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

Public Programs

Can entrepreneurs make social impact?

This Thursday, June 19th, at 7pm, the Rockefeller Center will host “Using an Entrepreneurial Mindset to Make Social Impact" in Rocky 003 featuring panelists Jamie Coughlin, Director of New Venture Incubator Programs in the Dartmouth Office of Entrepreneurship & Technology Transfer; Grace Teo, Founder and Co-Chair of Open Style Lab; and Henrik Scheel, Founder and CEO of The Startup Experience, Inc. This panel will discuss how growing emphasis on entrepreneurship around the globe is a promising approach to empower and enable small groups of individuals to make positive social impact. Students and the public are welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served at 6:45pm.

Register Now for The Startup Experience on June 20-21 with CEO and Entrepreneur Henrik Scheel!

Make a Social Impact: Explore. Innovate. Prototype. Present. Following a successful workshop last year, Rocky is bringing back The Startup Experience with serial entrepreneur and CEO and Founder of the Startup Experience Henrik Scheel this summer.

During this 1.5 day crash course on high-impact entrepreneurship and social innovation, participants will learn how to use design thinking and develop an entrepreneurial mindset to solve real social problems. Participants will go through a multi-stage process that begins with identifying and understanding big social problems and the people affected by those issues, and ends with teams pitching their innovative solutions and business models to a judging committee. Through this experience, students will improve their creative capacity, find inspiration, learn how to identify problems, understand users, and build ideas into tangible concepts, prototypes, and ventures.

Financial Inclusion and Women Empowerment with Chetna Sinha, Founder of the Mann Deshi Mahila Bank

What does it take to change the lives of 1 million low-income women? Chetna Sinha, the founder and president of the Mann Deshi Mahila Bank, aims to find out. With a goal of impacting 1 million female entrepreneurs by 2020, the Mann Deshi bank is a micro-enterprise development bank that operates in some of the poorest and most drought-stricken areas of rural India. The bank currently has seven branches, more than 185,000 clients, and conducts over 10,000 transactions daily, impacting the lives of women and their families all over India.

“I found that the low-income women weren’t asking for subsidies from the government – they just wanted to save for themselves and their families,” Sinha remarked.

Sinha founded the bank as a way to help illiterate low-income women understand financial planning. She cited a memorable anecdote about a girl in high school who wanted to save up money for university.

“Financial literacy is a sort of a freedom right for young women. We can help young girls open the roads to education, especially higher education,” Sinha said.

Speaking with Chetna Sinha about Financial Inclusion and Women Empowerment

An economist, farmer, and activist, Chetna Sinha works for social change in some of the poorest and most drought-stricken areas of rural India. She is the founder and president of the Mann Deshi Mahila Bank, a micro-enterprise development bank that serves more than 185,000 low-income women. She was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 for India by Palaniappan Chidambaram, Finance Minister of India and has been honored with the 2005 Jankidevi Bajaj Puraskar award for rural entrepreneurship. She has also been awarded lifetime membership with Ashoka Innovators for the Public, and was selected for the first class of Yale University's World Fellows program in 2002-2003.

Before her talk, “Financial Inclusion and Women Empowerment,” Courtney Wong ’15 sat down with Chetna Sinha for an interview.

Discussing Income Inequality with Greg Mankiw and Jared Bernstein

Greg Mankiw is a professor of economics at Harvard University, a New York Times columnist, and former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush. A former graduate of Princeton University and MIT, he has taught macroeconomics, microeconomics, statistics, and principles of economics. You may recognize him as the author of your textbooks. In addition to teaching, his research includes work on price adjustment, consumer behavior, financial markets, monetary and fiscal policy, and economic growth. His published articles have appeared in academic journals, such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Pop-Up Learning: How Technology is Changing and Challenging College with Jeff Young

For current full-time residential students, it’s difficult to imagine what it’s like to learn in a classroom without a teacher. However, this is where the state of higher education is currently headed: to massive open online courses, or MOOCs. Jeffrey R. Young, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, as well as a technology editor for the Chronicle of Higher Education, is an expert on MOOCs and shared with us his knowledge of them in his lecture entitled, “Pop-Up Learning: How Technology is Changing and Challenging College.”

Constitutional Law Expert David Cole Addresses Whether President Obama Can End The War on Terror

For the celebration of Law Day, an annual national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law, the Rockefeller Center was fortunate enough to have a speaker well-versed in some of the most important legal issues today. David Cole, the Honorary George J. Mitchell Professor in Law and Public Policy at the Georgetown University Law Center, is an expert on constitutional law, national security, and criminal justice. In his public lecture, “Can President Obama End the War on Terror?” he addressed many of the most pertinent issues in national security today – ranging from the war on terror and surveillance to Guantanamo Bay and drones.

David Cole began his lecture by discussing the war on terror. He noted to the audience that the Obama administration has made it clear that democracy demands an end to the perpetual state of war, but what would it take to end the war with Al Qaeda? And what would be the consequences of going into peacetime footing? In particular, David Cole focused on the consequences of shifting from wartime to a peacetime footing in these four areas: detention, drones, surveillance and accountability.

The War on Terror - Q&A with Georgetown Law Professor David Cole

David Cole, the Hon. George J. Mitchell Professor in Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law, has been published widely in law journals and the popular press, authoring or co-authoring several award-winning books on the topics of constitutional law, national security, and criminal justice. He has worked as a staff attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights from 1985-90, and has continued to litigate as a professor. He has litigated many significant constitutional cases in the Supreme Court, including Texas v. Johnson, and has been involved in many of the nation’s most important cases involving civil liberties and national security. David has received two honorary degrees and numerous awards for his human rights work, including the inaugural 2013 Norman Dorsen Presidential Prize from the ACLU for lifetime commitment to civil liberties.

Before presenting his talk, “Can President Obama End the War on Terror?”, Courtney Wong ’15 sat down with David Cole for a brief interview.

CW: Where is the future of the war on terror headed?

"Financial Inclusion and Women Empowerment" with Chetna Sinha, May 14 @ 4:30 pm

The empowerment of women in today’s economy has become an important, if not crucial, objective in prompting development and progress. In many countries, women serve critical roles in agricultural and commodity production and in providing familial stability. Giving women the tools they need to succeed could be considered requisite to ensuring the ultimate success of their local communities.

Chetna Sinha, Founder & Chairperson on Mann Deshi Mahila Bank and the Mann Deshi Foundation and Ashoka Fellow, will speak to this topic and her personal experiences in founding a micro-enterprise development bank and in promoting female empowerment in financial affairs.

An economist, farmer, and activist, Chetna Sinha works for social change in some of the poorest and most drought-stricken areas of rural India. She is the founder and president of the Mann Deshi Mahila Bank, a micro-enterprise development bank. The Bank's clients are low-income women with incomes averaging INR 40 (USD 1.00) per day. The Bank currently has seven branches, more than 185,000 clients, and conducts 10,000 transactions daily.

"Debating Income Inequality: What's the Problem? What's the Solution?" with Greg Mankiw and Jared Bernstein

For the past several decades, income inequality in the United States has grown significantly and has become one of the most-talked about issues among many scholars, economists, and politicians. As we soon enter into the 2014 election cycle, income inequality will surely be an important topic for the candidates to address.

However, there are many misconceptions and myths surrounding income inequality. Why exactly is income inequality a problem and what are the appropriate solutions to try to solve it? The Nelson. A Rockefeller Center, along with the Political Economy Project, is proud to welcome two leading economists, Greg Mankiw and Jared Bernstein, to debate these issues at Dartmouth College.

Greg Mankiw is a professor of economics at Harvard University, a New York Times columnist, and former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush. A former graduate of Princeton University and MIT, he has taught macroeconomics, microeconomics, statistics, and principles of economics. You may recognize him as the author of your textbooks!

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