Peter Cowhey is the UC San Diego Interim Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. He also holds the Qualcomm Endowed Chair in Communications and Technology Policy and dean of the School of Global Policy and Strategy.
He is a leading expert on the future of communications and information technology markets and policy, specializing in United States trade policy, foreign policy, the Internet, global biological threats, international corporate strategy and the microfinance industry to alleviate poverty.
Cowhey currently serves on a bi-national experts group appointed by the U.S. and Chinese governments to research and guide innovation policy. In 2009, he served a 12-month assignment as the senior counselor to Ambassador Ron Kirk in the Office of the United States Trade Representative, playing a key role in the strategic agenda for trade policy.
He was also a former chief of the International Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and negotiated many of the U.S. international agreements for telecommunications and satellite services. He had responsibility for antitrust decisions involving the communications and satellite industries.
As chair of the CONNECT Innovation Institute, he is co-leading a project on U.S. innovation policies. Cowhey is also vice chair of the California Council on Science and Technology. Cowhey is a member of the board of directors of the Grameen Foundation USA, the U.S. foundation supporting the work of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr. Muhammad Yunus. He is a research scholar at the California Institute on Telecommunications and Information Technology (CALIT2) and is a non-resident fellow of the Annenberg Center of Communications at USC.
Cowhey served as the chief policy officer for the Aspen Institute’s International Digital Economy Accords project to update policies involving the Internet and global communications markets, and published “Transforming Global Information and Communication Markets: The Political Economy of Innovation” in 2009 as well as “Digital DNA: Disruption and the Challenges for Global Governance” in 2017.
Cowhey is a member of the Global Competitiveness Council and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has served as chairman of the board of Digital Partners, a non-profit organization using social entrepreneurship to address the “digital divide.” In addition to having served on the advisory boards of the United Nations Development Program and the U.S. Agency for International Development, he has advised over fifty countries on reforming their communications markets.
Cowhey joined the UC San Diego faculty in 1976. He was director of the University of California’s system-wide IGCC from 1999-2006 and Associate Vice Chancellor-International Affairs from 2007-2009. Cowhey became dean of the School in July 2002.
Cowhey holds a B.A. in foreign services from Georgetown University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.