Institute of Politics

Elected Officials Retreat

The Elected Officials Retreat, held annually for more than 20 years and cosponsored by the Office of the Chancellor, provides special opportunities for both substantive discussion and personal interaction. The goal of the retreat is to encourage dialogue on critical regional issues and open the lines of communication among elected officials from different levels of government and other community leaders.

This year's Retreat will be held at the University Club in Oakland, it will address two issues with bipartisan interest – the advancement of technology and its impact on employment, and the role of civility in politics, the media, and public discourse. 

Work is central to the American way of life. Yet, in recent decades, the changing landscape of work has left a generation of people behind, with profound and lasting impacts on the nation’s culture and political environment. Looking ahead, the rapid advancement of disruptive technology may only exacerbate the problem, at least in the short term. Our program will carefully examine these anticipated changes and how they might impact work in our nation, state, and region. We will be led in this discussion by Sree Ramaswamy, a partner at McKinsey Global Institute, which earlier this year released a landmark report “Making It in America: Revitalizing US Manufacturing.” 

Additionally, the United States has historically strived to uphold democratic principles, showing respect and honor for the rule of law and the role of civil discourse in American politics. However, in recent years, productive policy discussions have increasingly broken down, as individuals with differing political views have often seemed to be speaking across an ever-widening gulf. To examine this issue in greater depth, we will look at the impact of various trends in our democracy including increasing polarization, the rise of populism, and the dimishing role of facts and analysis in American public life. Speakers for this section include:

  • Lilliana Mason, Assistant Professor, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland,
  • Salena Zito, author, The Great Revolt:Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics, and report, New York Post and Washington Examiner,
  • Jennifer Kavanagh, Associate Director, Strategy, Doctrine, and Resource Program, RAND Arroyo CEnter; Political Scientisit; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School, and;
  • Micahel D. Rich, President and Chief Executive Officer, RAND Corporation

To address these issues this year's Retreat will including speakers that address potential solutions to these issues through the strengthening of civics education and the fostering of bipartisan coalitions in Washington, DC and state legislators. Presenting on these solutions are Seth Andrew, Founder, Democracy Prep Public Schools and Nancy Jacobson, Founder and CEO, No Labels.

As in recent years, the event’s discussion may serve as a launching point for next steps for the Institute on the issues brought forward over the course of the two-day program.

While there is no cost to attend, advance registration is required and only invitees are eligible to attend.

Please direct all questions to Briana Mihok at 412-624-7792 or

For more information on this year's retreat, please visit the following pages: