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

Andrew Samwick

"The Direct Line"- Spring 2006

Rockefeller Center Director Andrew Samwick provides commentary on a variety of issues in the Direct Line, which is published at the start of each term.

Leadership development is one of the most important elements of student programming at the Rockefeller Center. It informs our choices of speakers for public lectures as well as the design of programs for discussion, training, research, and education. This spring, the Center is pleased to celebrate entrepreneurship and add entrepreneurial leadership to that set of ideas to which students are exposed in their time at Dartmouth. An entrepreneur is someone who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk for a new venture. We expect that all of the students will in their time after college show entrepreneurial leadership, whether in the private, non-profit, or public sectors.

"The Direct Line"- Winter 2006

Rockefeller Center Director Andrew Samwick provides commentary on a variety of issues in the Direct Line, which is published at the start of each term.

Like many people safely removed from the events, I watched the images of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and wondered how every layer of government could appear to have failed so resoundingly in serving the residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Many answers to the question of “What went wrong?” have suggested that an important part of the explanation is, in fact, that we have a layered government—our federalist system in which sovereignty is shared among the national, state, and local levels. As of this writing, a Google search for “Katrina federalism” generates over 250,000 results.

"The Direct Line" - Fall 2005

Rockefeller Center Director Andrew Samwick provides commentary on a variety of issues in the Direct Line, which is published at the start of each term.

The Rockefeller Center provides opportunities for Dartmouth students to become educated citizens and engage in public policy. During the last year, the Center has extended these opportunities off campus with the advent of five-day Civic Skills Training sessions in Washington, DC, to prepare students to make greater contributions to their unpaid, off-campus internships. At Civic Skills Training, students learn practical skills such as communicating with supervisors, writing concisely, and networking. They also gain experience with media relations, fundraising, and public speaking. These sessions have succeeded with the financial support of the Surdna Foundation and Friends of the Rockefeller Center and with the help of many Dartmouth alumni in the Washington area. These invaluable sessions are now expected to be a permanent program of the Center.

"The Direct Line" - Spring Term 2005

Rockefeller Center Director Andrew Samwick provides commentary on a variety of issues in the Direct Line, which is published at the start of each term.

At Dartmouth, we often remark that our students are “the leaders of tomorrow.” We make this prediction in part because our students arrive as first-years with a broad range of talents, but we also like to think that their time at Dartmouth helps prepare them for leadership roles in their communities, our nation, and the world once they graduate. How does the Dartmouth experience contribute to the development of our students as leaders?

At the core of everything that Dartmouth does well is the liberal arts education. The ability to lead depends critically on a person's capacity to understand his or her environment, to assess the likely consequences of a menu of options, to choose the most promising of those options, and to work in a thoughtful and independent manner to implement that choice. Each of these capacities is cultivated by a liberal arts education.

"The Direct Line" - Winter Term 2005

Rockefeller Center Director Andrew Samwick provides commentary on a variety of issues in the Direct Line, which is published at the start of each term.


The election of 1952 was the last time that neither major party had an incumbent President or Vice-President at the top of the ticket. Looking forward to the2008 primary elections, it is very likely that we will find ourselves in that position again. Americans have an interest in making that primary system work—encouraging interesting people to run, allowing them to connect with the voters and constructively distinguish themselves from each other, and expecting them to stay in the race long enough to give everyone the opportunity to help choose their party's nominee. As a nation, we continue to be confronted by several institutional features of our elections that deserve further attention.

"The Direct Line" - Fall Term 2004

Rockefeller Center Director Andrew Samwick provides commentary on a variety of issues in the Direct Line, which is published at the start of each term.


Dartmouth enjoys a special view of presidential politics. Last year at this time, candidates for the Democratic nomination were busy campaigning for New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary. The nominations have now been decided, and Dartmouth's home state has become just one of about 18 hotly contested battleground states. In the interim, the Rockefeller Center has been fortunate to have Governor Howard Dean and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind as distinguished guests, interacting with students, faculty, and the community to offer their insights on the electoral process and the campaigns.

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