PolicyWest 2020

PolicyWest 2020 was a two-day virtual conference open to all Pacific Council members. The theme of the conference was U.S. global leadership and national security in 2021, in light of the recent presidential election.

Watch clips from PolicyWest 2020 here!


Registration is now closed.


December 3, 2020

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. PT / PanelPeace and Justice In the Time of COVID

Featuring Ted Piccone, Chief Engagement Officer of the World Justice Project, and Bonnie Jenkins, founder and executive director of the Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation, and moderated by Erin Bromaghim, Director of Olympic and Paralympic Development, Los Angeles Mayor’s Office.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet. Its foundation is built on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call to action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership.

SDG 16: "Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions" articulates the key role that good governance and the rule of law play in promoting peaceful, just, and inclusive societies. As a continuing component of the Goalmakers project, the Pacific Council will convene a panel to discuss how the pandemic has compounded the challenges to achieving SDG 16. Going into 2021, access to justice for marginalized populations, combating corruption, and government accountability are just a few of the mainstays critical to achieving peace and upholding the rule of law around the world, as COVID-19 and its effects continue to ravish communities. This conversation will explore how to overcome these obstacles and implement solutions at home and abroad.

Read up on these resources before this panel discussion:


5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. PT / Debate: Open Borders in the United States

Featuring Fabio Rojas, professor of sociology at Indiana University Bloomington, and Seth Stodder, a partner in the Los Angeles office of Holland & Knight LLP, and moderated by Aaron Brooks, Pacific Council member and project manager at Raytheon Technologies.

A government's control over who can enter their country and when is a given. It is a fundamental exercise of their sovereignty. Though is that notion worth reexamining? In the European Union, 27 nations have opted into a system where its citizens can relocate freely between countries and travel without passport checks. Could a system of unlimited immigration, where people move as freely as capital does, work in the United States? The historical, cultural, and economic impact of immigration is well documented, particularly in the United States, the world’s largest immigrant nation. Yet, would a laissez-faire approach to immigration be a net positive for the United States or would it exacerbate unemployment, depress wages, and drive inequity? Join us as experts argue for and against the notion of open borders in the United States.

Read up on these resources before this debate:


December 4, 2020

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. PT / Keynote: A Conversation with U.S. Senator Christopher Coons

Featuring U.S. Senator Christopher Coons of Delaware, and moderated by Dr. Cynthia Telles, director of the UCLA Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

The United States sits at a crossroads and must act to navigate its domestic and international challenges successfully. Few leaders understand these stakes better than Senator Coons, whose role on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Appropriations Committee, and Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee lies at a critical intersection of these local-to-global issues.

Read up on these resources before this discussion:


12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. PT / Keynote: Gen. Lori Robinson on the President's 2021 National Security Priorities

Featuring Gen. Lori Robinson, Commander of the U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (2016-2018), and moderated by Dr. Jerrold D. Green, president and CEO of the Pacific Council on International Policy. Please note: this discussion is off-the-record.

The next President of the United States will be sworn in with an unprecedented set of security challenges before him. From navigating the United States' role in international institutions to shifting relations with allies, President-elect Biden's national security priorities will set the tone for 2021 and beyond. Please join us as we host General Lori Robinson to discuss what she believes the next administration's top national security priorities should be.

Read up this resource before this discussion:


5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. PT / Keynote: John Podesta on the Intersection of National Security and Climate Change

Featuring John Podesta, founder and director of the Center for American Progress, and moderated by Ambassador Nina Hachigian, deputy mayor for international affairs for the city of Los Angeles.

The world is heading towards a future where “unprecedented” natural disasters are commonplace, creating a multitude of challenges for the United States and the international community. Large-scale human migration, intensifying intra- and inter-state competition for food and water, and increasingly frequent and severe disease outbreaks all have the potential to radically reshape U.S. national security priorities in the coming years. Join us for a discussion with John Podesta on the risks posed by climate change, as well as what can still be done to mitigate the worst of the climate crisis.

Read up on these resources before this discussion:

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