Featured Speakers

Kazuo (Kaz) Hirai has held the position of Representative Corporate Executive Officer, President and CEO, Sony Corporation since April 2012, and in June 2012 was appointed a Director of the Sony Board.

Mr. Hirai previously served as Representative Corporate Executive Officer, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation and President of the Consumer Products & Services Group, overseeing Sony’s entire portfolio of consumer electronics products and digital networked services.

From 2007, Mr. Hirai served as President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) (now Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. (SIE Inc)) during which time he successfully returned the PlayStation business to profit, and drove the growth of the PlayStation Network, which provided users with revolutionary new forms of online entertainment while laying the foundations for Sony’s subsequent expansion into various online networked services. In September, 2011, he was appointed Chairman, SCEI.

Mr. Hirai began his career with CBS/Sony Inc. (now Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. (SMEJ)) in 1984 where he was involved in the marketing of international music in Japan, and later headed the international business affairs department. He then moved to SMEJ’s New York office, where he led the marketing of SMEJ artists in the U.S.

In 1995 he joined Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) (now Sony Interactive Entertainment America LLC (SIEA)), and in 1999 was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer, SCEA with responsibility for overall operational management of the U.S. game business. In 2006, Mr. Hirai was appointed President and Group Chief Operating Officer, SCEI, extending his responsibilities to the game business worldwide. During his time, first at SCEA and then at SCEI, Mr. Hirai played a pivotal role in elevating the industry into a hugely significant genre, while at the same time making the PlayStation brand synonymous with exceptional gaming and entertainment.

In 2009, Mr. Hirai was appointed President of Networked Products & Services Group, Sony Corporation, enabling him to drive new integration and innovation across Sony’s networked products and services, including the successful launch of the Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited online services. As of April 2011, Mr. Hirai assumed responsibility for all Sony’s consumer electronics products and services, together with its global software, sales and marketing and design platforms.

Mr. Hirai received his bachelor of liberal arts degree from the International Christian University in Tokyo.


nikias_color1C. L. Max Nikias is the eleventh president of the University of Southern California. He holds the Robert C. Packard President’s Chair and the Malcolm R. Currie Chair in Technology and the Humanities, and chairs the USC Health System Board. He has been at USC since 1991, as a professor, director of national research centers, dean, provost, and now president. He holds faculty appointments in both electrical engineering and the classics, and currently teaches an undergraduate course on the culture of the Athenian democracy.

Nikias is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a charter fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), an associate member of the Academy of Athens, a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Among numerous other honors, he has received the IEEE Simon Ramo Medal, an Academic Leadership Award from Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service, UNICEF’s Spirit of Compassion Award, and numerous honorary doctorates.



MichaelQuick_Headshot-horizontal-450x300Michael Quick was appointed Provost on April 1, 2015. He also serves as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, and as Professor of Biological Sciences in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

As the university’s second-ranking administrator, he oversees the USC Dornsife College as well as the Keck School of Medicine of USC and 17 other professional schools, in addition to the divisions of student affairs, libraries, information technology services, research, student religious life and enrollment services. His strategic priorities for the university include tackling the “wicked problems” confronting the 21st century, faculty and student access and opportunity, educational value and affordability, and global engagement.

Dr. Quick received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Emory University and studied as a post-doctoral research fellow at the California Institute of Technology. Before coming to USC in 2002, he was on the faculty at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His scholarship focuses on how therapeutic drugs and drugs of abuse alter the signaling properties of nerve cells.

Dr. Quick previously served as Director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program, Vice Dean for Research and Executive Vice Dean of USC Dornsife, and Executive Vice Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.


General (Ret.) David H. Petraeus is a partner in the global investment firm KKR, chairman of the KKR Global Institute, a Judge Widney Professor at the University of Southern California, a member of the board of Optiv (a global cyber security solutions provider), and a personal venture capitalist. Prior to joining KKR, General Petraeus served over 37 years in the U.S. military, including command of coalition forces during the Surge in Iraq, command of U.S. Central Command, and command of coalition forces in Afghanistan. Following his service in the military General Petraeus served as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

General Petraeus graduated with distinction from the U.S. Military Academy and subsequently earned MPA and Ph.D. degrees in an interdisciplinary program in international relations and economics from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He later taught international relations and economics at the U.S. Military Academy and was a Visiting Professor of Public Policy at the City University of New York’s Macaulay Honors College. General Petraeus has received numerous U.S. military, State Department, NATO, and United Nations medals and awards, and he has been decorated by 13 foreign countries.

General Petraeus is also a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, Co-Chairman of the Woodrow Wilson Institute’s Global Advisory Council, Senior Vice President of the Royal United Services Institute, and a member of the boards of the Institute for the Study of War, the Atlantic Council, the Concordia Foundation, and a dozen veterans service organizations.


Yukio Okamoto, a former Special Advisor to two Prime Ministers of Japan, is the President of Okamoto Associates and a Senior Research Fellow at MIT/CIS.

From 1968 to 1991 Mr. Okamoto was a career diplomat in Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His overseas postings were at Paris, Cairo and Washington. He retired from the Ministry in 1991 and established Okamoto Associates Inc., a political and economic consultancy.

Post-retirement, Mr. Okamoto has served in a number of advisory positions. From 1996 to 1998, he was a Special Advisor to Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. From 2001 to 2004, he was again a Special Advisor to Prime Minister Jun-ichiro Koizumi, also serving as the Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Foreign Relations.

Mr. Okamoto is a visiting professor of international relations at Ritsumeikan University as well as Tohoku University. He sits on the Board of several Japanese multinational companies.

Mr. Okamoto has written many books on Japanese diplomacy and is a regular contributor to major newspapers and magazines. He is a very well-known public speaker and a frequent guest on public affairs and news television programs.


Koji Murofushi, Ph.D. (Biomechanics), is a Professor at Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Executive Director of the Sports Bureau and the Sports Director at Tokyo 2020.

Murofushi competed at the Olympic Games in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 in succession as a hammer thrower. He was awarded the gold medal at the Athens 2004 Games and the bronze medal at the London 2012 Games. He also won the gold medal at the World Championships in 2011 at the age of 36. He became the first Japanese athlete to win gold medals at both the World Championships and the Olympic Games. In 2014, he won an unprecedented 20th consecutive Japanese title at the Japan National Championships in Athletics. His personal best throw is 84.86m. He took leave of his professional athletic career in 2016.

With respect to his academic career, Murofushi received a Ph.D. in Biomechanics in 2008. His professional interests focus on the prevention of athletes’ injuries and the improvement of individual performance through integration of sport science and sport medicine. At present, he is active in his role as the Sports Director of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020).


Midori Goto, violinist and educator, has maintained an international presence for almost three decades, first as a performer, and increasingly as a musical community engagement advocate, and educator. She currently performs close to 100 concerts a year worldwide, leads varied community-involving and charitable projects, and serves on the violin faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music as Distinguished Professor and Jascha Heifetz Chair in Violin.

Ms. Goto also serves as a Guest Professor at Japan’s Soai University, at the New England Conservatory of Music, at Shanghai Conservatory, and she is an Honorary Professor at the Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music. She recently completed a one-year position as a professor at Oxford University, where she chaired a multi-disciplinary symposium on music education and community development.

A debut with the New York Philharmonic at age 11 launched her career, and a front-page story in The New York Times three years later helped in the formation of a major international career. Performing as Midori—first name only—she has spent her decades before the public in virtually every major international capital and cultural center, performing in a wide range of the greatest musical venues.

Midori’s performing schedule is balanced between recitals, chamber music performances and appearances with the world’s most prestigious orchestras. Her discography runs to dozens of recordings, culminating in The Essential Midori, a compilation issued by Sony Masterworks. Her most recent recordings include a Grammy-winning CD, featuring her performance of the Hindemith Violin Concerto, with the NDR Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach, a CD of Bloch, Janacek and Shostakovich Sonatas, and a new recording of the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas For Solo Violin.

Midori Goto has built upon her fame by founding a series of successful not-for-profit organizations and other ongoing youth-directed projects. Midori & Friends, created in New York City in 1992, brings musical education to underprivileged children, in partnership with the city’s public schools. Partners in Performance, based in the U.S., and Music Sharing, formed in Japan, bring deeply committed music-making into smaller communities, those typically underserved by live arts presented at the highest levels. In recognition of such activities, the U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, named Midori a “Messenger of Peace” in 2007.

Goto’s varied educational experience, including a Master’s degree in Psychology from New York University in 2005, adds to her innovative ideas as a pedagogue. With equal commitment to searching performances of the classical musical literature and to contemporary composition, while bringing the fruits of experience and passion to students at all levels, and also to often-overlooked populations, Midori Goto is at the forefront of enriching the lives of many different kinds of people around the world.


A-BaileyAnthony Bailey is vice president for strategic and global initiatives at the University of Southern California. He’s tasked with building the USC brand and recruitment efforts worldwide and represents USC in relationships and negotiations with foreign universities, governments, and other institutions abroad. He oversees USC’s eight international offices located in Hong Kong, Mexico City, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, Mumbai, Beijing and São Paulo.

Bailey also serves as the founding dean of USC Bovard College which supports individuals during key academic and career transitions through online and hybrid programs, and includes master’s degrees for professionals and the USC Bovard Scholars Program. He also oversees the USC International Academy, USC Summer Programs and the American Language Institute.

Before joining USC, Bailey built Kaplan International Colleges, a chain of 44 schools with operations in 20 countries through organic growth and acquisitions, as well as led Kaplan’s medical and nursing licensing businesses. Prior to Kaplan, Bailey was a group brand manager at the Ford Motor Company, during which time he launched a wholly owned subsidiary in Brazil.

Fluent in Portuguese and conversant in Spanish, Bailey has represented the education industry with respect to trade agreements on an advisory committee of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Commerce. He is an associate professor of clinical entrepreneurship at the USC Marshall School of Business and provides strategic advice to a number of private equity firms in the education sector.

Bailey received his BA and MA from the University of Miami, his MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, and his doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.


Willow Bay, a veteran broadcast journalist and leader in digital communication, is the Walter H. Annenberg Chair in Communication and Dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Prior to assuming the deanship, Bay spent the last three years as Director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism where she launched operations in the Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves and CBS Media Center in Wallis Annenberg Hall, introduced the school’s new Bachelor of Arts in Journalism degree program, welcomed the first cohort of the school’s nine-month Master of Science in Journalism program, forged partnerships with key media industry partners and created new curriculum and fellowships for master’s students. Bay’s work to ensure that current and future communicators are fluent on many digital platforms was recognized last fall with the Award of Honor from the PEN Center USA.

Prior to joining the Annenberg School, Willow served as a senior strategic advisor to The Huffington Post where she spent seven years helping to manage editorial growth initiatives at the on-line news and opinion site. A seasoned TV journalist, Bay has held a variety of high-profile reporting and anchoring assignments including as co-anchor of CNN’s flagship financial news program Moneyline, co-anchor of ABC News’Good Morning America/Sunday, and serving as a special correspondent and host of Women to Watch for Bloomberg TV. She regularly interviews top business and thought leaders including former President Bill Clinton, Pepsi Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz, business magnate, politician and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She has also served as Executive Producer and host of Lifetime Television’s Spotlight 25,a multi-platform research and television special.


Carl Castro is currently Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families in the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. He retired from the Army after serving for more than 30 years, where he obtained the rank of colonel. Dr. Castro received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in 1989. He began his military career as an infantryman in 1981, and has completed two tours in Iraq, as well as serving on peacekeeping missions to Saudi Arabia, Bosnia and Kosovo. He is currently Chair of a NATO research group on Military Veteran Transitions, a Fulbright Scholar and member of several Department of Defense and Veteran Affairs advisory boards. He has authored over 200 scientific articles and reports on numerous military topics. His current research efforts focus on assessing the effects of combat and operations tempo (OPTEMPO) on soldier, family, and unit readiness, and evaluating the process of service members’ transition into the military, as well as from military back to civilian life.


Pinchas Cohen is the Dean of the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California. He graduated from the Technion Medical School in Israel, trained at Stanford University, and held faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania and UCLA. He received numerous awards for his research, including an NIA “EUREKA” Award and the Transformative RO1-Grant from the Director of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Cohen pioneered the emerging science of mitochondrial-derived peptides. He holds several patents and is the co-founder of CohBar, a biotechnology company developing treatments for diseases of aging. Dr. Cohen is leading several new initiatives at the USC Davis School, including the development of a Center for Digital Aging, and a major focus on the creation of tools for “Personalized Aging”, an approach he has been spearheading for the purpose of garnering the latest technologies such as genomics, towards individualizing healthy aging strategies, that has been featured in the Bloomberg Longevity Economy Conference and the Milken Institute Global Conference.


Elizabeth Currid-Halkett is the James Irvine Chair in Urban and Regional Planning and professor of public policy at the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on the arts and culture and most recently, the American consumer economy.

She is the author of three books The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art and Music Drive New York City (Princeton University Press 2007), Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010) and The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class (Princeton University Press 2017).

Currid-Halkett has spoken about her work to audiences at 92Y Tribeca, Google, Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, among others. Currid-Halkett’s work has been featured in numerous national and international media outlets including the New York TimesWall Street JournalSalon, the Economist, the New Yorker, and the Times Literary Supplement.

She has contributed to a variety of academic and mainstream publications including the Journal of Economic GeographyEconomic Development Quarterly, the Journal of the American Planning Association, the New York Times, and the Harvard Business Review. She is currently working on a project with the World Economic Forum looking at key issues in the contemporary global consumer economy.

Currid-Halkett received her PhD from Columbia University. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.



Elizabeth Daley was appointed dean of the USC School of Cinema-Television in May 1991. She is the inaugural holder of the Steven J. Ross/Time Warner Dean’s Chair. Under her leadership, the school has added three new divisions in Animation and Digital Arts, Interactive Media and Games, and Media Arts and Practice; built the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts; established 29 endowed positions; and formed successful partnerships with a variety of entertainment and technology companies. In 2006, Daley presided over the school’s official renaming as the School of Cinematic Arts by George Lucas and broke ground for a new complex that now includes three instructional buildings, four sound stages and a production center. Before coming to USC, she served as director of the film and television subsidiary of the Mark Taper Forum, and prior to that was a producer for MGM/Television. She serves on the boards of Avid Technologies, the Benton Foundation and the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Media, Entertainment and Information. Daley earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and M.A. and B.A. degrees from Tulane University and Newcomb College. She is the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from Hong Kong Baptist University.


Richard Drobnick is the director of the IBEAR MBA program at the USC Marshall School of Business. He was the founding director of the School’s Center for International Business (1990-2014), which was supported by the U.S. Department of Education since 1990, as one of its 33 national resource centers on international business. Dr. Drobnick served as USC’s inaugural Vice Provost for International Affairs (1994-2005). He was the inaugural Secretary General (1997-2002) and a member of the Steering Committee (1997-2010) of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), an association of presidents of 45 leading Pacific Rim research universities (www.apru.org). He launched and led APRU’s Pacific Rim research programs on “Sustainability and Climate Change” and “Public Health”(2006-2010).

Dr. Drobnick specializes in Pacific Rim economic and business issues and U.S. and Pacific Rim trade policies. He is the author of numerous articles regarding international economics and business, as well as the co-author of Neither Feast nor Famine: Food Conditions to the Year 2000 and co-editor of Small Firms in Global Competition. He is a member of the U.S.-Asia Pacific Council, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Asia Society of Southern California’s Executive Committee, and is a director of the Japan-America Society-Southern California. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia (1967-1969), Drobnick served as an economic advisor to the Malaysian Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Association Movement.


James G. Ellis was appointed dean of the USC Marshall School of Business and holder of the Robert R. Dockson Dean’s Chair in Business Administration in April 2007. As dean, he is responsible for the education of some 5700 students, both graduate and undergraduate. In addition, he holds a full time appointment as Professor of Marketing in the Department of Marketing, where he has been since 1997.

Prior to being appointed Dean, Mr. Ellis was Vice Provost for Globalization, for the University, responsible for building the USC name worldwide. He also served as the Vice Dean of External Relations, at the Marshall School of Business, as well as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs. He continues to teach the Freshman Leadership Colloquium class.

Holding an MBA degree from the Harvard Business School and a BBA degree from the University of New Mexico, Mr. Ellis worked in the corporate world from 1970 to 1997. He served as President/CEO of Porsche Design, a high-end accessories company owned by Europe’s Porsche family, from 1985-1990. From 1990-1997, he was Chairman/CEO of Port O’Call Pasadena, an upscale home accessory retailer, as well as being an owner/ partner in six other companies. Ellis currently sits on numerous corporate and non-profit boards of directors.

At USC in 2003, he was awarded both the “Teaching Has No Boundaries” award, given by the faculty, and the Golden Apple Award, given by the students. In 2004, he was given the Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring Award from the USC Parents’ Association.

His finest achievement is his family. He and his wife, Gail, have five children and ten grandchildren, and live in San Marino, California.


Marilyn L. Flynn, PhD is a transformational leader whose wide-ranging career in higher education, research, consultation, and teaching is one of exceptional breadth. She was appointed Dean of Social Work at the University of Southern California in 1997, only the second woman to hold this position in the school’s 100 year history. In 2013, she received the USC Provost’s inaugural Prize for Innovation in Educational Practice, and two years later, was installed as the inaugural 2U Chair in Educational Innovation and Social Work.

Dean Flynn’s achievements at USC include development of the nation’s largest online graduate Master’s degree in social work, with 1800 students in 49 states; implementation of the first military social work program in a global research institution; use of virtual education for preparation of graduate interns in social work; creation of a TeleHealth Clinic offering tele-therapy to the community, and expansion of internships in non-traditional occupational settings. She has also expanded the School’s research enterprise to $40 million dollars in funding over the past four years.

Dean Flynn helped found the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, and was the first President of the St. Louis Group, representing most US school of social work in major research institutions. At USC, she greatly enlarged the Hamovitch Center for Science in the Human Services and established the nationally respected Flynn Prize for Social Work Research.

Dean Flynn received her MSW and PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with specializations in social work, social policy, and public finance.


Karen Symms Gallagher is the Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean at the USC Rossier School of Education. She pioneered the school’s practitioner-focused education doctorate more than a decade ago, and that EdD is now a national model. In 2009, she oversaw the launch of the groundbreaking online Master of Arts in Teaching degree, which has produced more than 3,000 graduates. She has since launched three more degree programs that utilize an online platform: the Global Executive EdD (2012); the EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership (2014); and the Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology (2015).

She led the USC Rossier initiative that successfully opened three charter high schools in Southern California while securing approval to open two more in 2017. She built on the successful personalized learning model with the 2016 launch of the Center for Human-Applied Reasoning and the Internet of Things, or CHARIOT, a partnership with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering that helps educators gather real-time data about how students are learning and how teachers should personalize instruction for each student.

Dean Gallagher has a long career of collaborating on teacher preparation improvement. In 2015, she joined with other education leaders to form Deans for Impact, an organization that aims to improve educator preparation through data-driven initiatives.

In 2010, she received the Social Responsibility Award from the Los Angeles Urban League. In 2013, she was honored with USC’s inaugural Provost’s Prize for Innovation in Educational Practice and also named to the spring 2013 cohort of Pahara-Aspen Fellows.


Andrew T. Guzman, holder of the Carl Mason Franklin Dean’s Chair in Law, is an authority on international law and economics who has written extensively on international trade, international regulatory matters, foreign direct investment and public international law. Previously a professor and associate dean at University of California, Berkeley School of Law, he joined the USC Gould School of Law as dean, effective July 1, 2015.

Guzman was the Jackson H. Ralston Professor of Law and Associate Dean of International and Executive Education at UC Berkeley.  He also served as the director of the Advanced Law Degree Programs.  His inter-disciplinary research addresses problems across the range of public and private international law, including international regulatory cooperation, foreign investment, international trade, theories of international law, and rational choice approaches. His recent work has addressed international tribunals, soft law, the safety of imported products, and climate change.

Before joining the faculty at Berkeley, Guzman served as judicial clerk at the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He received his J.D. and his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

Guzman is a member of the board of editors of six journals including the Journal of International Economic Law. He is also a member of the Academic Council of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration and has served as an international arbitrator. He is the author of “Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change,” “How International Law Works” and “International Trade Law.”

Guzman has taught as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, the University of Chicago Law School, the University of Virginia Law School, Vanderbilt Law School, the University of Hamburg, and the National University Law School in Bangalore, India.


Juan M.E. Harrison is Vice President, Head of Strategic Academic Alliances in the Center for External Innovation at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. He is responsible for engaging external partners, particularly academic communities and stakeholders in early stage therapeutic discovery, to leverage technology, capabilities and resources to drive healthcare innovation and pipeline advancement. From 2012 to 2015, he was Vice President, New Frontier Science, where he was responsible for nurturing innovation emerging from academia and start-up companies through partnerships. He started his career at Takeda in 2008 as Vice President, Takeda Ventures, Inc., from 2008 to 2012. Mr. Harrison brings more than 30 years of biopharmaceutical R&D, product licensing, business development and strategy experience. Prior to joining Takeda, Mr. Harrison was a partner with ProPharma Partners International, where he specialized in developing and implementing business and licensing strategy for emerging and established biopharmaceutical companies. Before this, he led business development at XenoPort Inc., and held senior licensing positions at PowderJect Inc., Connetics Corporation and Alza Corporation. In addition, Mr. Harrison held product development management and research positions at Alza, where he began his career in 1985. Mr. Harrison received his Bachelor of Sciences in Combined Sciences from Santa Clara University in California, USA.


Steve Kay currently serves as the Director of Convergent Biosciences, and is a Provost Professor of Neurology, Biomedical Engineering and Biological Sciences at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. He held the position as the 21st dean of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences from 2012-2015.

Dr. Kay, is one of the world’s top experts on the genetics and genomics of circadian rhythms. Having published more than 200 papers, he has been named by Thomson Reuters as one of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” each year since 2007 and cited in Science magazine’s “Breakthroughs of the Year” three times since 1997.

Dr. Kay’s research contributed significantly to the understanding of the molecular basis for circadian rhythms, which serve as the body’s clock for timing the day-night cycle. For example, his lab is exploring the ties between circadian rhythms and glucose metabolism. This investigation led Dr. Kay and his collaborators to discover a chemical that regulates our biological clock that could be used to develop new drugs to treat metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes. Recently, Dr. Kay and his researchers identified a genetic switch that regulates a plant’s internal clock based on temperature, which may lead to plants that can better adapt to climate change.

Dr. Kay, studied genetics and genomics, received his Ph.D. and D.Sc. from the University of Bristol, United Kingdom.

In 2008, Dr. Kay was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences, in 2009 he was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was awarded the American Society of Plant Biologists’ 2011 Martin Gibbs Medal for his pioneering work in plant sciences.


Jack H. Knott serves as the dean of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and holds the C. Erwin and Ione L. Piper Chair. He is a leading scholar in the fields of public policy and public administration.

In recognition of his substantial contributions to the field of public administration, Knott was named a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration in 2007. He is also the past president in 2013 of the Network of Schools of Public Policy and Administration (NASPAA).

Before joining USC, he served on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he directed the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. Before joining the University of Illinois, he was a professor at Michigan State University. He has held visiting professorships at the University of Arizona and the University of Warwick in the U.K, and fellowships at the Russel Sage Foundation in NYC and the Institute of Management in Berlin, Germany.

Knott earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, a master of arts from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and a bachelor of arts from Calvin College.


Peter Kuhn is a scientist, educator and entrepreneur with a career long commitment in personalized medicine and individualized patient care. He is focused on the redesign of cancer care. The first product from technology developed by Dr. Kuhn became available for cancer care in June 2016.

Dr. Kuhn is the Dean’s Professor of Biological Sciences, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, a founding member of the Michelson Center for Convergent Biosciences at USC and is leading CSI-Cancer at USC. Prof. Kuhn’s strategy is to advance our understanding of the human body to improve the human condition for those affected by cancer. His research is shedding new light at how cancer spreads through the body and evolves over time. This new science will lead to a personalized care strategy that is biologically informed and clinically actionable.

Dr. Kuhn is a physicist who trained initially at the Julius Maximilians Universität Würzburg, Germany, before receiving his Masters in Physics at the University of Albany, Albany, NY in 1993 and his Ph.D. in 1995. He then moved to Stanford University where he joined the faculties of Medicine and Accelerator Physics as tenure track Assistant Professor. From 2002 to 2014 he established the Physics Oncology program at The Scripps Research in La Jolla, CA as tenured Associate Professor before joining USC in 2014. He has published over 200 peer scientific articles and patents because of his research. He founded Epic Sciences, Inc. in 2009 to develop cancer diagnostic products. In June 2016, Epic Sciences’ first CLIA certified LDT became available for patient care following the publication of clinical data demonstrating its predictive power.


Akira Mizuta Lippit is Vice Dean of Faculty in the School of Cinematic Arts, and Professor in the Division of Cinema and Media Studies. He is also a Professor of Comparative Literature and East Asian Languages and Cultures in the USC Dornsife College. His interests are in world cinemas, critical theory, Japanese film and culture, experimental film and video, and visual studies.

Lippit’s published work reflects these areas and includes four books, Ex-Cinema: From a Theory of Experimental Film and Video (2012); Atomic Light (Shadow Optics) (2005); Electric Animal: Toward a Rhetoric of Wildlife (2000); and his most recent book, Cinema without Reflection: Jacques Derrida’s Echopoiesis and NarcissismAdrift(2016). At present, Lippit is completing a book on contemporary Japanese cinema, which explores the physical and metaphysical dimensions of the “world,” and another on David Lynch’s baroque alphabetics.

His work appears widely in journals and anthologies, and has been translated into Croatian, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, and Spanish. He is a past recipient of the Academy of Korean Studies, Japan Foundation, and Fulbright-Hays awards.

Lippit is active in the film community as a programmer, interviewer, and jury member, and has been deeply involved in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Visual History Project. Lippit is Senior Editor of the journal Discourse and serves on the editorial board of Film Quarterly. He regularly teaches, lectures, and publishes in Japan, where he is a founding editor of the visual culture journal Ecce.


N. Rao Machiraju is an Executive in Residence and Co-Director of Center for Applied Human Reasoning and IoT at the University of Southern California. CHARIOT is a joint center of Rossier School of Education and Viterbi School of Engineering at USC. Prior to joining USC, he was the CEO of reQall Inc., an MIT Medialab Spin Off focused on building context based personal assistants for smart devices. Rao is a Founder and Managing Partner of DigiKeyih.com.

Prior to reQall, Rao was a Principal Scientist at Apple. At Apple, he headed various groups including the Learning Lab in the Advanced Technology Group. Rao lead a number of research and development efforts in information retrieval, organizational memory, and lectured extensively in USA, Europe, and Asia. Rao holds eleven patents in computing.

In the 80’s and 90’s Rao served on the editorial boards of Journal of Expert Systems and Journal of Telematics and Informatics as a founding member. In 1992, Rao served on the NASA Committee on Expert Systems. In 1993 Rao and his team won the Optimus Award for Innovation and Excellence for Apple. reQall won the DemoGod award in 2007, TiE50 and Always On 250 in 2009, and TiE50 Award in 2012 and in 2014. Rao was on the Board of Councilors of NSF’s Center on Multi-Media Computing (IMSC) at the USC for nine years. He was the Founding advisor to Dimagi.com, an MIT Media Lab Spin off.

Rao has an interdisciplinary educational background in public health (MPH from California State University at Northridge), General Systems and Information Networks (Certificate from United Nations Institute for Research and Training, University of Stockholm and UCLA), and instructional technology (Doctorate from University of Southern California).


Michael Meyers is Managing Director and Head of Investment Banking at T.R. Winston & Company, with over 25 years of experience in investment banking, venture capital and asset management. Mr. Meyers is responsible for originating and managing T.R. Winston’s venture capital and strategic advisory businesses, with an emphasis in healthcare; as well as technology and retail/consumer. Meyers also serves as Interim CEO of Cell Biotherapy, an immuno-oncology company that was founded with leading researchers and clinicians from Keck and Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at USC, and Tivorsan Pharmaceuticals, a neuromuscular rare disease company.

Prior to joining T.R. Winston, Meyers was CEO of Arcoda Capital Management LP, a healthcare focused fund. Meyers was also a Partner and Portfolio Manager with GoldenTree Asset Management, a $22 billion asset management firm. Between 2002 and 2006, Mr. Meyers was a founding Partner and Portfolio Manager with Trivium Capital Management. Meyers has also served as a Managing Director and Partner of Global Biomedical Partners, a life sciences venture capital firm located in New York and Zurich, Switzerland, that was acquired by HBM Bioventures in 2003.

Meyers has also served as Director of Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Investment Banking with Merrill Lynch & Co. Meyers began his career as a Biotechnology and Medical Device Research Associate at Hambrecht & Quist.

Meyers serves on the Board of Trustees of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the Board of Councilors of the University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts, and Stevens Center for Innovation, and as a Trustee of The JED Foundation.

Meyers received an M.P.H. in Health Policy & Management from Columbia University, and an A.B. in Biology from Brandeis University.


Alex Ng has more than 30 years of international investment experience and since 1999 has been Chief Investment Officer, Asia Pacific for BNP Paribas Asset Management.

Alex first joined the ABN AMRO Group in 1988. In 1991, he established the Hong Kong office of ABN AMRO Asset Management (Asia) Ltd (“AAAM”) which went on to become BNP PARIBAS ASSET MANAGEMENT Asia Ltd. By 1995, Alex had transformed AAAM into the company’s global asset management center for Asian investments. Over time, Alex expanded the Asian investment network to include Japan, India, Indonesia, Australia and Singapore.

Alex was an early investor into China via the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) program. He was also one of the first foreign entrants into the China domestic asset management industry via a local joint-venture. BNP Paribas Asset Management now has a successful and profitable joint venture with one of the largest onshore brokerages, Haitong Securities. Alex has also served on the Investment Committee of a private equity joint-venture business with Haitong Securities since 2010.

In the late 90’s, Alex established a Japanese Equity investment team in Tokyo and in 2004, he formed a partnership with Ajia Partners, a boutique alternative manager, and Mitsubishi Corp. Together they launched a successful private equity fund investing in Japanese real estate.

Alex graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He served on the Board of Governors of the CFA Institute from 2003–2006 and the Listing Committee of The Hong Kong Stock Exchange from May 2006 – July 2010. He is currently Chairman of the Children’s Medical Foundation, a Hong Kong based charitable organization.


Eric Rice is an associate professor and the founding co-director of the USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society, a joint venture of the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

He specializes in social network science and theory, as well as community-based research. His primary focus is on youth experiencing homelessness and how issues of social network influence may affect risk-taking behaviors and resilience. For several years he has been working with colleague Milind Tambe to merge social work science and AI, seeking novel solutions to major social problems such as homelessness and HIV. Rice is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and is the recipient of grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the California HIV/AIDS Research Program, the Army Research Office and other agencies.

Since 2002 he has worked closely with homeless youth providers in Los Angeles and many other communities across the country to develop novel solutions to end youth homelessness. He is the creator of the TAY Triage Tool to identify high-risk homeless youth for prioritization to housing.  He is the co-chair of the West Coast Convening and co-creator of Coordinated Entry Learning Collaborative, both multi-city program and policy working groups.

Rice received a BA from the University of Chicago, and an MA and PhD in Sociology from Stanford University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles. He joined the USC faculty in 2009. In 2012 he received the John B. Reid Early Career Award through the Society for Prevention Research.


Akihiko Sato joined The Mitsubishi Bank, Ltd. in 1990. After working at a domestic branch banking office, he gained economic research experience in his assignments, including an overseas position in New York, from 1997 to 2004, where he was involved in macroeconomic research for the US economy. He also researched assignments in the Japanese government twice, from 1993 to 1995 and the other from 2004 to 2006, respectively, where he was on loan to the Ministry of Finance on both cases.

Following his return to the Bank from the Ministry of Finance in 2006, he was involved in the bank’s overseas M&A activities in Retail Banking Planning Division. From 2008 to 2011, Mr. Sato was assigned to the Asia & China Division and from 2011 to 2013, to the Global Planning Division both as Chief Manager. In these assignments Mr. Sato engaged in overseas business development and financial management of the bank’s Global Business Unit.

He was assigned to Retail Banking Planning Division again in late 2013, as Deputy General Manager to engage in retail business developments at Bank of Ayudhya, a Thai bank the bank acquired in 2013, and VietinBank, a Vietnamese bank into which the Bank made a strategic investment in the same year.

Sato took up his current position as General Manager of the Economic Research Office, Corporate Planning Division at The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. in July 2015.

Sato received his BA of laws from Tokyo University.


Naoki Sato is President and Chief Executive Officer of Nikkatsu Corporation, a leading Japanese film studio/production/distribution company.

With significant producing experience, Sato joined Nikkatsu in 2005 as President, where he revolutionized the company’s production team by working closely with Sion Sono, Takashi Miike and other acclaimed directors. Under his management, the transformed Nikkatsu received the Japanese Academy Award for“Rebirth,” and soon, many other notable titles joined the company’s proud library, including the “Death Note” series, “School Days with a Pig,” “Yatta Man,” and “The Devil’s Path.” Nikkatsu continues to be a hub for an innovative trail of films, including “Before We Vanish” by Kiyoshi Kurosawa and “Yurigokoro” by Naoto Kumazawa, to be released in fall 2017.

Sato’s strong focus on international markets has led the company to establish Katana Japan as a joint venture with Kantana of Thailand, which coproduced “A Matter of Taste” with Channel 3 with season 2 currently in production. Nikkatsu has also been involved in a number of feature film co-productions, including “Headshot” with Indonesia/Singapore.

Prior to joining Nikkatsu, Sato served as the Managing Director and Executive Producer of Kakokawa Pictures (Now KADOKAWA), responsible for film development and production. Sato began his career at Daiei (which later merged and became Kadokawa Pictures), where he quickly established himself as an outstanding producer for the “Heisei Gamera” series, the “One Missed Call” series, and “The Great Yokai War.”

Sato served on the board of the research committee for the Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters of the Japanese Government’s Cabinet Secretariat between 2010 -2012.


James Steyer is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Common Sense Media, the nation’s leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a powerful voice for kids and families in the 21st century. He is also the author of two popular books, Talking Back to Facebook and The Other Parent: The Inside Story of the Media’s Effect on Our Children. He co-founded the climate-change organization NextGen with his brother, Tom Steyer. Mr. Steyer is also an award-winning consulting professor at Stanford University, where he has taught popular courses on civil rights, civil liberties, and education for more than 20 years. He appears regularly on national television and radio programs as an expert commentator and children’s advocate. Last, but most importantly, he’s the dad of four great kids.


Gaurav S. Sukhatme is a Professor of Computer Science and of Electrical Engineering-Systems. He holds the Fletcher Jones chair in Computer Science. He is the Executive Vice Dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. He served as Chairman of the Computer Science department from 2012-17.

Sukhatme is the director of the USC Robotic Embedded Systems Laboratory which he founded in 2000.  He is well known for his research in estimation and planning for robotics, multi-robot systems and robot networks with applications to environmental robotics.  He has published extensively in these and related areas and has served as the principal investigator on numerous federally funded grants.  Sukhatme has mentored 22 PhD students to completion.

Sukhatme served as program chair of the two largest annual robotics conferences: IEEE ICRA (2008) and IEEE/RSJ IROS (2011).  He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Springer journal Autonomous Robots.  He served as Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, and on the editorial board of IEEE Pervasive Computing.  He is one of the founders of the Robotics Science and Systems Conference.

Sukhatme is the recipient of a 2002 National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a 2006 Okawa Foundation Research Grant, and a 2008-2009 USC Center for Excellence in Research Faculty Fellow. He is a Fellow of the IEEE.

Sukhatme received his undergraduate education at IIT Bombay in Computer Science and Engineering, and his PhD in Computer Science from USC.


Rohit Varma is the 23rd dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, one of the nation’s preeminent research-intensive medical schools and the oldest medical school in Southern California. A renowned expert on glaucoma and the epidemiology of eye diseases, he holds the May S. and John Hooval Dean’s Chair in Medicine and the Grace and Emery Beardsley Chair in Ophthalmology. He serves as the Chair of the USC Care Board of Directors.

Varma’s primary research focus is epidemiologic studies of eye disease in children and aging populations; he also is pursuing new imaging techniques that could improve early diagnosis of optic nerve damage in people with glaucoma. Dr. Varma is one of the highest NIH-funded investigators, demonstrating the importance, timeliness and impact of his work.
Dr. Varma first joined the USC faculty in 1993. In 2014, he became the chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and director of what is now the USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute.

He has authored or co-authored more than 275 journal articles in peer-reviewed journals and edited or authored three books. Varma is a member of several prestigious academic societies, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, which awarded him its Secretariat Award (2014) and its Life Achievement Award (2016). Dr. Varma serves on the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Disparities and served on the board of the Scientific Counselors of the National Eye Institute.

A native of India, Varma earned his medical degree from the University of Delhi and his master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins University. He completed a residency in ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University. He completed fellowships in glaucoma at the Wills Eye Hospital and at USC.


Osamu Watanabe was born in Kagawa Prefecture in 1940. After graduating from the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Law in 1964, he joined the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), where he served several Directorship posts, including the Executive Director of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in New York from 1978 to 1980. Mr. Watanabe also served as executive Assistant to the Prime Minister (Mr. Noboru Takeshita) from 1987 to 1989. He was also Director-General of International Trade Administration Bureau, and Machinery and Information Bureau, Industrial Policy Bureau, before becoming Administrative Vice-Minister in 1997.

Mr. Watanabe retired from the ministry in 1999, and became Chairman and CEO of JETRO in 2002. He worked to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world until 2007 and contributed to the establishment of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

In 2007, he joined the JAPEX as Executive Vice President and was named President CEO in 2008, Chairman in 2016. Since 2016, he has served as Chairman of the Japan Petroleum Development Association.

Mr. Watanabe also served on Prime Minister Koizumi’s “Task Force on Foreign Relations” in 2001-2006, and Prime Minister Fukuda’s “Foreign Policy Study Group” in 2007-2008.


Duncan Ryūken Williams was born in Tokyo, Japan to a Japanese mother and British father. After growing up in Japan and England until age 17, he moved to the U.S. to attend college (Reed College) and graduate school (Harvard University, where he received a Ph.D. in Religion).

Williams is currently the Interim Chair of USC’s School of Religion and the Director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. During his time as Chair of the School of Religion, the department launched a new Ph.D. program. He also started up the Ito Center, which has served as the hub for Japan Studies at USC (in 2014, the Center received the largest single donation to a Japan studies center in the U.S. as a naming gift). Previously, Williams held the Ito Distinguished Chair of Japanese Buddhism at UC Berkeley and served as the Director of Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies. He also served as the Executive Vice President of Japan House/LA, a public diplomacy initiative of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Williams is the author of The Other Side of Zen: A Social History of Sōtō Zen Buddhism in Tokugawa Japan (Princeton) and editor of 7 books including Issei Buddhism in the Americas (Illinois), American Buddhism (Routledge/Curzon), Hapa Japan (Ito Center/Kaya), and Buddhism and Ecology (Harvard). He has also translated four books from Japanese into English including Putting Buddhism to Work: A New Theory of Economics and Business Management (Kodansha). He is currently completing a monograph titled American Sutra: Buddhism and the World War II Japanese American Experience and writing a manifesto for Japan in the 21st-century titled Hybrid Japan (in Japanese).


Kenneth Yates is a Professor of Clinical Education in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. He is also Co-Director of the Center for Human Applied Reasoning and IOT (CHARIOT), a joint center of the Rossier School of Education and the Viterbi School of Engineering, created to integrate cutting-edge cognitive science and educational research with emerging Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to revolutionize personalized learning.

Yates’ research interests focus on the use of cognitive task analysis methods to capture the underlying knowledge and skills that experts use to perform complex tasks and solve difficult problems, and to design instruction to effectively teach this expertise to others. He is also interested in how information communication technologies can be used to deliver instruction more consistently and efficiently to a wider audience. He has published in The Handbook of Training and Improving Workplace Performance, The American Journal of Surgery, and Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science. Yates also teaches graduate level courses in learning theory, motivation research, and instructional design.

Yates has over 30 years of national and international experience in media and technology and has held executive positions at various electronic media companies. He has been a media and technology consultant on a number of USAID-sponsored international training and rule-of-law development projects in Indonesia, Afghanistan, and Azerbaijan. He has also conducted cognitive task analysis to design US government training programs for bilateral negotiations, leadership and counseling skills.

Yates received his BA from the University of Maryland, his MS in Instructional Technology and his EdD in Educational Psychology from the University of Southern California.


Yannis C. Yortsos was appointed dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering in 2005. He is the Chester F. Dolley Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and also holds the Zohrab A. Kaprielian Dean’s Chair in Engineering.

Yortsos is well known for his work on fluid flow, transport and reaction processes in porous and fractured media, with applications to the recovery of subsurface fluids and soil remediation. He has been actively involved in the peer review of the Yucca Mountain Project for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste.

Yortsos joined the USC faculty in 1978 and chaired the department of chemical engineering from 1991 to 1997. He has been part of the senior leadership team at USC Viterbi since July 1, 2001.

An invited scholar at several institutions in the United States and abroad, Yortsos has received many honors for research, teaching and service. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, has served as Chair of Section 11 and currently serves on its Board of Councilors. He is an associate member of the Academy of Athens and received in 2014 the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Yortsos also served on the executive committee of the Engineering Deans Council, and of the Global Engineering Deans Council.

Yortsos received his B.Sc. from the National Technical University, Athens, Greece, and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology, all in chemical engineering.


NOTE: Additional speakers will be added as they are confirmed.