Gifts with global impact

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GPS Group Photo at 30th Anniversary

Alumni, friends and foundations provide $6 million in support during 30th Anniversary year

By Jade Griffin | GPS News

The UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) had a banner year in 2018-19 for more than one reason. As the school celebrated 30 years since its first graduating class, GPS alumni, friends and foundations came together to provide nearly $6 million in support for the future of the school and its students.

“The 30th Anniversary celebration offered an opportunity to reflect on the school’s many accomplishments and significant research on international relations and public policy,” said Dean Peter Cowhey. “This landmark year also allowed us to look to the future and consider the impact that we will continue to make in decades to come.”

The 21st Century China Center received more than $1.5 million in support for projects including the China Data Lab. GPS also established two new faculty fellowships thanks to a generous gift from business leader and chair of the GPS International Advisory Board Rafael Pastor, and his wife, Marina.

In addition, GPS hosted its first ever Crowdsurf campaign to support the Summer Internship Fund for our students. The response from our alumni and friends was overwhelming. The total number of donors exceeded our goal by more than 200 percent. In addition, one-third of alumni donors made their first-ever gift to GPS as part of the campaign.

Alumnus Jamal Russell Black, MIA ’16, shared why he chooses to support GPS students. “I was able to attend GPS with the support of a merit-based fellowship, which made the dream of graduate school a reality,” he said. “I give to GPS now so future students – some from financially unstable backgrounds – will benefit from the same education and professional opportunities. My GPS education was second to none, and it’s an honor to bring this dream to others.”

Russell Black’s support, along with that of other generous alumni and friends, helps allow outstanding GPS students to pursue summer internship opportunities around the globe – from Jakarta to Japan. The summer internship experiences are a central element of the GPS curriculum, designed to enrich students’ education and allow them to apply the ideas and concepts they have learned in the classroom.

Sean Clark, MIA ’20

Sean Clark, MIA ’20

Sean Clark, MIA ’20, is one student who traveled abroad for his student internship thanks to fellowship support. He interned at Transforma, an NGO based in Bogotá, Colombia, which focuses on issues such as deforestation, sustainable development and gender equality.

During his time at Transforma, Clark participated in several research projects, wrote grant proposals and analyzed potential policy measures centered on the issues of climate change.“I was able to use both quantitative and qualitative skills that I had learned from classes at GPS and implement them into professional tasks at the office,” said Clark. “As an added bonus, I was able to further my knowledge of the Spanish language and practice on a daily basis.”

Anju Kobayashi

Anju Kobayashi, MIA ’20

Anju Kobayashi, MIA ’20, also traveled abroad for her summer internship. She worked at Mitsubishi Research Institute, one of the biggest think tanks and consulting firms in Japan. There, she conducted research about the world industrial megatrends for 2030, from the perspective of Japanese business. She specifically focused on healthcare industry trends and developed a business plan proposal for an actual Japanese company.

“I learned a lot about how to analyze problems and how to build a global business strategy,” said Kobayashi. “What I learned at GPS, especially quantitative skills, was very helpful when I evaluated the cases. This summer was definitely a great opportunity.”

Alumni and friends can still make a difference with a gift to support GPS and our students, like Clark and Kobayashi, who will go on to tackle some of the most challenging issues facing society today—from energy and the environment to public policy and government regulation. Gifts also contribute to the campus’ comprehensive Campaign for UC San Diego. Learn more at

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An alumna of UC San Diego, Jade Griffin serves as Communications Editor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy. She writes and edits a range of communications on behalf of GPS. Griffin has more than 15 years of experience in strategic communications and public relations. She has worked in both higher education and the private sector. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication from UC San Diego in 2003.
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