New Gift Expands Student Engagement

The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the USC Center on Public Diplomacy (CPD) are pleased to announce the launch of the CPD Student Travel Fund, thanks to a generous gift from an Annenberg parent.

The Fund will support opportunities for USC students to travel abroad with CPD and participate in real-world public diplomacy outside the classroom, equipping them with valuable professional experience and a holistic international perspective. The Fund will prioritize opportunities in Japan, a global leader in public diplomacy and soft power.

“International, hands-on experience is a critical part of training effective public diplomats,” said Jay Wang, CPD director and interim co-director of the Master of Public Diplomacy (MPD) program at the Annenberg School. “I’m grateful for the myriad opportunities this fund will provide to our outstanding students at the Center and beyond.”

Beyond-the-classroom learning has long been a hallmark of public diplomacy at the Annenberg School. Student Fellows at CPD attend academic conferences and professional trainings, assist with research projects that further our understanding of the field and more. These opportunities often have a profound impact on students as they prepare for careers in global affairs, international communications and public diplomacy.

In the spring of 2019, CPD Student Fellow Nikki Burnet (MPD ’20) had the opportunity to travel to Brussels, Belgium for a conference on digital diplomacy. Of that experience she says, “Not only did I learn a lot about digital diplomacy, but I had the opportunity to work with multimedia production for the first time. Coming back from Brussels, I was able to reflect on what I learned and how to package that content in different ways for a digital audience. This was a really important point in my career in thinking about what I would like to do with a public diplomacy degree.”

The CPD Student Travel Fund will allow us to more than double the number of students who benefit from these unique travel experiences, engaging directly with public diplomacy practitioners and international leaders and developing digital and written content to be published on CPD’s blog and digital platforms.

“This gift marks a turning point in the Center’s efforts to train the next generation of public diplomats, providing critical resources at a time when public diplomacy is more important than ever,” said Wang.

We invite you to stay tuned for more CPD student stories with you throughout the year.

For more information on how you can support beyond-the-classroom learning at CPD, please contact Jesse Pittman, Sr. Manager for Development & Partnerships at or (213) 821-0768.



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