (USC) ranks second – after New York University (NYU) – with 10,932 international students in academic year 2013-2014. UCLA, with 9,579 international students, ranks sixth in the nation. The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a much smaller institution than USC or UCLA and thus has fewer international students enrolled, but as a share of total enrollment, Caltech has easily the highest concentration of international students in the region for a major research university – 34 percent of its student body in 2013-2014.

UCLA Powell Library - Credit: Flickr user Jimmy Yeh
UCLA Powell Library – Credit: Flickr user Jimmy Yeh

Among the institutions that the IIE classifies “master’s institutions,” three of the top four universities in international enrollment are in Southern California: California State University-Northridge, California State University-Long Beach, and California State University-Fullerton. Three other Southern California campuses of the California State University system – California State-San Bernardino, California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, and California State-Los Angeles – are also in the top 25 master’s institutions in the number of international students. And eight Southern California community colleges rank among the top 35 “associate’s institutions” in the nation in the number of international students, with Santa Monica College coming in at number two.

The region’s universities are also centers for international scholarship and research, collaborating with foreign institutions and attracting faculty from around the world. In particular, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, operated by Caltech, is a symbol of U.S. dominance in space exploration and a participant in many international collaborative space ventures. Beyond connecting Southern California to the rest of the world, JPL serves today as the world’s principal connection to the rest of the solar system!


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CULTURE

Arts, culture, and entertainment are central to L.A.’s international connections. Motion pictures and videos produced by L.A. studios are seen worldwide; foreigners visit the L.A. area’s museums, performance spaces, and theme parks; artists based in the Southern California region are in demand abroad; and institutions and companies active in artistic, cultural, and entertainment endeavors are important channels for the international exchange of people and ideas, and are thus significant contributors to the international character of the region. Artistic, cultural, and entertainment products do much to shape outsiders’ views of Los Angeles. But, while the prominence of the city in the entertainment industry is long established, more recently, Los Angeles is emerging as an energetic and innovative center for other aspects of arts and culture.

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The Motion Picture and Video Industries

Universal Studios, Hollywood - Credit: Flickr user Prayitno
Universal Studios, Hollywood – Credit: Flickr user Prayitno

Los Angeles has long been the center of the global motion picture and video industries. Long before L.A. could reasonably have been characterized as a global city, the Hollywood film industry had captured the imagination of the world. Throughout the world, people knew about Hollywood, and Hollywood delivered a powerful, if not always entirely accurate vision of the United States to global audiences. Here’s how Historian Bruce Cumings describes the Hollywood entertainment complex:

“[Hollywood is] a culture industry that still makes nearly all the films seen across the country and the world, lacks any serious competitor (as it always has), and remains a central foundation of America’s global position – and especially, how the world views Americans.

In recent years, considerable attention has focused on declining employment in the industry in Los Angeles. Figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show a decline of some 20 percent from 2008 through 2012 in Los Angeles County employment in North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 5121, Motion Picture and Video Industries. This NAICS code includes production and distribution of motion pictures and video as well as industries associated with the exhibition of movies and videos.

James Dean statue, Griffith Park, Los Angeles - Credit: Flickr user Prayitno
James Dean statue, Griffith Park, Los Angeles – Credit: Flickr user Prayitno

Declining Los Angeles County employment in these industries parallels a similar decline in national employment, reflecting the movement of movie and video work overseas. But movie and television jobs have been moving to other parts of the United States as well, and declining employment in Los Angeles County has been steeper than in the nation as a whole. In 2008, the peak year for movie and video employment in both the county and the nation, Los Angeles County accounted for 39 percent of total national movie and video employment. By 2012, this share had fallen to 34 percent.

Despite declining employment in the motion picture and video industries, Los Angeles County remains the home of the studios that account for the vast bulk of movie box office receipts, both domestically and internationally. Fifteen of the 16 studios with the highest domestic box office gross receipts in 2013 are located in Los Angeles County. Moreover, these 15 studios accounted for a staggering 69 percent of worldwide gross box office receipts in 2013. Clearly, Los Angeles-based studios still dominate the global motion picture industry.


A Center for Contemporary Visual Arts

Timelapse video of Los Angeles – Credit: Bodhi Films

The Southern California region – and Los Angeles in particular – is a major center for contemporary visual arts. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum, the Norton Simon Museum, the San Diego Museum of Art, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art all have substantial collections of contemporary art within larger collections of art from various periods. The Museum of Contemporary Art (with its satellite exhibition spaces at the Geffen Contemporary and at the Pacific Design Center), the Orange County Museum of Art, the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara are dedicated exclusively to contemporary art (in some cases along with modern art). Los Angeles will also soon have a major new museum of contemporary art with the opening of the Broad Museum.

View of Downtown Los Angeles from the J.Paul Getty Museum - Credit: Flickr user Justin Vidamo
View of Downtown Los Angeles from the J.Paul Getty Museum – Credit: Flickr user Justin Vidamo

Los Angeles County boasts three major schools for training visual artists: California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), the Arts Center College of Design, and Otis College of Art and Design. Graduates from these schools do much to enrich the local arts environment.

But what really makes Los Angeles a center for contemporary visual arts is the presence in the region of a large community of working artists, some of whom have gained international recognition. Quantifying the size or the importance of the arts community in any location is necessarily contentious. There is no single, meaningful metric of what makes artists or the communities in which they work “important,” especially without the advantages afforded by the perspective of subsequent years. Nonetheless, a variety of plausible indicators tell a roughly consistent story about Southern California’s place in the larger international visual arts scene. Basically, the story is this: New York remains the dominant center of contemporary art in the United States, and probably the world. Within the United States, Southern California is unquestionably in second place with regard to the number of prominent living artists – no other U.S. metropolitan area comes close. By some indicators, Southern California also trails such foreign arts centers as Berlin, London, and Paris.

The website ArtFacts.net offers a ranking of some 100,000 contemporary artists on the basis of where their works are displayed. The algorithm used is not without controversy, but it is an attempt at a quantitative and standardized measure of the “importance” of many artists. A list of the top 500 artists by this ranking methodology is available at the ArtFacts site. Of the 500 artists noted in the 2014 list, 377 are currently alive, and information on where they live and work is available. Of these 377 living artists, 100 live and work in New York and 22 in Southern California. No other U.S. city has more than one artist on the list. Two L.A.-area artists – John Baldessari and Ed Ruscha – are among the top six most important living artists.

The Whitney Biennial, Venice Beach, CA - Credit: Flickr user Susan Sermoneta
The Whitney Biennial, Venice Beach, CA – Credit: Flickr user Susan Sermoneta

Southern California is important in the world of contemporary art not only because a large number of artists are working in the region. The region is also prominent on the demand side of the art market because it is home to a number of major art collectors. Each year the magazine Art News compiles a list of the 200 top collectors in the world on the basis of publicly disclosed transactions. The 2014 list is dominated by collectors whose primary residence is New York – 51 out of the 200 collectors listed. Southern California is tied with London in second place, each with 12 of the top 200 collectors, and Paris and Chicago have the next largest numbers of major collectors.


Live Theater

New York is widely thought of as the center of live theater in the United States and, perhaps with London, of the world. Certainly, the large Broadway theaters attract huge numbers of playgoers. Off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway theaters feature additional theatrical events. Los Angeles also has a thriving professional live-theater scene, mostly centered on smaller theaters that typically mount productions for short runs. Although the data are far from perfect, it appears that a higher number of different productions are mounted in L.A. than in New York.

Los Angeles Theater (S. Charles Lee, architect) 1931 - Credit: Flickr user Christopher Lance
Los Angeles Theater (S. Charles Lee, architect) 1931 – Credit: Flickr user Christopher Lance

Data for this comparison come from two different sources. Since November 2013, the online service of the Los Angeles Times has offered a weekly listing of live theater events opening in the coming week throughout Southern California.

In New York, the website of the Off-Broadway League provides a retrospective calendar of all show openings in New York City. Despite the organization’s name, the opening-night calendar includes Broadway, off-Broadway, and off-off-Broadway openings as well as special events of a theatrical nature.

The disparity in the number of theatrical openings in the two locations is striking. In the eight months from the middle of November 2013 through the middle of July 2014, the Off-Broadway League calendar captured 262 openings. During the same period, the Los Angeles Times noted 728 theatrical openings.

Data from the two sources are compiled independently, and they are not strictly comparable. The Los Angeles Times listings, for example, include theatrical events as far afield as San Diego, while the New York calendar appears to be restricted to New York City. Nonetheless, it is hard to imagine differences between the two data sources sufficient to account for the relative abundance of theatrical openings in Southern California – 2.8 times the reported openings in New York. Perhaps what these numbers reflect is the much lower costs associated with mounting theatrical productions in small Los Angeles theaters, and the presence there of actors employed sporadically in the motion-picture industry.


The Restaurant Index

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One reflection of a city’s international character is the variety of national or ethnic cuisines to be found in its restaurants. Residents from foreign cultures will want to eat their native foods; chefs from foreign countries, chefs who trained abroad, and chefs who learned from earlier immigrants will be able to prepare the foods of other cultures; and a general population that is open to and interested in foreign cultures will patronize a variety of ethnic restaurants. A city with a lot of restaurants serving the cuisines of other countries is, at least along one dimension, a cosmopolitan city, open to and enjoying what other cultures have to offer.

The Pacific Council has constructed a measure of the international cuisines available in some major U.S. cities. The basis for the index is the restaurant listings on the OpenTable restaurant reservation system, the most successful online reservation system in the United States. What makes OpenTable interesting for the purposes of measuring the variety of cuisines available in a city is that it is possible to search for restaurants by cuisine. One can, for example, look for restaurants in a city that offer Chinese cuisine, French cuisine, South American cuisine, and so forth. It is a straightforward matter to count the number of restaurants that claim to offer any particular cuisine.

The resulting counts of restaurants serving various cuisines in a particular city will be rough at best, because OpenTable only includes restaurants that accept reservations; cuisines are self-reported by the restaurants themselves; and restaurants with multiple types of cuisines may show up more than once. Still, these counts reveal something about local markets for different kinds of food. If nothing else, the index provides an innovative and interesting way to think about the cosmopolitan nature of different cities.

Defining Foreign Cuisines

The index counts a restaurant as offering a foreign cuisine if it self-reports its cuisine as one of the following:

  • Afghan
  • African
  • Asian (theoretically including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, and so forth)
  • Australian
  • Caribbean
  • European (theoretically including French, Italian, German, and so forth)
  • Latin/Spanish (potentially some overlap with European)
  • Mexican/Southwestern (unfortunately, it’s impossible to disentangle these two)
  • Middle Eastern
  • South American

The index does not count a restaurant as foreign if it claims a cuisine in the following very vague categories:

  • “Mediterranean” – This can mean just about anything.
  • “Continental” – If this means anything at all, it should be captured by “European.”
  • “Global/International” – This should be picked up elsewhere.

The Results

Looking at the total number of restaurants listed on OpenTable in August 2013 in 12 U.S. metropolitan areas and the share of these that claim to serve a foreign cuisine (by the above definition), Miami has the largest fraction of restaurants serving international cuisine, followed by New York in second place and Los Angeles/Orange Counties in third. The less international character of San Diego and the California Central Coast (which is mostly Santa Barbara) reduces the share of international restaurants for the broader Southern California region. Nonetheless, the Southern California region still ranks sixth in the country by this measure.


Entertainment Awards Shows

Annual entertainment awards shows attract substantial international press coverage and viewership. These shows may constitute something less than high art, but playing host to such shows provides international exposure for a city, generally in circumstances that allow it to look its best.

Academy Award Winner - Credit: Flickr user Davidlohr Bueso
Academy Award Winner – Credit: Flickr user Davidlohr Bueso

The Los Angeles area is, by a wide margin, the most frequent location for entertainment-industry awards shows, a reflection of the region’s status as the center of the entertainment industry. In 2014, 10 of the 13 highest-profile awards ceremonies took place in Los Angeles County. Seven of these ceremonies were televised internationally, further promoting the glamorous image and international character of Los Angeles.


A Center for International Sporting Events

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum - Flickr user InSapphoWeTrust
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – Flickr user InSapphoWeTrust

Southern California has professional franchises in all of the major U.S. sports, most of these in Los Angeles, and some of these teams have international followings. More relevant to the present discussion, though, has been the city’s role in hosting major international athletic competitions: the Olympic Games in 1932 and 1984 (as the only U.S. city to host the games twice); the FIFA Men’s World Cup Final in 1994 (the only time the World Cup competition has come to the United States); and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final in both 1999 and 2003 (again, the only times this tournament has been held in the United States).

Mary Lou Retton – Vault – 1984 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles, CA

The annual Los Angeles Marathon attracts runners from all over the world and, by number of finishers, is the eleventh largest marathon in the world. In 2015, Los Angeles will host the Special Olympics World Games. Racetracks in Southern California have hosted the international Breeder’s Cup thoroughbred race 12 times in the 31-year history of the race, and will do so again in 2016 and 2017.

In recent years, other prominent international competitions and sports-related events in Southern California have included: the Freestyle Wrestling World Cup in 2014 (coming again in 2015); the U.S. Open Badminton championships in 2011 and 2013 (despite the name, this tournament draws elite players from around the world); the 2012 International Olympic Committee’s World Conference on Women and Sport; the 2009 World Baseball Classic; and the 2009 World Figure Skating Championship.


Major Tourist Attractions

Disney California Adventure - Credit: Flickr user Tours Departing Daily
Disney California Adventure – Credit: Flickr user Tours Departing Daily

Since it opened in 1955, Disneyland has maintained a strong grip on the international imagination. Despite a proliferation of theme parks in subsequent years, some of them designed and operated by Disney itself, the original Disneyland in Anaheim was the third most-visited amusement or theme park in the world in 2013. Disney’s California Adventure, also in Anaheim adjacent to Disneyland, is tenth in this ranking. Universal Studios in Hollywood is 17th, and SeaWorld in San Diego is 22nd. There is no way to know what fraction of total visitors was accounted for by foreigners, yet it seems likely that these attractions are also among the top draws for foreign visitors to the United States.


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