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

Rockefeller Global Leadership Program

Ethan Goldman '22 RGLP Reflection: Challenging American-centric Assumptions

The most challenging issue to collaboration posed by globalism is false belief in cultural erosion. The United States dominant position in the world might lead individuals (such as myself) that American culture has permeated worldwide, and that culture differences do not possess the same importance they used to have. This can lead Americans abroad to act in culturally inappropriate ways, without consideration of how their actions could be viewed as offensive. Without devoting the necessary time and energy to learning the nuances of a new culture, Americans in that culture might come off as obtuse or even rude.

Elliot Montroll '23 RGLP Reflection: Intercultural Conflict Styles in China

Being a global leader means that you are comfortable with being in uncomfortable and new cultural situations. It also means that you consider and understand how your culture, however normal it feels, may also be confusing to those of a different culture. Each culture has its own subtle differences including individualism versus collectivism, different amounts of directiveness in communication, types of leadership styles, among others. I have learned to see these differences and thus adjust my leadership and communication methods depending on the situation. 

Ellie Hackett '23 RGLP Reflection: Learning by Mistake

A cultural experience that took me out of my comfort zone, and yet was extremely valuable to me, was when I stayed at a boarding school in a small town in Poland for a few weeks. I had the opportunity to travel to Szamotuly, Poland my junior year through an exchange program with my high school. It was a history program devoted to studying the history of cultural diversity in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. I had never visited Poland, did not speak any Polish, and knew very little about Polish culture. However, I had an interest in European history and politics, so I signed up. In Szamotuly, we stayed in the dorm of a local boarding school. I shared a room with two other girls from my school on a floor that was otherwise populated with Polish students. It felt very odd, not knowing the language and not really attending the school (we visited, but didn’t attend regular classes as we didn’t know Polish), and yet living with the students, dining in their cafeteria, and otherwise experiencing Polish teenage life. This meant that we essentially learned about the culture by observation, and often by making little mistakes.

Carter Welch '23 RGLP Reflection

For the first seventeen years of my life, I lived in a small town in west Michigan—a beautiful place, sure—but a homogenous one. I rarely left the state and if I did it was predominantly for vacation travel, not necessarily an outlet for major cultural learning experiences and integration. Resultantly, my culture was long-informed by rural, midwestern values: always be polite, speak only when spoken to, and regardless of how you feel, it’s probably best to keep it to yourself or only alert those closest to you. Like all cultures, these permeating values possess positive and negative aspects. But beyond values, I was not often familiar with different cultures, religions, or places outside my tiny hometown.

Ben Brody '22 RGLP Reflection: An ode to cultural growth

If you had asked me to talk about my culture before I began RGLP, I would have given you a definition narrow enough to be succinct. I would have told you about growing up in New England. I might have talked about my Dad’s Jewish family. That would be it. That is how I would have defined my culture. I perceived it without nuance and without any aspects that I would consider “interesting.”

My biggest takeaway from RGLP is this: that whole paragraph embarrasses me. I am ashamed to admit that I hadn’t figured out how to find value in my own cultural experiences before this program. But, I am proud of how much that has changed.

Arabella McGowan '23 RGLP Reflection: The Role of a Global Leader

During one of our RGLP sessions, we discussed the pandemic and its relationship to global leadership. We began to consider how going forward when faced with the next pandemic (or any other world crisis), we will see once again how leadership plays a major role in the way the problem is addressed. Our world leaders have a huge influence over these major events, and we will soon see how tensions between nationalism and interdependence in a global environment carry out in a post-COVID world. Particularly when faced with economic hardship or setbacks from the damage caused by the recent global health crisis, nations must choose how to best invigorate their economies after experiencing lockdowns and elevate growing areas of inequality.

Will Dickerman '21 RGLP Reflection: Leaving My Comfort Zone

I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to go on two study abroad experiences since coming to Dartmouth, both of which took me out of my comfort zone and opened me to new perspectives and experiences.


The summer after my freshman year, I attended the Italian FIRE program in Rome. The FIRE program an Italian language study abroad designed for people who have never taken the language before. I felt nervous about moving to Italy without speaking a word of Italian. Living in the neighborhood of Trastevere, the other Dartmouth students and I quickly adjusted to our new surroundings. It truly is remarkable how fast it takes to get by using a new language when you have to get by using a new language. I noticed that we soon began having full conversations with Italian people, which opened up my eyes to entirely new perspectives than I had growing up in Los Angeles. 


Vanessa Haggans '23 RGLP Reflection: Adaptability and Discomfort Benefit Global Leaders

Adaptability in an increasingly globalized world requires self-awareness, an understanding of different cultural values, and learning to be comfortable with discomfort. Additionally, adaptation involves respecting others and a willingness to pursue new and unfamiliar circumstances. While it might require modifying certain behaviors to respect cultural norms in some situations, adaptation does not require total conformation to the surrounding environment. Rather, it is a balance of honoring one’s own background and perspectives while simultaneously exploring the similarities and differences that exist between cultures.


Self-reflection is very important for effective adaptation to new experiences and cultural environments. Effective leaders must maintain self-awareness to understand the biases and perspectives they bring when entering into new situations. Reflecting on the values and experiences that influence one’s worldview is therefore essential to maintaining respect and self-awareness. RGLP gave us the opportunity to explore these personal perspectives, and I plan to continue this self-reflection far beyond the program.


Stephanie Rivera-Ithier '21 RGLP Reflection: COVID-19 does not discriminate, nor should we.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us one thing, it is just how deeply interconnected we are to one another. Coronavirus has reshaped not only how we understand ourselves, but also how we think about our world.

In our highly globalized world, it only took a few months for COVID-19 to infect millions of people across the globe. In the past months, we have demonstrated our ability to adapt and understand our role within the collective. We stay at home, we limit our outings, and we wear masks to protect not only ourselves, but also our loved ones from a lethal virus that so far has infected 10 million Americans and killed 238,000 others. Despite our private efforts as citizens, our administration has chosen to attack, belittle, and divide in our time of need.

Nathan Hwang '22 RGLP Reflection:

Assumption-making is a very common practice today. Even though at times it can be helpful (such as saving time), it is often hurtful and discriminatory. It is human to have assumptions, but it is important to recognize them when they arise and reflect on why you made the assumption and what you can do to have a more accurate and inclusive perspective in the future.  


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