As a recent alum, Pedro Spivakovsky-Gonzalez ’10 has already made differences around the world. Not surprising for this recipient of The Leadership Award and 2010 University Medal finalist.
Born in Boston, Pedro is the son of a Spanish Catholic from Galicia and a Russian Jew from Moscow. As the grandson of political refugees from a communist country and survivors of a fascist regime, dinner-table conversations engaged him in debates about power, free will, and ethics. Pedro credits that for his drive to make a difference in the world, “I became passionate about good governance. My upbringing taught me this world is too imbalanced for anyone to remain detached from the less fortunate. I began to view my good fortune as a call to service.”
Pedro was active in public service, academics, and sports prior to attending Cal. “In high school, I participated in many clubs and community service initiatives, but I was still unsure of my role in this world.” At Cal he began to explore his leadership capabilities. “I decided to attend Cal because I understood it was the only place that was large and diverse enough to allow me to reach my fullest potential,” adds Pedro.
The Leadership Award was Pedro’s first official recognition as a student leader. “The Leadership Award introduced me to new opportunities, new role models, and the support to start new initiatives and projects.” Pedro immersed himself in service projects while at Cal. He traveled twice to South America to help implement a student-led water and sanitation project in the Ecuadorian Amazon; he was a commissioner on labor for the City of Berkeley; worked for the U.S. Department of State and the American Enterprise Institute; and he participated in the UC Berkeley Washington Program. He is most proud of his leadership role with the UC Berkeley Model United Nations, “I am proud of the changes I was able to make during my term as president, and most importantly because of the personal challenges I had to overcome in the process.”
During his senior year, Pedro was named one of the five finalists for the 2010 University Medal and was awarded the John Gardner Public Service Fellowship. Today, he is a John Gardner Fellow at the White House Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President of the United States. Pedro is grateful to have access to this unique opportunity. He ascribes The Leadership Award for helping him get to where he is today. “The Leadership Award is not only financial but also emotional support for our future leaders. It is faith in people and their ability to do great things.”