The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

PBPL 85: Global Policy Leadership Releases its Final Report

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The students of Public Policy 85 have delivered their PDF iconfinal report (PDF). This document endeavors to extrapolate lessons from Northern Ireland's “Troubles," a sectarian war between Irish Catholics and British Protestants, and to present policy recommendations on how to end conflict, construct peace accords, and build societal reconciliation. Professor Charlie Wheelan required that the recommendations, directed to a hypothetical group of senior government officials, be as specific and actionable as possible.  This memo, written collaboratively by the 12 students participating in the course, helped to synthesize the lessons learned from 10 weeks of study on campus and nearly three weeks of travel across Ireland. While the case of Northern Ireland is fairly unique, it yields valuable insights for those looking to solve other conflicts, especially those with a sectarian nature. 

PBPL 85 students pictured here with Professor Charlie Wheelan and Bertie Ahern, Ireland’s former Taoiseach (Prime Minister)
Students: David Brooks, Ester Cross, Ayesha Dholakia, Sasha Dudding, Zachary Markovich, Summer Modelfino, Noah Reichblum, Kevin Schorr, Heather Szilagyi, Fiona Weeks, David Wylie, and Nicholas Zehner
 

The unique design of Public Policy 85 challenges students to find actionable recommendations and get past superficial answers. The students first 'did their homework,' then went and talked to academics, politicians, members of civil society, and a number of everyday people directly and indirectly involved in the peace process. "I think one of the things that characterize the policy students is they do appreciate the complexity. Certainly I do," says Professor Wheelan. "It's a remedy for academic disciplines that are often too neat and tidy. Students who are attracted to public policy tend to like that messiness." Click here to read Dartmouth Now's article on the PBPL 85 trip to Ireland: http://now.dartmouth.edu/2015/01/students-encounter-northern-irelands-troubles-firsthand/

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