Hudnut hosts international G20 summit

By Cathi Choi

President Thomas C. Hudnut played host to an international group of educational leaders in the five-day G20 conference that ends today. G20 is a highly selective group of independent secondary schools, formed by Anthony Seldon, headmaster of Wellington College in England, in 2006.

They spent Sunday at the Upper School, starting with a morning chapel service, and then attended sessions in the Feldman Horn lecture hall. Speakers like the recently elected Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel made presentations to the group. 

The group also spent two half-days at the middle school campus, but spent several afternoons off campus, said Ann-Marie Whitman, Executive Assistant to the President.

Hudnut has attended two previous conferences in South Africa and Jordan. Schools in Australia, Switzerland, Canada, England and South Africa will be represented alongside two local schools, Crossroads and Polytechnic.

And for the first time in G20, China will also be represented by Liu Pengzhi, the principal of the High School Affiliated with Renmin University.

She will be the first non-English speaking leader to attend.

“She has spread the name and fame of her school all over the world. I visited her campus in Beijing a couple of summers ago,” Hudnut said. “Even though this was founded as a group of English-speaking school heads, and she is not English-speaking, we thought including her would be a wonderful addition.”

The group met everyday in round table discussions, focusing on both leadership and the international financial crisis, Hudnut said. 

They also spent an afternoon at the Trust Company of the West, hearing from its Chief Executive Officer and Chief International Expert on how the crisis began in the United States and has spread through the rest of the world, Hudnut said. Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher and speakers from Claremont Graduate University came to speak to the group about education leadership and corporate leadership.

He and Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts both sat in on these sessions, which are mainly informal and fluid.

The members usually attend sessions all day and finish off with a dinner all together, Hudnut said.

The conference ended with a tour of the Warner Brothers lot and a speech about the realities of the film industry given by Alan Horn, (Cassidy ’08, Cody ’06) Harvard-Westlake Board member and president of Warner Brothers. At every conference, Hudnut said, the hosts try to give the attendees a taste of the local culture. 

“It’s silly for people to come from all the way around the world and just see the inside of school rooms,” Hudnut said.