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National Leaders Convene to Improve Political Dialogue

New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa convened leaders from government, media, business, labor, philanthropy, religion and the non-profit sector today (June 19, 2007) to explore ways to improve political dialogue and decisionmaking at all levels of government. Presented by the Center on Communication Leadership at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, Ceasefire! Bridging the Political Divide was a forum for exploring ways to improve political dialogue and decision making at all levels.

According to Geoffrey Cowan, dean of the USC Annenberg School and director of the Center on Communication Leadership, event organizers wanted “to highlight leaders who have succeeded in getting things done by building consensus around some of the nation’s toughest problems.”

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger delivered the keynote address at the conference in L.A. this morning. Mayor Mike Bloomberg delivered opening remarks last night at a dinner hosted by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at Getty House, the official residence of the Mayor of Los Angeles. Other guests included Gov. Janet Napolitano, former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, former governor Gray Davis, political strategist Matthew Dowd and journalists Margaret Carlson, Jay Carney, Juan Williams and Judy Woodruff.

“In the philanthropic world, when you find an approach that actually makes a difference, no matter its origin or ideology, you want to reach out and grab it with both hands – the left and the right,” said Wallis Annenberg, vice president of the Annenberg Foundation, which sponsored the conference. “That’s why we are convening in Los Angeles. To talk about finding that vital center and then building outward. And to learn from what’s already working in different parts of the country.”

Ceasefire! Bridging the Political Divide, was the inaugural conference organized by the newly established Center on Communication Leadership at the USC Annenberg School for Communication. Go to bridgingthepoliticaldivide.org to learn more.

About the USC Annenberg School for Communication

Located in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California, the USC Annenberg School for Communication (annenberg.usc.edu) is among the nation’s leading institutions devoted to the study of journalism and communication, and their impact on politics, culture and society. With an enrollment of more than 1,900 graduate and undergraduate students, USC Annenberg offers degree programs in journalism, communication, public diplomacy and public relations. The school offers a variety of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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