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“Dean Peter Cowhey Reappointed to Five-Year Term”

July 31, 2013, IR/PS News


Dean Peter Cowhey

Eleven years after his appointment in 2002 as Dean of the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS), Peter Cowhey has been reappointed for a third term. During his tenure he has provided outstanding leadership to the campus and has continued to lead IR/PS on an exciting upward trajectory.

His dedication to the University of California (UC) spans almost 40 years. Having received both an M.A. and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, Cowhey was recruited in 1976 to UC San Diego's Political Science department. As Founding Dean Peter Gourevitch worked to establish IR/PS in the mid-’80s, he turned to his talented colleagues to launch the School, and Cowhey was among the first appointed in 1987.

"At the beginning, Peter was a great hire as a faculty member in starting us off,” Gourevitch said. “As Dean, has done a fantastic job developing the School — moving it toward new issue areas, and growing personnel, programs and students. He has been the right person, at the right time to take us to the future."

Those fortunate to have been enrolled in his spring 2013 cyber security class can attest to his long-standing dedication to teaching and scholarship. An expert in U.S. foreign policy and technology policy, Cowhey was recognized in 2003 with the Qualcomm Chair in Communications and Technology Policy. 

Beyond the classroom, Cowhey also served as Director of the UC's system-wide Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (1999-2006) and UC San Diego's Associate Vice Chancellor-International Affairs (2007-2009). 

Dean Peter Cowhey (right) with UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla (left) at the June 2013 IR/PS commencement ceremony

Dean Cowhey's commitment to public service is steadfast. On leave from the university, he served in the Clinton Administration as Senior Advisor to Chairman Reed Hundt and then as Chief of the International Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the ’90s. As part of the U.S. effort to restructure the global communications system to facilitate the Internet, he negotiated many of the U.S. international agreements for telecommunications and satellite services and is responsible for important antitrust decisions. At the same time, he launched high-level study groups on competition policy and telecommunications at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

"Peter recruited me to work for him at FCC’s International Bureau where he played a key strategic role in defining the U.S. agenda for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) Telecommunications Working Group,” IR/PS alumna (MPIA ’90) Emily Murase, Ph.D. said. “It was so exciting to have the chance to apply my IR/PS academic training to multilateral policy issues."

In 2009, Cowhey again answered the call and served a one-year assignment as Senior Counselor to Ambassador Ron Kirk in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) under President Barack Obama. His responsibilities included the strategic agenda for trade policy while supervising the work of USTR offices for the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, Market Access and Competitiveness, Intellectual Property, and Services and Investment.

Active in the policy community, Dean Cowhey serves on the bi-national experts group appointed by the U.S. and Chinese governments on innovation policy. As Chairman of the CONNECT Innovation Institute, he co-leads a project on American innovation policies. He is also the Vice Chair of the California Council on Science and Technology, Vice Chair of the board of directors of the Grameen Foundation USA, and a member of local boards such as the Institute of the Americas, San Diego World Trade Center and the Bishop's School.

What's next? Like all great visionaries, Dean Cowhey continues to work with the IR/PS community to strengthen the quality and visibility of the School through expansion of the research and teaching mission, curricular improvement and international outreach—even carving out time to work on his next book on innovation policy and global digital markets.