Berggruen Institute and the LA Times Host First in Great Transformations Summit Series

By Tom Cohen

On October 18, the Berggruen Institute hosted the first in its Summit Series with the Los Angeles Times at the Indigo Hotel in Downtown, Los Angeles. A distinguished panel of local, state, and national politicians; strategists and academics joined to discuss the “defiance” of California as it faces both local and global political and social challenges. Attended by over 300 people, the “View from California” conversation was also viewed by over 40,000 via the Institute and the Los Angeles Times live-streams.
Berggruen Institute Chairman Nicolas Berggruen speaking at the event.

Chairman of the Berggruen Institute, Nicolas Berggruen began the evening with an invocation on the importance of good leadership and how the citizens of California can play a decisive role in our nation saying, “Politics makes a difference in our lives and leadership matters.” He then introduced a discussion between Los Angeles Times Assistant Managing Editor Christina Bellantoni and Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and LA Times Assistant Managing Editor Christina Bellantoni.

In a conversation about the biggest challenges we face as a society, Representative Pelosi reflected on diversity, social justice, and ethics in the United States saying: “The Democratic Party has diversity but our values hold us together. Our values are about America’s working families.” 
 
Stressing the importance of ethical leadership, bipartisan politics, and unity in America, Representative Pelosi addressed how she is striving to cooperate with President Trump on issues like immigration but maintaining her democratic ideals, saying: “Immigration is the constant reinvigoration of America, and that every newcomer who comes here brings hopes, dreams, and aspirations.” Watch the conversation here.
 
After this discussion, Los Angeles Times Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers hosted a panel discussion with California State Senator and Berggruen Institute Member Robert Hertzberg, Republic strategist Luis Alvarado, UCLA Professor of Political Science Lynn Vavreck, and Executive Director of SEIU California Alma Hernandez. This discussion focused on the importance of a solution based agenda and the best way to put that into place in Los Angeles and California. 

L-R: LA Times Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers, Republic strategist Luis Alvarado, UCLA Professor Lynn Vavreck, Executive Director of SEIU California Alma Hernandez.

The panel also discussed how California can set a standard for the rest of the country. On this topic, State Senator Robert Hertzberg repudiated the divisive politics in the nation at large, praising members of both parties in California for working together and fighting for the interests of its citizens over partisan politics, saying: “We spend a huge amount of energy trying to combat what is coming from Washington.” 
 
This Summit is the first of several that the Berggruen Institute and the Los Angeles Times will host over the next few months on the Great Transformations affecting our society in the 21st Century. Future events will focus on topics ranging from immigration to climate control and driverless cars and investigate their impact on our world.