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USC Names First Holder of Erburu Chair

USC Names First Holder of Erburu Chair
The newly endowed Robert F. Erburu Chair honors Abraham Lowenthal, founder of the Pacific Council on International Policy.

By Kirsten Holguin

Abraham F. Lowenthal, USC Professor of International Relations and founder of the Pacific Council on International Policy, is the first recipient of the Robert F. Erburu Chair in Ethics, Globalization and Development.

The announcement of the newly endowed chair was made at the 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner for the Pacific Council on International Policy.

The USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Skirball Foundation partnered to create the Robert F. Erburu Chair.

“Bob Erburu has provided unparalleled leadership to the College’s board of councilors, inspiring the entire USC community with his steadfast support and guidance,” said USC College Dean Joseph Aoun. “In addition, he has helped foster our interdisciplinary life sciences and humanities initiatives. With this endowed chair, we are honored to recognize Bob’s distinguished record of service to the Los Angeles and international communities.”

In a separate announcement, Lowenthal has received the Edward J. Perkins Award from the Institute for International Public Policy at the UNCF Special Programs Corp. He was chosen “in recognition of [a] demonstrated commitment to promoting cultural competence and diversity in international affairs.”

Erburu, founding chairman of the USC College board of councilors and founding board chairman of the Pacific Council on International Policy, has been chairman, president and CEO of the Times Mirror Co.; chairman of the board of trustees of the J. Paul Getty Trust and of the Huntington Library Art Collections and Botanical Gardens; and chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco. Currently he is chairman of the National Gallery of Art.

Erburu also is a board member of numerous nonprofit organizations and foundations, including the Skirball Cultural Center.

“As we mark the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Pacific Council, it is fitting that the chair is awarded to its founding president, Abraham Lowenthal,” Aoun said. “In addition to his institutional leadership with the council, Lowenthal is an outstanding scholar, illuminating Latin American realities, U.S. foreign policy and the role of international influences on prospects for democratic governance around the world.”

Lowenthal said, “Bob Erburu, as a business and civic leader, personifies the best of USC’s traditions, and he is keenly aware of Southern California’s global connections and interests. In my ongoing research, writing and teaching at USC, I will do my very best to measure up to the high standards Bob exemplifies in every dimension.”

Lowenthal is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, based in New York, which he served as director of studies from 1975-76 and as a vice president from 1995-2005. He is also an editorial board member for the journal New Perspectives Quarterly.

He was the founding director of the Washington, D.C.-based Inter-American Dialogue, the United States’ leading think tank on Latin American affairs, as well as founding director of the Latin American Program at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, which also in Washington.

He has also served on the mayor’s International Trade Advisory Council for Los Angeles.

Lowenthal earned his Ph.D. in government from Harvard University in 1971. He came to USC in 1983 and is a member of the faculty of the School of International Relations in USC College. He earned an honorary law degree from the University of Notre Dame and was decorated with the Order of the Southern Cross by the Brazilian government.

In addition to publishing 115 scholarly journal articles and writing more than140 newspaper pieces, Lowenthal authored or edited 12 books, including “The Dominican Intervention” and “Constructing Democratic Governance: Latin America in the Mid-1990s.”

He received the Phi Kappa Phi prize given to an outstanding book by a USC faculty member for “Partners in Conflict: The United States and Latin America in the 1990s."