Sacramento politicians, Hollywood entertainment icons and Silicon Valley technologists gathered in Los Angeles on May 3 to celebrate the Berggruen Institute’s 5 Year Anniversary. Governor Jerry Brown of California and Mayor Eric Garcetti addressed the audience, which represented the breadth of our community in California, from academic pioneers to game-changing entrepreneurs. It was an evening to commemorate the past, unveil big future plans and welcome the institute to its new home.
Keynote speeches echoed the hope that the Institute will bring its commitment to developing new thought in governance, society and culture to the Los Angeles community.
“We’re celebrating an institute that is in some ways the perfect embodiment of what Los Angeles is about,” Mayor Garcetti said, citing free speech, curiosity and diversity. “I thank you for believing in this city, and bringing an institute that mirrors who we are and what we believe.”
Governor Brown’s remarks focused on the challenges facing government and the role the Institute (and other think tanks) can play in to meet the challenges to creating a better society. “The key to governance today is to build that climate of predictability, of transparency and ultimately of trust. And that’s the great challenge,” stated Brown, “If the Berggruen Institute can figure out how to do that, I’ll join them.”
Founder Nicolas Berggruen revealed several major developments at the Anniversary: Los Angeles as the Institute’s new home and headquarters; the formation of the Los Angeles Committee, established to counsel and support the Institute in creating ongoing, positive local contributions; and a $500 million endowment to support and expand the Institute’s work.
The endowment’s largest project will be a brick-and-mortar institute – described as a “secular monastery” – to be built above the Getty Center on the westside of Los Angeles. Once completed, the facility will provide the Institute offices, housing for visiting thinkers, and host meetings for on-going projects.
“What he’s trying to do is have a place where people can have conversations,” member Patrick Soon-Shiong told a reporter at the event, “He believes you can solve problems by staying engaged.”
“Ideas” were the theme of the night, Nicolas Berggruen explained to the audience. “The solutions to the global challenges we face today will be conceptual, not political.Creating a community of global thinkers and leaders, the Institute will continue to cultivate foundational ideas to shape the decisions, beliefs and systems of the 21st century.”