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

Recap

Steve Peterson: Systems Thinking

On January 8, Engineering Senior Lecturer Steve Peterson joined the Rocky Leadership Fellows winter retreat to lead a session on Systems Thinking. He started off the session by asking fellows what big issues they viewed as being important over the next 5-10 years: Climate Change, Multi-Dimensional Inequality, Guns, Immigration, Education were all answers that fellows gave. Professor Peterson proposed Systems Thinking as an important tool for analyzing complex issues in today’s world. He described the technique as dynamic in nature, transcending boundaries and focusing on the interdependency between many factors.

Terie Norelli: Gender and Leadership in the Workplace

During the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows Winter Retreat, on January 8, 2016, fellows had the unique opportunity to explore the impact of gender and leadership in the workplace with President and CEO of the NH Women’s Foundation, Terie Norelli.

Norelli’s session at the retreat was a powerful reminder of the influence that subconscious bias has in our every day interactions, despite our best efforts to eradicate it from our behavior. Prior to the retreat, Norelli encouraged all of the fellows to take an implicit bias test designed by researchers at Harvard University. Many of us, including myself, were surprised to discover that we had subconscious associations of women with family and men with career. I found this particularly fascinating in our group, given our presumed desire for egalitarian ethics within our organizations.

Steve Peterson: Systems Thinking

On January 8, Engineering Senior Lecturer Steve Peterson joined the Rocky Leadership Fellows winter retreat to lead a session on Systems Thinking. He started off the session by asking fellows what big issues they viewed as being important over the next 5-10 years: Climate Change, Multi-Dimensional Inequality, Guns, Immigration, Education were all answers that fellows gave. Professor Peterson proposed Systems Thinking as an important tool for analyzing complex issues in today’s world. He described the technique as dynamic in nature, transcending boundaries and focusing on the interdependency between many factors.

“What is common sense?”

On Tuesday, January 5, 2016, the Management and Leadership Development Program kicked off its first session, with guest speaker, Sadhana Hall, Deputy Director of the Rockefeller Center.

Sadhana first spoke about how leadership is showing up and not just physically, but mentally as well. She then went on to explain the importance of leaders being lifelong learners. “What is common sense?” Sadhana asked the group. One participant replied, “When you think something is common sense, you think you already know it.” Sadhana raised her hands in excitement, “Exactly! And when you assume you know something, the learning process stops.”

She took the group through some exercises that brought home the message that when we assume something is common sense, we assume everyone grew up in the same culture or has the same perspective on life, and that’s when the learning stops. As leaders we must commit to lifelong learning and always keep an open mind, and by challenging our assumptions on things we initially thought were common sense.  

PBPL 85 at the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

After a relaxing day spent at the Dead Sea, the class hit the ground running on Monday, December 14th in Amman, Jordan.

We had our first meeting of the day with James Fromson. Fromson works for Mayday Rescue NGO, which trains the Syrian Civil Defense. Fromson has coauthored pieces with one of our previous speakers, Steve Simon, and was able to provide an interesting prospective as an American living in Jordan. After this meeting, we headed on the bus to the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the Foreign Ministry, we had the opportunity to meet with the Director of International Relations and Organizations, Leena AlHadid, and Ibrahim Awawdeh, the Director of the North American Department. Qais Biltaji, the First Secretary to the Private Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, and Mohammed Hindawi also joined us. The panel was able to provide insight into Jordan’s relationship with the U.S. and its role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Once the meeting concluded, we left the Foreign Ministry and went to a nearby sharwma stand for lunch.

PBPL 85 at the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

After a relaxing day spent at the Dead Sea, the class hit the ground running on Monday, December 14th in Amman, Jordan.

We had our first meeting of the day with James Fromson. Fromson works for Mayday Rescue NGO, which trains the Syrian Civil Defense. Fromson has coauthored pieces with one of our previous speakers, Steve Simon, and was able to provide an interesting perspective as an American living in Jordan. After this meeting, we headed on the bus to the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the Foreign Ministry, we had the opportunity to meet with the Director of International Relations and Organizations, Leena AlHadid, and Ibrahim Awawdeh, the Director of the North American Department. Qais Biltaji, the First Secretary to the Private Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, and Mohammed Hindawi also joined us. The panel was able to provide insight into Jordan’s relationship with the U.S. and its role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Once the meeting concluded, we left the Foreign Ministry and went to a nearby sharwma stand for lunch. 

PBPL 85 at the Dead Sea

On Sunday, Dec 13th we traveled three hours to the Dead Sea. During the bus ride, many members of the class slept or worked on the memo. Once we arrived at the Dead Sea, we changed into our bathing suits and headed down to the beach. We jumped right into the water and were amazed at the fact that we could float in the extremely salty water. The class swam for a while and got covered in Dead Sea mud (it’s supposed to be excellent for your skin). After relaxing at the Dead Sea, we grabbed lunch and drove another hour to Amman. We checked into our hotel at Amman, had dinner, and continued to work on the memo. Tomorrow will be a busy day filled with meetings!

PBPL 85 tours Petra, Jordan

Saturday, Dec 12th was spent being completely enchanted by the ancient city of Petra, the capital of the Nabataeans. One of the world’s largest archeological wonders, Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

PBPL 85 visits Amman and Petra in Jordan

Friday, Dec 11th began with a bus ride and tour to learn more about Jordan and its famous sites.

Our first stop was at Mount Nebo, a religious site where Moses (or Prophet Musa) is thought to have seen the Promised Land for the first time. The views from Mount Nebo were spectacular and the class stopped to take many photos. Then, we stopped by a nearby mosaic workshop and store where we learned the process of making Jordanian mosaics. The bus then headed to Madaba, a town not far from Mount Nebo. While in Madaba, we viewed the ancient mosaic map of the region and our tour guide explained the history in detail. By this point it was 2 pm and the class was hungry for lunch (Jordanians eat a late lunch) so we headed to a local shwarma place. After lunch, we got on the bus for a long ride to our next destination, Petra. On the roughly four hour bus ride, the class worked on the memo, listened to the tour guide provide the history of the area, participated in a Disney music sing-a-long, and slept.

PBPL 85 spends the day in Amman, Jordan

Thursday, December 10th was a busy day filled with meetings, learning, and dancing. After breakfast at the hotel, we went to the U.S. Embassy in Amman. The embassy was a gigantic compound and the security was extremely tight. At the Embassy, we met with Alex Taylor, a Foreign Service Officer. Taylor helped explain to us the relationship between Jordan and the U.S., as well as Jordan’s peace efforts in the Middle East.

After departing the Embassy, we headed to King’s Academy, a private Jordanian school that is modeled after Deerfield Academy in the United States (the King of Jordan attended Deerfield). We were able to tour King’s Academy and have lunch with students. Many of us wished we could go back to high school and attend school at this magnificent campus. After lunch in the school cafeteria, we rushed back to the hotel for a meeting with Mouin Rabbani, a Middle East Analyst and Senior Fellow for the Institute for Palestine Studies. Rabbani provided an in depth look at Palestinian politics; a perspective we had not yet heard.

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