Dean Wilson Speaks at UCLA-Hosted Digital Cities Conference

Thursday, April 24, and Friday, April 25, 2014, UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs hosted a conference titled “Who Owns the Digital City?” The conference heralded the onset of a larger focus at the School on emerging public policy issues in an increasingly digitally interconnected world.

The conference kicked off Thursday night with a keynote address by Jaron Lanier, who was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” for his work as a pioneering technologist and futurist. Credited with coining the term “virtual reality,” Lanier founded VPL Research, the first company offering products in that space, in the 1980s. Lanier went on to become the chief scientist of Advanced Network and Services and also served as the lead scientist of the National Tele-immersion Initiative.

The second day of the conference included three main panels aimed at discussing the effects of the digital revolution. Speakers included academics and professionals in the information sciences, allowing participants to hear a wide range of perspectives on the digital revolution and its effects on urban and global issues. Dr. Ernest J. Wilson III, dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, was one of those speakers. Peter Marx, Chief Innovation Technology Officer for the Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles described Dean Wilson’s discussion of digital connectivity and economic disparity as “fascinating.” That sentiment apparently was shared by others in attendance as several tweets about the event included Wilson’s statement, “The cost of not being on net goes up exponentially [for] the excluded.”


Dr. Ernest J. Wilson III Leads Commission in Producing a New Report on Engendering US-China Rapport: Building U.S.-China Trust: Through Next Generation People, Platforms & Programs

Dr. Ernest J. Wilson III, dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, is one of two selected to lead a commission of leading scholars, former officials and businesspeople who are prominent on the landscape of U.S.-China relations. The commission was convened to research and report on ways to improve the relationship between the two countries. As noted in a release from the USC US-China Institute, American and Chinese economies and societies are more closely connected today than they ever have been, yet headlines and polls conducted among the populations of the two countries indicate low levels of respect and high levels of distrust toward one another. Building U.S.-China Trust: Through Next Generation People, Platforms & Programs is a joint report by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the Peking University School of International Studies commissioned to address these issues. Dean Wang Jisi of the Peking University serves as lead for the commission along with Dean Wilson.

The report was presented at USC’s Davidson Conference Center Tuesday, April 22, 2014 and at The Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., Thursday, April 24, 2014. Dean Wilson was a featured speaker at both events.

In addition to being dean of the USC Annenberg School and holding the Walter Annenberg Chair in Communication, Dr. Wilson is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also serves as a board member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and the National Academies’ Computer Science and Telecommunications Committee. Wilson was a member of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting from 2000 to 2010, and chaired it in his last year, from 2009-2010. Focusing on the intersection between communication and public policy, Wilson has consulted for the World Bank and United Nations. Wilson also served on the White House National Security Council and as policy and planning director at the U.S. Information Agency. He has published widely on topics including governing global electronic networks and the politics of internet diffusion, and he advised on President Barack Obama’s transition team on matters of communication technology and public diplomacy.

Along with these accomplishments, Dr. Wilson has spoken widely on public diplomacy, communication and innovation issues, including presentations to the prestigious Boao Forum, the State Council, the Peoples Political Consultative Commission, and leading universities in China, and been published in outlets including China Quarterly and the Harvard Journal of International Affairs. He was a member of the Secretary of Commerce’s trade commission to China in 1994, and this year Dr. Wilson attended the China Development Forum in Beijing.


Ernest J. Wilson presents to Department of State on Diversity and Cultural Competence

Dean Ernest J. Wilson III delivered a keynote address to the U.S. Department of State on June 7 titled Diversity and Cultural Competence. He outlined several “next steps,” including making diversity a strategic priority as well as an HR priority, and hiring and empowering change agents. Read More »

International Ambassadors Visit USC

USC vice president of research Randolph Hall organized and moderated the panel discussion titled “Los Angeles: Where the World Creates and Innovates.”

Hall summed up the appeal of Los Angeles for the international guests, pointing to the wealth of talent in all aspects of storytelling; key strengths in creative disciplines, technology and innovation; and the universal character of the city.

“What is it we can learn from Los Angeles that might translate to other parts of the world?” he asked.

He might have asked, what is it that we can’t learn.

“This is an absolutely global, international, multicultural region,” he noted.

Panelist Ernest J. Wilson III, dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, began to answer Hall’s question by describing a four-sided “diamond” necessary for success: a strong network of connections between government, academia and think tanks, the private sector and the nonprofit world.

USC Annenberg strives to build that network through initiatives, such as the Annenberg Innovation Laboratory, which reaches all points of the diamond by working with major corporations, research centers, community groups and cultural institutions in Los Angeles.

In one of its signature efforts to broaden innovation by including social and institutional change, the laboratory has been exploring uses of social media to expose and reduce child trafficking. Read More »

China Should Step Up Public Diplomacy Efforts: Experts

Ernest J. Wilson III, dean of Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California attended a forum on “Public Diplomacy in the Age of Globalization” in Beijing on Wednesday.

Wilson from the US suggested China to advance its public diplomacy to the US.

He suggested short-term actions such as arranging more visits for university and media staff from each country, and long-term actions such as encouraging people to go to the other country and learn about its people.

“Ultimately, I am very optimistic. I have been coming to China for 20 years, and I am just beginning to understand a little bit about your rich history and culture, and I am thirsty to learn much more,” said Wilson. Read More »


Presentation to the Foreign Affairs Committee, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference

Public diplomacy is a relatively new discipline and profession, but it has become more and more valuable as countries become more inter-connected. It will be especially valuable in the Year of the Dragon, 2012. This speech explains why next year will raise serious new political, economic, technological and strategic uncertainties between China and the United States, uncertainties which can be reduced if public diplomacy is employed vigorously. After defining public diplomacy, I suggest short, medium and long term actions that the US and PRC can pursue to advance mutual understanding and trust. Read More »

USC Dean Ernest Wilson on West Coast Foreign Policy and the Future of Public Diplomacy

On the sidelines of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Ernest Wilson, dean of the innovative Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at USC, speaks to about the West Coast view of foreign policy, putting civil society at the center of public diplomacy, and how to properly teach and practice the art of communications internationally. Read More »

Google, China and U.S. Foreign Policy

The Pacific Council convened a teleconference with Dr. Ernest J. Wilson, Dean of the Annenberg School at USC and Pacific Council Board member and adjunct fellow. Dr. Wilson discussed the recent events surrounding Google’s presence in China and the larger implications of the company’s threat to pull out of China entirely. We considered his recent Huffington Post piece which explores the question: how will an emerging “Silicon Valley foreign policy” affect the broader U.S. foreign policy agenda?

Dr. Wilson’s current work concentrates on China-Africa relations, global sustainable innovation in high-technology industries, and the role of politics in the diffusion of information and communication technologies.

Please click here to view the presentation pdf.

Please click here to listen to a recording of the conference call. (Opens in a new window) Read More »

Google, China and U.S. Foreign Policy

The Huffington Post, 2010

Sitting in the lobby of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, reading the front page of the local Economic Times, I was hit with a one-two-punch: the news that Google may quit the huge Chinese market in a dispute over serious cyber attacks to its facilities in the PRC, and the feeling that I was watching the opening salvo of a new, major trend in American foreign policy that has been quietly building for several years. Read More »

Rebooting America’s image in the world

Dean Ernest J. Wilson III led a roundtable discussion on his recent experiences as a member of the Presidential Transition Team for the Obama administration at a Jan. 22 event at USC Annenberg.

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