Technological transformations open new opportunities and disrupt old patterns. Founded in 2006, Center on Global Transformation (CGT) provides a new framework for vanguard exploration of topics critical to analyzing and shaping the forces of economic change in a deeply interconnected, thoroughly dynamic world. CGT and its Pacific Leadership Fellows program focus on academic inquiry and policy analysis of international issues.

CGT’s core mission is to:

  • Foster and disseminate research that addresses global economic and technology transformation
  • Develop and maintain a network of leaders that will shape public policy over the coming decades
  • Establish San Diego as a hub for ideas and scholarship on international policy

Joshua Graff Zivin

Director, CGT

Director's Message

I would like to begin by expressing my profound appreciation to Professor Gordon Hanson, who served as the inaugural director of the Center for Global Transformation (CGT). Under his 13 years of leadership, Gordon transformed the center from a thought experiment to a central hub for applied research and policy dialogue focused on the opportunities and challenges arising from global economic and technological change. We will miss his insights and leadership and wish him the very best of luck in his new endeavor at Harvard. 

As the new director, I plan to continue the excellent work that was led by Gordon and generously supported by Joan and Irwin Jacobs. That will comprise a wide range of activities central to our mission. We will continue to support the exciting work of the flagship research centers at the School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS):

Recent highlights include a new study by Professor Jennifer Burney who deploys a combination of satellite and ground-based data in her work. Published in Nature Sustainability, she found that the shutdown of coal-fired units between 2005 and 2016 saved more than 22,000 lives, saving more than 300 million bushels of corn. Another set of studies with CGT postdocs Morgan Levy and Susanne Benz, Burney used satellite and ground observations of movements of the earth’s surface to detect groundwater withdrawals and recharge. In the near term, this research will help California farmers sustainably manage groundwater; in the longer term, Burney and collaborators hope that it can serve as the foundation for a global groundwater monitoring network.

We are also excited about the release of Professor Ulrike Schaede’s new book, The Business Reinvention of Japan, which explores current business strategies that have made Japan an economic leader in Asia today, and how Japanese companies are re-emerging as major players in the new digital economy.

The Pacific Leadership Fellows program remains the embodiment of the center’s mission. The program brings dynamic thought leaders from business, policy and academic communities around the globe to UC San Diego to share their expertise on issues central to the transformation of our social, economic and technological lives in the 21st century. I am excited to work closely with the new director of the program, John Ahlquist, to ensure its continued success. We are busy planning the visits of the next outstanding cohort of fellows.

In closing, I am excited to expand the center’s activities in new directions that will broaden our focus to other areas in which the confluence of science and policy are poised to transform the wellbeing of societies across the planet.

Thank you for your involvement in CGT and we hope to see you at our many public events being planned for this coming fall.