Mike Klowden

Published January 24, 2021.

From the CEO

Some of you will be reading this before January 20, some afterward, as one presidential administration ends and a new one begins. Yet with the latest presidential election cycle behind us, there's no denying we live in a deeply – and almost evenly – divided country. In decades of civic engagement and political observation, I have never seen the rifts so deep or so wide.

I believe strongly that, in times like this, the dedication of the Milken Institute to nonpartisanship is more critical than ever. This commitment is very much part of our DNA. It is anchored in our belief that solutions to virtually all societal problems are best fostered when those with diverse viewpoints search for common ground. President Lyndon Johnson liked to quote Isaiah when he cajoled legislators to set aside differences, challenging them to "come now, let us reason together." Reasoning together is one of the hallmarks of the Milken Institute.

As an example of our engagement across the political spectrum, the outgoing Trump administration’s Council of Economic Advisors had a Milken Institute fellow on board and the incoming Biden administration’s CEA will have another. At each Milken Institute Global Conference, as well as at our other major events, we ensure that a variety of viewpoints are presented. And we find that the more robust the discussion, the more likely that points of view will be exchanged – and sometimes changed.

We know that to deal with the pressing problems before us, we must find ways to listen to each other and ways to compromise. And so we take the current climate as a challenge to help in the search for accord on action in a number of areas where progress is urgently needed and agreement is possible. Two of our several priorities here, reflecting the Institute’s focus: increasing opportunity (and access to capital) for segments of the population who gotten the short end of the stick, and helping to drive medical innovation.

Another part of the Milken Institute’s DNA is our irrepressible optimism. For 2021 and beyond, we look forward to continuing to serve as a nonpartisan convener of people and ideas, and are highly confident that this will contribute to tangible progress – perhaps even chipping away at the walls that divide so many.

Happy New Year.

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Michael Klowden, CEO