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$2 Million in Support from
Joan and Irwin Jacobs Fuels Center
on Pacific Economies at UC San Diego

Gifts help establish UCSD and region as a hub for
scholarship and ideas on international affairs in the Pacific

September 30, 2009

By Laura Margoni

Photo of Joan and Irwin Jacobs
Joan and Irwin Jacobs

Why do countries in the Pacific region differ in their ability to maintain sustainable growth or financial stability? How can these countries collaborate on issues of common concern such as the environment, innovation, trade and investment? Thanks to a $500,000 gift from long-time civic leaders Joan and Irwin Jacobs, these critical issues will continue to be addressed by the Center on Pacific Economies and the Pacific Leadership Fellows program at the University of California, San Diego. This is the fourth consecutive gift the Jacobs have made to the center, which is based at UC San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS), bringing their total support to $2 million.

“Since its founding in 2006, the Center on Pacific Economies has helped to establish UCSD as a hub for scholarship and ideas on international affairs in the Pacific,” said IR/PS acting dean Peter Gourevitch. “The Jacobs’ generous gifts have enabled us to bring current and future economic leaders from throughout the region to share their knowledge and expertise here with us. We are extremely grateful for their ongoing support.”

It was a leadership gift from the Jacobs combined with the vision of IR/PS dean Peter Cowhey that led to the creation of the Center on Pacific Economies and the Pacific Leadership Fellows program. Cowhey envisioned UC San Diego and the greater San Diego region becoming a center for reflection and action by leaders from the Pacific; a place where UCSD could play a key role in policy debates as well as cultivate ongoing research and teaching efforts on campus. His vision appealed to the Jacobs who have a long history of supporting scholarship at UC San Diego.

“Joan and I are thrilled with the accomplishments of the Center on Pacific Economies over the last several years,” said Irwin Jacobs, who is the founder and former chairman and CEO of QUALCOMM. “The Center and the Pacific Leadership Fellows program have continued to grow and prosper, bringing in outstanding fellows to work with faculty and students to address a broad range of issues within the Pacific region.”

Over the last three years, 20 Pacific Leadership Fellows have visited San Diego representing numerous countries including Australia, China, Chile, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, South Korea and Vietnam.  Each fellow has shared a specific range of knowledge and expertise with UC San Diego faculty and students as well as the greater San Diego community.

“Each fellow helps further establish IR/PS as a hub for the exploration and understanding of international economics and policy,” noted Gordon Hanson, director of the Center on Pacific Economies. “The fellows all return to their high-profile positions with a lasting connection to the Center, creating ties for UC San Diego on a global level.”

This year’s fellows program launches by welcoming Sigrid Arzt, who will be in residence from Sept. 28 – Oct. 9, 2009.  She is the former technical secretary of Mexico’s National Security Council under President Felipe Calderón’s administration, where she served as the chairperson of a council of the highest-ranking federal officials in the area of national security. During her residence she will discuss the Mexican federal government’s recent efforts to fight drug cartels, and the challenges that have resulted from trying to balance public safety with respect for human rights during President Felipe Calderón's administration.

Previous fellows have included:

  • Shuli Hu: The editor of Caijing, a biweekly publication and China’s leading journal on business and finance. Hu was the first Pacific Leadership Fellow.
  • Kien Pham: The CEO of VietNam Net Media Group, Pham has been a high-ranking executive at several Fortune 500 companies, served under U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and founded the Vietnam Education Foundation.
  • Pablo de la Flor: An international business executive, de la Flor was the vice minister of international trade in Peru where he served as the chief negotiator for the Peru-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.

In addition to the fellows program, the Center on Pacific Economies supports conferences and research involving IR/PS faculty and students focusing on projects that apply rigorous academic analysis to important policy problems. The center funds research on rural-to-urban migration in China, infrastructure and economic development in India, international migration from Latin America, and the impact of cellular technology on village economies in poor countries, among other projects.

For more information on the Center on Pacific Economies and the Pacific Leadership Fellows program visit http://cpe.ucsd.edu.


Media Contact: Laura Margoni, 858-822-2485 or lmargoni@ucsd.edu

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