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Burkle Global Impact Initiative

UCLA's Burkle Center for International Relations Announces its Newest Program, the Burkle Global Impact Initiative, an Effort That Will Work with the United Nations and is Aimed at Connecting the Entertainment Industry to Global Issues

LOS ANGELES, January 7th, 2013 - The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations has announced that Brian Gott, former Publisher of Variety, has been selected to run its newest program, the Burkle Global Impact Initiative. The program will activate the entertainment industry, across all sectors, to engage more deeply and effectively with global policy, humanitarian, and advocacy issues. The program's mission is to promote and facilitate the treatment of critical international issues within the content creation community as a way to educate and inform the public about international affairs. The Global Impact Initiative will work closely with the United Nations and its Creative Community Outreach Initiative.

The new UCLA program will be funded by businessman and philanthropist Ron Burkle. "The reach of Hollywood into the most remote corners of the globe is a remarkable phenomenon," said Burkle. "To more effectively tap into this power, in order to promote awareness of the most critical global issues, is essential and smart. I'm thrilled that the United Nations will be working with the Burkle Center on this exciting new initiative."

The Global Impact Initiative, which launches today, will be comprised of a series of private, invite-only interactions with entertainment industry leaders and content creators, and the senior-most experts and representatives of organizations including the United Nations, the United Nations Foundation, the State Department, the World Health Organization, the World Bank and political leaders from across the globe. The program will focus on directly connecting the creative community and these international institutions. The initiative will also promote research and analysis on the effectiveness of "global issue"-focused entertainment and provide opportunities for the entertainment industry to tap into the deep resources of both UCLA and its partners in order to vet and develop content ideas.

"The Burkle Global Impact Initiative is a wonderful idea," said UN Assistant Secretary-General Robert Orr. "I'm thrilled that UCLA is launching this effort and that Brian Gott is leading it. This is a superb team, and we look forward to working closely with them."

"Entertainment is a powerful gateway for the public to learn about, and engage with, a wide range of critical global issues," said Burkle Center Director Kal Raustiala. "A more educated public is an important goal in itself. But it is also a crucial steppingstone to more enlightened and effective policies. I see this new initiative as a very important mission for the Burkle Center and an exciting mash-up of policy, communication, and education that could only happen in Los Angeles." Raustiala also expressed great enthusiasm for Brian Gott's leadership. "Brian is the perfect person to launch this effort. He is an incredibly respected entertainment industry executive, with a unique perspective of the global landscape... not only with regard to the creative community, but across international issues that transcend any one industry."

Gott said, "I believe that the entertainment industry is filled with passionate people, willing to explore new ideas in an effort to find stories that should be told. From women & LGBT rights, to environmental sustainability, peacekeeping, refugees, children's health, and food security... there are countless issues waiting to be discovered, each with innumerable stories waiting to be told. The Global Impact Initiative will convene the best and brightest minds from both the creative community and the international community, to develop those ideas."