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


The Roger S. Aaron '64 Lecture by Rebecca E. Zietlow

Professor of Law and Values at the University of Toledo College of Law, Rebecca Zietlow, spoke at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center during the fall term, delivering the Roger S. Aaron ’64 Lecture. She invoked values and constitutional inspiration, discussing the antislavery movement, reconstruction and individual rights.

Looking back on her career, she said her interest began after she started looking into cases on Congress’s power to enforce the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, issues of freedom, sovereign immunity, equality and citizenship rights.

“I’m really writing about Congress and about politics,” Zietlow said. “The court – especially these days – seems more and more political. It always has been somewhat political, but the politics of the court are behind closed doors, in the confirmation process, in conference. It is coded in the ways they use doctrine. But when it happens on the streets, everyone is very open about it and people are debating some of the most fundamental values of our society.”

PBPL 85 Tours the Casa de Nariño

Our third day in Colombia was filled with informative meetings and exciting events. The morning started off leisurely as our first meeting was not until noon. Students used this time to explore the surrounding area and to catch up on some much-needed sleep. Early on the sun broke through the clouds and dispelled the fog that can settle on Bogotá and the surrounding hillsides. This mild weather was a treat after a large rainstorm the previous day.


PBPL 85 Meets with International Red Cross Officials

Wednesday in Colombia was incredibly busy, filled with protesting students, gold, and Nutella-strawberry pizza.


To start, the group traveled to the headquarters of the International Committee for the Red Cross.  We met with Christoph Harnisch, head of the Colombia delegation to the International Commission of the Red Cross.  He provided great insight on Red Cross operations in Colombia, issues of trust among the FARC, the state, and international actors, and what NGOs can do to aid the peace process.


PBPL 85 Travels to Bogota, Colombia

The Public Policy 85 group landed in Bogota around 6am this Tuesday. Not a group to be tired out easily, we went straight to the hotel spa to change into outfits more appropriate for the three meetings we had lined up in the afternoon. After a quick shower, we all enjoyed a delicious breakfast of hot coffee, omelets, and fresh fruit in the hotel courtyard. Breakfast left just enough time for a walk to the Plaza de Bolivar, a square surrounded by the Cathedral of Bogota, Lievano Palace, and the Palace of Justice.


But by 11:30am we were on our way to our first meeting with Angelika Rettberg Biel at the Universidad de los Andes. Professor Rettberg Biel has founded the Research Program on Armed Conflict and Peacebuilding and leads the Peacebuilding master’s program. She also served as a member of the Colombian government’s teach during negotiations with the ELN. We discussed the growing support for the rule of law in Colombia, newly formed police units dedicated to ensuring the safety of former guerillas as they demobilize, and the role of the Mexican cartel in the Colombian drug trade.


18F Management and Leadership with Excellence

Photo Caption: Front row: Olivia Harvey ’19, Mikeala O’Brien ’21; Back row: Will Synnott ’21, Jessica McDermott ’21, Julia Snodgrass ’21, Yazmin Ochoa Flores ’21, Gabriella Horton ’20, Will French ’21; Missing from photo: Lauren Sapone ’20, Zoe Schwartzman ’21, Cindy Shen ’21, Rylee Stone ’21


Each term the Management and Leadership Development Program provides students with the opportunity to reflect on their leadership experience and build the skills to be more effective leaders. At the close of the program, participants are asked to nominate their peers for excellence. When nominating, students are asked to explain why their nominees made their experience in MLDP more beneficial and how their nominees provided an excellent example of leadership during the program. At the end of the term, students must have perfect attendance and be nominated multiple times, by multiple peers to complete the program with excellence. Below are the collaborated comments about those who completed the Management and Leadership Development Program with excellence in Fall 2018.


Experiential Learning: PBPL 85 Global Policy Leadership

Global citizenship and engagement are key. Understanding one’s place in the world and the complexities of international policy dilemmas truly allow for one to become a global citizen—an identity especially important in our modern world. Public Policy 85: Global Policy Leadership (PBPL 85) with Professor Charles Wheelan ’88 offers students a unique experimental learning opportunity that allows them to deconstruct cross-cultural barriers and become well versed in the intricacies of global policy through a combination of classroom instruction and international travel.

The course begins in the classroom during the fall term, when a select group of students study the history and context of a public policy challenge in a particular country or region. Students are introduced to the process of assessing problems and developing solutions to the challenge, practices important to cultivating civically engaged, global leaders.

Shasti Conrad on Activism and Institutional Change

Shasti Conrad is a dynamic force, working to empower diverse and inclusive voices so that all people can be part of bettering our world. An inspiring speaker and activist in her own right, she also has an impressive background of working with three Nobel Peace Prize winners, President Barack, Malala Yousafzai, and Kailash Satyarthi. She now works as the U.S. campaign manager for the 100 Million Campaign, a youth mobilization effort to end child labor and trafficking.


She led the Fellows in a session entitled “Activism and Institutional Change.” She kicked off the session by sharing her philosophy on creating positive change that centers around “people-powered policymaking.” She encouraged the Fellows to emulate leaders engaged in problem-solving from an inclusive lens and to break down barriers so that others can get through them. She challenged the Fellows to not just recreate the same structures of power and inequality but to disrupt them. Shasti told us that Malala taught her, “your life is a gift –an opportunity to change the world for the better each day,” and that sentiment can motivate each of us to do good in the world.


A Lively Conversation with Endgame CEO Nate Fick ’99

The Rockefeller Center hosted a conversation with Nate Fick, the CEO of top computer software security firm, Endgame, operating partner of Bessemer Venture Partners, a Dartmouth ’99, and a member of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees. While at Dartmouth, Mr. Fick majored in Classics. He then went on to join the U.S. Marines, where he rose to become a member of the elite Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance team. After earning an MPA and MBA at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School, Mr. Fick was tapped by Michele Flournoy to run the Center for a New American Security before joining Endgame.

During the event, students heard Mr. Fick’s advice on leadership and navigating a successful career. He shared his key takeaways from the three main phases of his career: the military world, the non-profit world, and the for-profit or corporate world.

Character in Politics with Ramesh Ponnuru, Visiting Fellow, AEI

On Wednesday, October 3rd, Ramesh Ponnuru, a senior editor at the National Review and visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, reflected on the influence of character in politics to a packed audience at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy.

“I’m going to remember to turn off my phone in case the President texts me again,” he mused before launching into speech on the importance of a politician’s integrity, as well as their character flaws. “To what extent does the character of a public servant matter?” he asked the audience.

Mr. Ponnuru reflected that he has watched the two parties flip their position on politicians’ character. Over the past few years, conservatives have seemed to find a new sense of realism when assessing public servants. While on the left, “there is a new and real sensitivity to character flaws” notably since the #MeToo movement.

A Conversation with Sheila Bair and Peter Fisher

On October 9th, the Rockefeller Center hosted a conversation between Sheila Bair — former chair of the United States Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) — and Peter Fisher – Tuck School of Business professor and former Under Secretary of the United States Treasury for Domestic Finance. Ms. Bair’s tenure as chair of the FDIC overlapped with the Great Recession of 2008. Her conversation with Professor Fisher touched on indicators of economic growth and decline, structural economic changes that may have set the stage for the 2008 meltdown, and mistakes made in the aftermath.

In an interview prior to the event, Ms. Bair described her career trajectory and shared advice for students. As an undergraduate, Ms. Bair majored in philosophy, and upon graduation, she worked as a bank teller. She went on to law school, a teaching fellowship at the University of Arkansas, and then the General Counsel’s office at the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).


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