LOS ANGELES — Former California governor and one-time action star Arnold Schwarzenegger has embarked on a new career - as a policy analyst and senior statesman. Schwarzenegger convened the first forum Monday at his new institute at the University of Southern California.
The Los Angeles campus is the new stage for the Hollywood star, who brings his fame from movies like The Terminator and seven years’ experience as California’s governor, to an audience of students and visiting policy makers. They included other former governors and senators, and sitting Arizona Senator John McCain.
The new USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy will promote practical solutions to political problems, which Schwarzenegger calls post-partisanship.
“If we believe that you can only use the ideas of the right or the left, you will never be able to move forward. You will never go and be successful. We saw that in California and other states and we have seen post-partisanship work all over the world," said Schwarzenegger.
Schwarzenegger hosted dignitaries and students for the institute’s inaugural symposium. He holds the title of professor, an appointment that surprised student Steven Welliver.
“But I was excited to have the opportunity to learn from someone who is actually in the field doing prominent work," said Welliver.
Student Kevin Gully says Schwarzenegger has knowledge to share.
“If you've ever held a position like governor for the largest state by population and the largest economy in the United States, then you definitely have something to offer," said Gully.
Jack Knott, dean of the USC School of Public Policy, says Schwarzenegger crossed party lines when he was governor to meets goals on the environment and other thorny political issues.
“He was able to bridge that partisan divide. He is also obviously a very powerful name who can bring people together. He's a tremendous convener, and he's an inspirational leader for our students," said Knott.
Schwarzenegger and his wife of 25 years, Maria Shriver, last year announced they were divorcing after the former governor admitted he was unfaithful.
But he is reviving his film career, with The Expendables 2 and other upcoming films and the former "Terminator" has found a home on the California campus.