Craig Calhoun to Join Berggruen Institute as President

The Director and President of the London School of Economics will become the new President of the Berggruen Institute in Los Angeles

We are pleased to announce that Craig Calhoun will become the new President of the Berggruen Institute as of the Summer of 2016. Professor Calhoun comes to us from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where he is the Director and President. 

Professor Calhoun is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. At LSE Professor Calhoun led a number of significant advances, including a major initiative to strengthen faculty and research quality which was followed by an excellent performance in global rankings. He also oversaw efforts to enhance interdisciplinary research and teaching, especially to address major global issues like climate change, urbanization, and inequality.

Prior to his post at LSE, he was University Professor at New York University, director of the Institute for Public Knowledge, and President of the Social Science Research Council.  He is the author of several books including Does Capitalism Have a Future?, Nations MatterCritical Social Theory, Neither Gods Nor Emperors, and most recently, The Roots of Radicalism (University of Chicago Press, 2012). 

Announcing the appointment, Nicolas Berggruen, the founder and chairman of the Berggruen Institute, remarked, “Having headed the London School of Economics, Craig brings to us the world-class experience of leadership as well as scholarly achievement in the top ranks of global education.  His aspiration over the years to establish ‘an institutional location for practical reason in public affairs’ is a perfect fit with the mission of the Berggruen Institute.”

As President, Professor Calhoun will oversee all aspects of the strategy and operations for the Institute and will spearhead the launch of several new programs including the Berggruen Philosophy Prize. The $1 million prize will be awarded to a thinker whose ideas have had broad cultural or philosophical impact. 

“The Berggruen Institute offers an incredibly exciting opportunity. Like LSE, this institute seeks to use knowledge to improve society and deepen the capacity for international cooperation,” said Mr. Calhoun. “It has been an enormous honor to lead LSE and I am looking forward to this new challenge.”

About the Berggruen Institute 

The Berggruen Institute was founded in 2010 with a mission to improve governance systems. With successful projects underway in California, Europe and China, the institute launched the Philosophy and Culture Center last Fall. The new Center expanded the scope of the organization beyond political governance to enhancing cross-cultural understanding, particularly between Asian and Western cultures. Central to its activities is the Berggruen Fellowship program which funds research at campuses around the world including USC Dornsife: Brain and Creativity Institute, Stanford, Harvard, NYU, Oxford, Tsinghua and Peking universities.


Later this year, the Berggruen Institute will give away the Berggruen Philosophy and Culture Prize. The $1 million prize will be awarded a living thinker whose ideas have had broad cultural or philosophical impact on society. An independent and diverse jury composed of leading thinkers will award the prize.  

composed by Arswain
machine learning consultation by Anna Tskhovrebov
commissioned by the Berggruen Institute
premiered at the Bradbury Building
downtown Los Angeles
april 22, 2022

Human perception of what sounds “beautiful” is necessarily biased and exclusive. If we are to truly expand our hearing apparatus, and thus our notion of beauty, we must not only shed preconceived sonic associations but also invite creative participation from beings non-human and non-living. We must also begin to cede creative control away from ourselves and toward such beings by encouraging them to exercise their own standards of beauty and collaborate with each other.

Movement I: Alarm Call
‘Alarm Call’ is a long-form composition and sound collage that juxtaposes, combines, and manipulates alarm calls from various human, non-human, and non-living beings. Evolutionary biologists understand the alarm call to be an altruistic behavior between species, who, by warning others of danger, place themselves by instinct in a broader system of belonging. The piece poses the question: how might we hear better to broaden and enhance our sense of belonging in the universe? Might we behave more altruistically if we better heed the calls of – and call out to – non-human beings?

Using granular synthesis, biofeedback, and algorithmic modulation, I fold the human alarm call – the siren – into non-human alarm calls, generating novel “inter-being” sonic collaborations with increasing sophistication and complexity. 

Movement II: A.I.-Truism
A synthesizer piece co-written with an AI in the style of Vangelis’s Blade Runner score, to pay homage to the space of the Bradbury Building.

Movement III: Alarmism
A machine learning model “learns” A.I.Truism and recreates Alarm Call, generating an original fusion of the two.

Movement IV: A.I. Call
A machine learning model “learns” Alarm Call and recreates A.I.Truism, generating an original fusion of the two.