The Pacific Council has been leading the foreign affairs conversation on the West Coast since 1995.

Learn more about members, our staff, and our Board of Directors.

A Big Idea

Founded in cooperation with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York and the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, 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.

Forging a Network

Civic leaders in Los Angeles worked to make the Pacific Council a reality. Founding President Abraham F. Lowenthal, then a Professor in the School of International Relations at USC, gained the support of Robert Erburu, Chairman of the Times Mirror Company; John Bryson, head of Edison International; and Steven Sample, President at USC.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher was an early supporter of the Council, and later served as Director and co-Chair of the Pacific Council 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.

Since 1995, the Pacific Council has hosted exchanges on issues of international importance, convened experts and working groups to address pressing policy challenges, and built a network of globally-minded members across the West Coast and the world. Today the Pacific Council’s roster includes current and former diplomats, industry leaders, media representatives, politicians, and scholars.

Reports on Global Affairs from Pacific Council Experts Over the Years

Since our founding in 1995, the Pacific Council has published a variety of reports and commentary on important global issues. Below are examples of our previous work.

A Matter of Time: To Propel the Guantánamo Cases Toward Trial, Send in Federal Judges with the Authority to Enforce Scheduling Orders – September 2018

Building Bridges from Seoul to Los Angeles: SeouLA Report – May 2017

The Effective Ambassador: A Practical Handbook – November 2016

A Path Forward: Advancing U.S.-China Relations Through Public Diplomacy – June 2016

Up to Speed: To Fairly and Transparently Expedite the Guantánamo Trials, Put Federal Judges in Charge – February 2016

Global Los Angeles – 2015

India-U.S. Relations: A Vision for the Future – June 2005

Anxieties Without Borders: The United States, Europe, and Their Southern Neighbors – June 2005, Ian O. Lesser

Israel and Palestine: Rethinking U.S. Stakes and Roles – May 2005, Ian O. Lesser

North America, Germany, and Asia in a Changing World – February 2005, Gregory F. Treverton, Senior Policy Analyst

The Asia-Pacific Region in a Time of Insecurity: Implications for Public Policy and the Private Sector – February 2004, Daniel C. Lynch, Rapporteur

The New Melting Pot: Changing Faces of International Migration and Policy Implications for Southern California – October 2003, Georges Vernez

Enhancing Southern California’s Global Gateways: Challenges and Opportunities for Trade Infrastructure Development – June 2003, Steven P. Erie

A Tale of Five Regions: Meeting the Challenge of Globalization in the U.S. West – June 2003, Gregory F. Treverton

Boeing and Beyond: Seattle in the Global Economy – January 2003, Frederic A. Morris

Globalization in the San Francisco Bay Area: Trying to Stay at the Head of the Class – January 2003, S. L. Bachman

Can Japan Come Back? – November 2002

Roadmap for E-Government in the Developing World: 10 Questions E-Government Leaders Should Ask Themselves – April 2002

Mapping Globalization Along the Wasatch Front – January 2002, Earl H. Fray and Wallace McCarlie with Derek Wride and Stacey Sears

The Reshaping of Korea – November 2001

San Diego, Baja California, and Globalization: Coming from Behind – October 2001, Richard Feinberg with Gretchen Schuck

Making the Most of Southern California’s Global Engagement – June 2001, Gregory F. Treverton

Widening the Winner’s Circle from Global Trade in Southern California – June 2001, Manuel Pastor, Jr.

The North American West in a Global Economy – April 2000, Earl H. Fry

Advancing the International Interests of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latinos – May 1998

Protecting International Intellectual Property – January 1998, Jonathan D. Aronson, Michael Brownrigg, Karen B. Crockett, Keith E. Maskus, and Richard H. Steinberg

The Chinese Future – Michel C. Oksenberg, Michael D. Swaine, and Daniel C. Lynch

Mexico Transforming – Vilma Martinez


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