Public Affairs Institute – Agenda

17 Mar, 2021


Below is the 2022 Agenda – The 2023 Agenda will be available soon.

Sunday, March 20

2:30 p.m. – Registration Begins

3:30 p.m. – Mandatory Orientation for First-Year Class Sandpiper

5:00 p.m. – Welcome Remarks & Introductions Pelican

5:30 p.m. – Plenary Session: Gregory Treverton Pelican

6:30 p.m. – Welcome Reception & Dinner Catalina Terrace

Monday, March 21

7:00 a.m. – Breakfast Buffet 15FiftyFive

8:15 a.m. – Plenary Session: Katie Harbath Pelican

9:15 a.m. – Break 

9:30 a.m. – Plenary Session: Lori Knowles Pelican

10:30 a.m. – Break 

11:00 a.m.

  • 1st Year: Katie Harbath
  • 2nd Year: Free Period
  • 3rd Year: Gregory Treverton

12:30 p.m. – Lunch Buffet Catalina Terrace 

1:00 p.m.  

  • 1st Year: Free Period / Optional Headshots
  • 2nd Year: Gregory Treverton
  • 3rd Year: Free Period / Optional Headshots

2:00 p.m.  

  • 1st Year: Gregory Treverton
  • 2nd Year: Free Period / Optional Headshots
  • 3rd Year: Katie Harbath 

3:30 p.m. – Break

4:15 p.m. – Plenary Session: Michel Martin Pelican

5:15 p.m. – Reception 15FiftyFive

6:30 p.m. – Class Off-Site Dinners

Tuesday, March 22

7:00 a.m. – Breakfast Buffet 15FiftyFive

8:15 a.m. – Plenary Session: Lisa Brown Alexander Pelican

9:15 a.m. – Break 

9:45 a.m.

  • 1st Year: Free Period
  • 2nd Year: Katie Harbath
  • 3rd Year: Michel Martin

11:15 a.m. – Lunch Buffet Catalina Terrace 

12:00 p.m.  

  • 1st Year: Michel Martin
  • 2nd Year: Lisa Brown Alexander
  • 3rd Year: Lori Knowles 

1:30 p.m. – Break 

1:45 p.m.  

  • 1st Year: Lori Knowles
  • 2nd Year: Michel Martin
  • 3rd Year: Class Photo

3:15 p.m. – Free Afternoon

6:30 p.m. – Class Off-Site Dinners

Wednesday, March 23

7:00 a.m. – Breakfast Buffet 15FiftyFive

8:15 a.m. – Plenary Session: Ken Shotts Pelican

9:15 a.m. – Break 

9:45 a.m.

  • 1st Year: Free Period
  • 2nd Year: Lori Knowles
  • 3rd Year: Ken Shotts

11:15 a.m. – Lunch Buffet Catalina Terrace 

12:30 p.m. – Plenary Session: Steven Swerdlow Pelican

1:30 p.m. – Break

2:00 p.m.

  • 1st Year: Lisa Brown Alexander
  • 2nd Year: Ken Shotts
  • 3rd Year: Free Period

3:30 p.m. – Break

3:45 p.m.  

  • 1st Year: Ken Shotts
  • 2nd Year: Free Period
  • 3rd Year: Lisa Brown Alexander

5:15 p.m. – Break

5:30 p.m. – Capstone Session and Graduation Pelican

6:15 p.m. – Farewell Reception & Dinner Poolside

Photo credit: Virginia Sherwood/ABC

Reclaiming the Public’s Trust
A tumultuous political cycle coupled with numerous fake news proclamations soured public opinion of even the most respected news outlets and journalists in recent years. Esteemed NPR journalist and host of “All Things Considered” Michel Martin will dissect the trust tear down of the news media, what it will take to build it back, and why corporate and policy comms executives need to be part of the solution.


The Intersection of Tech and Democracy
Katie Harbath is a global leader at the intersection of elections, democracy, and technology. As a former public policy director at Facebook, she penned a much-discussed opinion article in The New York Times, in which she warned that the “world is not ready for the coming electoral tsunami” and “neither is Facebook.” She’ll delve deeper into the global policy and advocacy implications.


Allies, Adversaries and the New Globalism
Before the war in Ukraine, the domestic and global threats from Russia mainly came in the form of cyber warfare. Now the threats are multi-pronged and other adversaries are taking notes. Gregory F. Treverton, professor of the practice of international relations and spatial sciences at the University of Southern California, will delve into the role of government and business in anticipating risks, the policy challenges before us, and how the world’s response to Russia’s attack could entice or thwart other foes.


Dissecting the Distrust of Science
The pandemic launched a public fight over truth and trust in science that few saw coming. Lori Knowles, a leading legal and policy expert on bioethics, will lead participants in an examination of how government and business can begin to reverse the trend of distrust and what policy outcomes to expect.


Building Talent through Equity
As President & CEO of Nonprofit HR, Lisa Brown Alexander built a talent management company focused on the needs of the social impact sector. She’ll share how employers need to home in on equity in their DEI planning and strategy if they expect to recruit and retain top talent considering a career in public affairs.


How Public Affairs Drives Business Strategy
Public affairs is often seen as independent of a company’s business units, but the smart strategist knows that these two functions are not only connected but government relations often informs business. Ken Shotts, professor of political economy at Stanfords University Graduate School of Business, will explore how C-Suite decision making works better when the policy experts are in the room


An Analysis of the Humanitarian Crisis in Ukraine
Governments and major companies are responding to Russia’s attack on Ukraine with severe sanctions and business restrictions, but the response to the humanitarian tragedy unfolding should not be overshadowed. Steve Swerdlow, human rights lawyer and associate professor of the practice of human rights at the University of Southern California, will examine the myriad roles of the business community and policymakers in exposing the depth of the crisis, rendering aid and even turning the tide of the war.