LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — USC has announced the formation of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy Thursday.

The think tank, named for former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, will be dedicated to developing nonpartisan solutions to a variety of social, economic and political challenges and will be housed at the USC Price School of Public Policy.

“The University of Southern California is committed to promoting civic engagement both nationally and internationally, and the new Schwarzenegger Institute will advance this mission with the understanding that policy decisions should be evidence-based and best derived through critical analysis and mutual respect for competing well-reasoned positions,” USC President C.L. Max Nikias said.

The nonpartisan institute will focus on the responsibility leaders have to enforce policies that benefit their constituents, particularly in education, energy and environment, economic policy, political reform and healthcare.

“One of the great lessons I learned as governor of California was that the best solutions to common problems could only be found when each side was willing to engage thoughtfully and respectfully with each other,” Schwarzenegger said.

Bonnie Reiss, a former senior adviser to Schwarzenegger and a former California Secretary of Education, will serve as the institute’s global director, according to school officials. Nancy Staudt, who holds the new Edward G. Lewis Chair in Law and Public Policy, will be the institute’s academic director. Schwarzenegger will chair the Board of Advisors and serve as the inaugural holder of the Governor Downey Professor of State and Global Policy at the university.

The institute will initially be funded with a gift from Schwarzenegger, who has also pledged to raise money for a future endowment, school officials said.

School officials did not specify the amount of Schwarzenegger’s gift.

The institute’s nonpartisan board of advisors will include former Mexican President Vicente Fox, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, and former Secretary of State George Shultz, among others.

The first public event at the institute will be a one-day symposium Sept. 24, school officials said.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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