Academy for Social Purpose in Responsible Entertainment


Peter Samuelson, MA, President


Dr. D. Andy Rice, PhD, ASPIRE Fellow at UCLA


The Academy for Social Purpose in Responsible Entertainment (ASPIRE) partners with universities, community organizations, scholars, and activists to advocate for sustainability and social justice through media-focused teaching and research.  ASPIRE teaches digital media production to undergraduates of all majors to enhance their lifelong capacities to undertake social issue advocacy.

Peter Samuelson, CEO of Aspire

Peter Samuelson has thirty years experience at the intersection of media and social change and has been described as a serial pro-social entrepreneur. Peter is a graduate of Cambridge University with a Masters in English Literature and the fourth of five family generations employed in the film industry. A member of the initial board of Participant Media, Jeff Skoll's pro-social media company, Samuelson has produced and executive produced 25 motion pictures including Wilde, Arlington Road, Revenge of the Nerds, and Tom & Viv, as well as television and interactive media.

In 1983, Samuelson co-founded the Starlight Children's Foundation, a leading multi-national charity now serving 6 million seriously ill children and their families each year. In 1995, Samuelson and Steven Spielberg co-founded Starbright World, the first fully interactive multi-media, online social network, a virtual playground for ill children that still operates internationally, 24 hours a day. In 1999 Peter co-founded, a national advocacy non-profit representing abused and neglected children and, in 2006, he launched, a non-profit that provides single-user portable housing to our nation's urban homeless.

Peter has lectured extensively on philanthropic entrepreneurship and pro-social media. He served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of Panavision, Inc. and serves on the Committee that selects the winners of the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Mr. Samuelson is President of ASPIRE the Academy for Social Purpose in Responsible Entertainment, which teaches pro-social media to undergraduates across disciplines, piloted at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Peter's Ted Talk on becoming a "serial pro-social entrepreneur." In 1982, inspired by a little boy battling an inoperable brain tumor, Peter conceived of the Starlight Children's Foundation - an international charity dedicated to granting wishes for seriously ill children.