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


Interview with Linda Hartke, President and CEO of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

Linda Hartke, President and CEO of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, met with students for a coffee hour on Friday, September 25, to discuss the refugee crisis and immigration issues. Before this discussion, Linda sat down with Niki Bakhru ’17 for an interview.

Linda Hartke discusses immigration and her work at the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services with students.

Ms. Hartke’s passion led her on a path from Smith College in Massachusetts to Washington DC, overseas to Cambodia and Geneva, and finally to where she works today in New York. Her journey began when she found her first job on a commuter train to Boston, where she met Chester Atkins, her state senator and chairman of the Democratic Party by chance. He invited her to volunteer at the Democratic Convention in 1980 and, shortly after, she was offered a job to work for her state’s party.

PoliTalk Student Dinner with Maya MacGuineas: A Conversation about the Federal Budget

Maya MacGuineas, a federal budget specialist, will be talking about the growing federal debt.

The United States government has continuously run a budget deficit over the course of current college students’ lives, which has resulted in a total debt in excess of $18 trillion. The US deficit is expected to grow at an increasingly rapid pace, which is the heart of the problem, according to federal budget specialists like Maya MacGuineas. The US government needs to take steps to ensure that debt is not growing faster than the economy. A ballooning federal debt limits the government’s ability to provide critical public investments and services. Professor Charlie Wheelan of the Economics Department, sees the federal debt as a major issue that will confront current students later in their lives and thus demands attention.

2015 Constitution Day: PoliTALK with Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School

On Thursday, September 17th, the Rockefeller Center hosted a PoliTALK student dinner with Professor Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School as part of Dartmouth's annual Constitution Day celebration. Professor Amar teaches constitutional law both at Yale College and Yale Law School, and has been favorably cited by Supreme Court justices across the spectrum in more than 30 cases. 

Student Coffee Hour with Linda Hartke: Friday, September 25th, 2015

The current flood of refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern counties has captured the attention of the international community. With hundreds of thousands of refugees seeking shelter in the EU from civil war and economic crisis in their home countries, it has become critical for the United States to take steps to address this growing international predicament.

As the President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), Linda Hartke has engineered a faith-based movement to address refugee crises globally. Rooted in service-based Lutheran values, the organization works to protect and advocate for migrants and refugees worldwide. On Friday, September 25th, the Rockefeller Center will host a student coffee hour with Ms. Hartke in order to discuss what faith-based organizations like LIRS are doing now to serve refugee populations and address international crises.

PolitTALK with Journalist Souad Mekhennet


On Monday, May 8th, New York Times columnist Souad Mekhennet spoke to students about her experience working in the Middle East over lunch.  A German reporter of Turkish and Moroccan descent, Mekhennet has covered conflicts and terrorist groups in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. With recent events escalating in Syria, it was very interesting to listen to Mekhennet's opinions about a post-Arab Spring world.  




Mekhennet discussed with students about her recent reporting in Bahrain, where her goal was to tell the stories of women and other minority groups.  She wanted to investigate the silenced majority in the region and their thoughts on the recent protests.  Bridget Golob '14, a student participant in the lunch, commented, "Getting to talk in an informal setting with Souad Mekhennet was fantastic. She shared a lot about her on-the-ground experiences, her thoughts about the future of women's rights and democratic values in the Middle East, and about her role as a reporter and not a biased observer."

College Libertarians Present: Benjamin Friedman on "The Virtues of Foreign Policy Restraint" on Thurs, 1/31 at 4:30 PM

The College Libertarians are hosting Dartmouth alumnus Benjamin Friedman'00  to speak on "The Virtues of Foreign Policy Restraint" this Thursday, 1/31 at 4:30 in Rockefeller 003

Mr. Friedman is a research fellow in defense and homeland security studies at the Cato Institute, his areas of expertise including counter-terrorism, homeland security and defense politics. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

The College Libertarians seek to create a growing community of independent, informed students by promoting the ideals of life, liberty, property, self-ownership, and personal responsibility. They meet weekly for discussions of current events, and can be contacted at

You can also find out more about Benjamin Friedman and his work at the Cato Institute here.

PoliTALK with Jennifer Taub: Regulation of Financial Institutions

Read a student's account of a recent lecture by Jennifer Taub and the following dinner and discussion hosted by PoliTalk.

PoliTALK to host Dinesh D'Souza '83 for first dinner discussion of Spring 2012 on Tuesday, April 3rd at 7:30 PM

Student Discussion Groups begin again this week. Please visit the Rockefeller Center home page and calendar for more details. This is an announcement from one of our groups.

Dartmouth alum Dinesh D'Souza '83, former editor-in-chief of The Dartmouth Review, noted Christian apologist, and President of King's College, will be speaking on the moral case for free markets. Come listen to one of Dartmouth's most famous living alumni in Rockefeller's Class of 1930 Room, sponsored by PoliTalk, The Dartmouth Review, and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Refreshments provided.

PoliTALK with Dean Charlotte Johnson

Read a student's account of our PoliTALK event with Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson. For more information about our student discussion groups including PoliTALK, click here.

PoliTALK hosts Midterm Madness 2010 Election Bracket; Guest Speaker Indur Goklany October 7th

PoliTALK is one of four student-led discussion groups that the Rockefeller Center supports.  For the first PoliTALK meeting of the fall term on September 30th, the PoliTALK team tried something completely new. Paying homage to basketball's March Madness and many political pundits favorite pastime -  prognosticating - PoliTALK established the Midterm Madness 2010 Election Bracket. Students picked winners in a large number of competitive senate races and predicted the composition of the House and Senate for the 112th Congress. After the midterm elections PoliTALK will host a post-election analysis discussion group, where we will award a prize to the best political prophet in the group!

On Thursday, October 7th, PoliTALK will be hosting a special guest speaker, Indur Gaklany, for their 6:30 PM meeting.   Mr. Goklany will be giving a lecture,  "The Improving State of the World", in 001 Rockefeller Center at 4:30 PM, and then join PoliTALK for a dinner discussion at 6:30 PM.

- Mason Cole '13 and Ben Schifberg '13, PoliTALK Discussion Leaders

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