Speakers include Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; "This could be the most important political gathering of the year"

LOS ANGELES, June 18, 2007—Ceasefire! Bridging the Political Divide, the inaugural conference of the Center on Communication Leadership at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, opens today in Los Angeles with a major speech by New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg at a dinner hosted by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at Getty House, the official residence of the Mayor of Los Angeles.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will deliver the conference's keynote address on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 in the Ray Kurtzman Theater at the new headquarters of Creative Artists Agency in Century City.

"With the public feeling disconnected from Washington and having grown tired of the current political debate and lack of progress on major issues, this could be the most important gathering of the year, " said Matthew Dowd, brand strategist and former adviser to President George W. Bush.

Governor Schwarzenegger’s address will be followed with remarks by Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, chair of the National Governors Association. Other confirmed speakers include Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, former governor Gray Davis, former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan, philanthropists Lauren Bon and Sherry Lansing, producer Kevin Wall, political strategist Matthew Dowd, Governor Schwarzenegger's chief of staff Susan Kennedy, and journalists Margaret Carlson, Jay Carney, Michael Kinsley, Lawrence O’Donnell, Juan Williams and Judy Woodruff.

“We want to highlight leaders from both parties who have succeeded in getting things done by building consensus around some of the nation’s toughest problems,” said Geoffrey Cowan, dean of the USC Annenberg School and director of the school’s Center on Communication Leadership.

“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 is sponsoring the conference. “That’s why we are convening in Los Angeles. To talk about finding that vital center and building outward. And to learn from what’s already working in different parts of the country.”

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.
Geoffrey Baum, 213-821-1491
Orli Belman, 213-740-0252, obelman@usc.edu
Monday, June 18, 2007
7:00PM Address
Welcome by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Address by Mayor Mike Bloomberg
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Read the unedited transcript of Bloomberg's remarks (PDF)

8:15PM Conversation
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Dean Geoffrey Cowan, USC Annenberg School
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kansas)
Harold Ford, Jr., DLC chairman and former Congressman (D-Tennessee)
Former Mayor Richard Riordan (R-Los Angeles)
Margaret Carlson, Bloomberg News
Moderator: Judy Woodruff, Senior Correspondent, “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer”

Tuesday, June 19, 2007
8:00AM Continental Breakfast

8:15AM Address
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Welcome: Geoffrey Cowan, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Richard Lovett, president, CAA
Greetings: Mayor Mike Bloomberg
Address: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Read the unedited transcript of Villaraigosa's remarks

9:00AM Discussion:
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Identifying the Problem: The Political Divide

Jay Carney, Washington Bureau Chief, Time
Matthew Dowd, Brand Strategist
Michael Kinsley, Founding Editor, Slate
Lawrence O’Donnell, Senior Political Analyst, MSNBC
John Podesta, President and CEO, Center for American Progress
Moderator: Juan Williams, Senior Correspondent, National Public Radio and Political Analyst, Fox News

10:00AM Keynote
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Greetings: Wallis Annenberg, Vice President, Annenberg Foundation
Introduction: Gray Davis, Former Governor of California
Address: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

10:30AM Address: New approaches to the political divide
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Read the unedited transcript (PDF)
Introduction: Charles Jones, former chief justice, Arizona Supreme Court
Address: Governor Janet Napolitano

10:45AM Break

11:15AM Discussion: Problem Solvers
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Lauren Bon, Trustee, Annenberg Foundation and Creative Director, Farmlab
Sherry Lansing, CEO and Founder, The Sherry Lansing Foundation
Kevin Wall, CEO, Control Room, Inc.
Moderator: Judy Woodruff, Senior Correspondent, “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer”

12:30PM Closing thoughts: Moving forward
Remarks by Geoffrey Cowan

12:45PM Lunch

©2007 USC Annenberg. All rights reserved.
USC Annenberg School for Communication, 3502 Watt Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0281