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


Thanh Nguyen becomes Rockefeller’s First Design and Entrepreneurship Officer

At the Rockefeller Center, we educate, train, and inspire the next generation of public policy leaders, and I am thrilled to take on a role that combines social entrepreneurship and human-centered design to further develop our offerings at the Center.

These two promising approaches of social entrepreneurship and human-centered design correspond to our two primary domains of public policy and leadership in exciting ways. Not only do social entrepreneurs embody leadership, these changemakers oftentimes generate the beginnings of innovative and cost-effective public policy solutions to some of our most pressing challenges in our society (or, as Rittel & Webber put it, our “wicked problems”). Similarly, at the core of human-centered design is empathy, and this approach puts the focus of developing products or services on solving real problems for real people.

The Rockefeller Center Launches New Social Entrepreneurship Course!

The Rockefeller Center is launching a new course starting this summer!

Listed as Public Policy 43, the course will provide an introduction to the theory and practice of social entrepreneurship, defined generally as the process of finding innovative, sustainable solutions to social problems and, more specifically for this course, social problems that are a cause or consequence of poverty. 

PBPL 43 has three objectives:

MLDP Recap: Escaping the Dark Side of the Moon!

Read a student's account of our most recent session in our Management Leadership and Development program below. For more information about MLDP, click here.

The seventh session of MLDP this term featured a lecture from Professor John Garvey the Director of the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. Prior to the session, we were assigned a reading—an excerpt from Getting Past NO! by William Ury. Professor Garvey supplied us with handouts over the course of the session on which we took notes. One was a sheet that stated "The Six Stages of Negotiation," which outlined all the steps of effective negotiation that Prof. Garvey talked about. I thought this was one of the most beneficial and memorable parts of the session because it's something that we can always review after the session in order to reaffirm the lessons that we learned.

D-LAB Recap: Freshmen Balance Their Characters by Selecting Presidential Campaign Running Mates

This ongoing series shares the experiences of participants and facilitators in D-LAB (Dartmouth Leadership Attitudes and Behaviors), a student-facilitated program designed for first-year students to discover the relationship between leadership and personal values.

For Session Two of the Dartmouth Leadership Attitudes and Behavior Program (D-LAB), we expanded our conversation about leadership from knowing oneself to knowing others. Entitled "Know Your Friends," participants needed to submit real-life scenarios that would serve as the focal points to discussion. The essence of that main discussion, however, may be gleaned from responses to our opening question.

Introducing Sam Williamson, Rockefeller’s New Co-Curricular Programs Coordinator!

Sam used to compete as a collegiate skier.

Prior to joining the Rockefeller Center, Sam Williamson opted to become a school administrator at an innovative K-12 charter school in Ogden, Utah instead of pursuing a career in international diplomacy. In Ogden, he designed programs to boost core test scores and spearheaded education technology research and development, including designing cutting-edge networks for two new schools and securing a one-to-one ratio of computers to students through donations and grants. Sam also spent two years living in Santiago, Chile volunteering as a Spanish interpreter and designing programs for leadership development in the country’s poorest areas.

Born in Hanover and raised in Hartland, VT, Sam graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Studio Art. He enjoys ski racing, flying airplanes and creating and selling commissioned artwork.

Notes from the Field: Elizabeth Bertasi '15

Rockefeller Center-funded interns reflect on their experiences as part of our "Notes from the Field" series. Click here to read more about the Rockefeller Center's Internships program. To read the entire series, click here.

Student Intern: Elizabeth Bertasi ‘15

Internship Organization: U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Italy – Rome, Italy

How would you describe your employer in one paragraph? What’s the elevator pitch?  
I'm working at the U.S. Embassy in Rome. They are a part of the U.S. Department of State, in charge of managing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Italy on behalf of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government. The American Diplomats who work here meet with Italian government officials and other country leaders to promote American interests abroad. I am in the Economic Section, which encourages economic cooperation between the two countries. 

Recap: Professor Robin West Calls for a Public Re-conception of Civil Rights

"What is the nature of the rights, jurisdictionally, that the 1964 Civil Rights Act proscribes?" Robin West, the Frederick J. Haas Professor of Law and Philosophy at Georgetown University Law Center, asked at the start of her lecture. Throughout her presentation, West called for a re-conception of how people understand civil rights, and how to view civil rights as a way to argue not just for what the state is doing, but what the state should be doing.

West argued that, presently, we understand civil rights primarily on the basis of discrimination, which means we miss the underlying right. There must be a right to something beyond the right to not be the victim of discrimination. In regards to education, civil rights must affirm our right to an education and not stop at protecting us from discrimination.

West defined civil rights using the writings of 18th-century author and political activist Thomas Paine. Paine argued that civil rights are natural human rights owed to the people by the government based on the very nature of their membership in society. 

MLDP Recap: Maximizing the Tools at Your Disposal to Enhance Your Presentation

Read a student's account of our most recent session in our Management Leadership and Development program below. For more information about MLDP, click here

Apply by March 3rd for a Fellowship with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress!

Each year, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center works with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress in Washington, D.C. to enable one student from Dartmouth to participate in a unique fellowship program from the Dartmouth campus, as well as through attending two separate conferencesin Washington, D.C. Their goal is to develop a new generation of national leaders committed to public service.

The program offers 85 select undergraduates and graduate students from leading colleges and universities a unique opportunity to study the U.S Presidency, the public policymaking process, and our Chief Executive's relations with Congress, allies, the media, and the American public, through on-campus research and off-campus conference participation.

At these two conferences, the Fellows have the opportunity to discuss national issues with presidential scholars and White House Fellows, are briefed by senior government officials and nationally recognized policy experts, and prepare and present an original research paper. Fellows write this research paper over the course of the winter, working with a faculty member and an identified expert in the field.

MONDAY, Feb. 17: "Toward a Jurisprudence of the Civil Rights Act" with Georgetown Law Professor Robin West


Movements for civil rights have continued to affect changes throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. From LGBT rights to women’s rights to the rights of minorities, each movement has made better futures possible by empowering those historically pushed out by the legal systems that govern civil society. How have these movements been able to gain ground and work with the law to promote the rights of citizens?

In this lecture, Robin West will present a conception of civil rights as rights to participate in the legal regimes that structure civil society, rather than as anti-discrimination rights per se. By outlining the history of the idea of civil rights and the ways in which they have since been protected and advanced, West will explore a number of theories about what it is that makes them so intrinsically important – and thus legally significant.


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