Park City family’s foundation creates institute to understand terrorism
July 25, 2016
In response to the growth of global violent conflicts and the consequent need to get to the "roots" of international terrorism, Park City residents Thomas L. Pearson and Timothy R. Pearson, through The Thomas L. Pearson and The Pearson Family Members Foundation, have provided a $100 million gift to the University of Chicago.
The landmark gift, equal in size to the second-largest gift in the University's history, creates The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts and The Pearson Global Forum at the Harris School of Public Policy.
The newly-created entities will act as catalysts to promote research practices and share insights that will inform public policy. It is also the first research institute and annual global forum of their kind devoted solely to the study and resolution of global conflicts, according Park City resident Thomas L. Pearson, who is Chairman of the family foundation.
"It is our belief that non-state conflicts, from drug cartels to insurgent organizations such as ISIS, increasingly constitute the foreign policy challenge of our time," Tom said.
This month, The Pearson Institute is launching its programs and activities. James A. Robinson, a world-renown expert in the field of global conflicts and political and economic development has been appointed faculty director; two new distinguished faculty, authorities in violence and economics have received inaugural named professorships at The Pearson Institute.
"As we embark on this journey to seek a world more at peace, we'd like to issue a 'call to action' to the Park City community – and especially benefactors and corporations here and across Summit County – to join us in this vital endeavor," Tom said.
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"It's very important to realize that violent conflicts can happen anywhere and anytime – including Park City as a high-profile tourism destination – seriously threatening our way of life. Simply look at how the deadly Bastille Day truck attack in Nice, France mirrored the terrorist-inspired massacres in Paris, San Bernardino and Orlando," Tom added.
He also thinks the presidential political campaigns have bypassed policy, international terrorism and the particular horrors of homegrown terrorism: "International terrorism is unquestionably a vital issue that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton still need to address," Tom said.
He suggested that voters in the Park City community urge the presumptive nominees to step forward now and explain how America's foreign policy can benefit from a clearer understanding of international terrorism.
"It is time for the presumptive presidential nominees to open a serious dialogue on foreign policy and national security – which has been conspicuously absent from the issues driving debate," Tom said.
Timothy R. Pearson, Tom's brother and President and CEO of The Thomas L. Pearson and The Pearson Family Members Foundation noted, "If we save one life through these wide-ranging and groundbreaking conflict resolution efforts, we will have made a difference. If we save millions of people's lives, we will have made a real and lasting contribution to mankind."