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


PBPL 85 Visits the Supreme Court of Liberia

With election tensions running high, Public Policy 85 students attended what is most likely one of the most important Supreme Court cases in Liberian history. One of the candidates in the October 10th election challenged the results, and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. The run-off election cannot go forward until this issue is resolved.

At 9 am, we arrived to hear cases argued by the Liberian National Elections Commission and the Liberty and Unity parties, two of the 20 parties that ran in the first round. We secured seats in upper gallery (very hot) and sat through the whole hearing (very long). The nation is hoping to make the first peaceful democratic transition of power since 1943. The Supreme Court has 7 days to announce its decision, so we will be here for that. 

Later that night, students dined with Patrice Juah, a former Miss Liberia and a past visitor to Hanover as part of the Young African Leaders Initiative. Patrice invited several local friends and we were able to have informal discussions on Liberian culture. 

"LIB is the place to be." 

PBPL 85 Visits the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia

After 22 hours in the air, 5 airplane meals, and 3+ flights, we have made it to Liberia! 

We got to our hotel at 1 am on Thursday morning and after a short nap we left for our first meeting with Stephen Kissik, a Senior Police Leadership Advisor. He is an American that has been contracted to train and advise the Liberian National Police. Kissik discussed the lack of 'functional corruption,' or a type of corruption that results in increased economic productivity. In an ideal world there would be no bribery, but since there is corruption, Kissik argued you want it to result in a positive economic outcome. In Liberia, you may be able to pay someone to get a specific permit, only to be fined by another organization for not having their similar version of that permit. This makes it very difficult to start and run a business in the country. 

After lunch, we went the US Embassy in Monrovia to talk to Ambassador Christine Elder and her staff. We talked about very interesting stuff, but it was all off the record so... 

Fall 2017 MLDP Students Reflect on Leading Through Change at the Hanover Coop

Management Leadership Development Program (MLDP) offers students the unique opportunity to reflect on their definition of a leader and build essential skills to be a more effective leader. An integral part of this program is the off-campus visit. Through this visit, students meet with leaders within the Upper Valley community and learn about other aspects of leadership.

In September, MLDP Fall 2017 students visited the Hanover Coop to see leadership in action. After touring the site and exploring the various components of successfully running a grocery chain, students sat down to talk with Jacob Vincent, Director of Merchandising, as well as other managers within the organization. Vincent discussed his path that led him to the role as a Director for the Hanover Coop, remarking that he did not expect to be working at the Coop. However, he truly enjoys coming in each day to work with such a dedicated team.

Class of 1930 Fellow Amb. Jane Hartley on "The French-American Relationship"

As part of the Class of 1930 Lecture series, the Rockefeller Center hosted Ambassador Jane Hartley, who shared her knowledge on the French-American bilateral relationship and her experience as U.S. Ambassador to the French Republic and the Principality of Monaco between 2014 and 2017.

Although she had previously served in the Carter administration and on the Business Roundtable, in fall 2013, Amb. Hartley was running an international consulting firm and had no political ambitions, which made the call from the White House offering the ambassadorship all the more shocking. She described the whirlwind of affairs between her acceptance of the position and her first steps on French soil in the capacity of ambassador, particularly describing the intensity of the vetting process and divestment procedures as well as the overwhelming media reception she received upon landing in France. The most difficult adjustment she had to make though was getting used to constant security escort after a lifetime of living in New York and taking taxis at will.

“Leading Creative Collaboration” with Professor Peter Robbie

Professor Peter Robbie, an Associate Professor at Thayer, industrial designer, and design consultant, has been teaching design thinking at Dartmouth for almost 30 years. He encourages students to tackle complex problems in the world using an empathetic, human-centered approach. He believes that to solve these problems, we need interdisciplinary leaders who are innovative thinkers.

He led the Fellows in a session entitled, “Leading Creative Collaboration.” He began by defining “innovation,” which has now become a buzz word in the creative world, as the intentional implementation of the novel and useful. 

"Effective Delegation: Who Wants the Dollar Bill?" with Alison Fragale '97

“Who wants it?” asked Alison Fragale ’97, as she held up a crisp dollar bill. For a split second, Washington looked out to silent room of Fellows. Then, Matthew Sindelar ’18 sprung from his seat and dived for the dollar bill.

But before he took the bill, Sindelar hesitated and asked, “can I really have it?”

Fragale emphatically nodded, and Sindelar returned to his seat with a grin and one dollar richer.

Fragale then prompted the room, asking why no one else made an effort for the dollar bill. Charlie Blatt ’18, sitting at the far side of the room, noted that there was virtually no possibility that she would reach Fragale before a student sitting at the front of the room. Another student added that it was only a dollar, not a stack of Benjamins. In essence, it wasn’t that the students were lazy or apathetic. As rational actors, students logically saw that minimal reward compounded with low probability for success and the social tackiness of grand public gestures for money made the dollar not worth the effort.

Board of Visitors Biannual Meeting

The Rockefeller Center Board of Visitors (BoV) convened in October for their two-day biannual meeting. The BoV is comprised of Dartmouth College alumni who serve as advisors to the Director of the Center. Drawing from a wide range of backgrounds, the members represent academia, business, law and non-profit organizations. This fall the Board welcomed two new members Mike Pyle ’00 and Ariel Stern ’05 and Tim Harrison ’78 as the new Chair.

The Board uses its time while back on campus to meet with faculty, staff, and students who collaborate with the Center and participate in courses and programming.  

The Brooks Family Lecture: “Ten Years after the Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences”

As part of the Brooks Family Lecture series, Aaron Klein ’98 gave a lecture entitled “Ten Years after the Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences”.

Aaron Klein elucidated the consequences and causes of the 2007-2008 financial crisis by detailing how the “perfect storm” of factors combined led to the financial crisis. In particular, he focused on the convergence of the housing bubble and the proliferation of new financial instruments that decoupled loan repayment from profitability origination. He then transitioned into an overview of how repeated warnings about predatory lending practices and subprime mortgages went unheeded. Klein contended that Glass-Steagall would not have prevented the financial crisis because most of the subprime mortgage players—Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, among others—would not have been impacted, and also argued that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were not responsible for the crisis because they did not originate any mortgages.

How Leaders Use Storytelling and Exemplify Integrity

This week, I had the privilege of introducing Sadhana Hall, the Deputy Director of the Rockefeller Center, at our Rocky Leadership Fellows session. During my introduction, I told my peers that not only is Sadhana very accomplished, but she is also one of the most open and genuine people I’ve encountered during my life. Sadhana welcomes people into the deepest parts of her own life so willingly that it’s easy to feel connected and cared for and to want to share everything on your mind, as well.

The Importance of Understanding Your Own Leadership Strengths

On September 14th, Jay Davis ’90, the coordinator for the First Year Student Enrichment Program and the King Scholars Program, shared valuable words of wisdom with respect to the flexibility and thoughtful reflection necessary to create cohesive group environments with the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows. Davis spoke from a number of previous experiences working within a range of group and leadership setting, and engaging students in an interactive discussion on how our own leadership styles and tendencies affect how we are able to work with one another to achieve goals we collectively establish.

He began the session by having each student share with the group a characteristic they find essential to exemplary leadership. Students provided a range of attributes, from humility to constructive communication. He, then, had us consider a time we found another person’s leadership challenging, alluding to the idea that conflicting leadership styles can impede group cohesion and effectiveness.


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