Benjamin Cokelet
Adjunct Lecturer of Public Administration

Benjamin E. Cokelet teaches Introduction to Community Organizing as a member of the adjunct faculty, since 2010. In 2008, Ben founded PODER (Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research) to improve corporate transparency and accountability in Latin America and to strengthen civil society stakeholders. PODER leverages business intelligence, transparency technology, and community organizing to build a citizen-led corporate accountability movement. In 2009, PODER won NYU Stern School of Business’s prestigious Social Venture Competition. In 2010, Ben was awarded Echoing Green and Ashoka fellowships.

Prior to founding PODER Ben worked for 12 years as a community and union organizer and human rights advocate in both the United States and Mexico. Ben holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science and African and African-American Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a Masters degree in International Business and Politics from NYU. At NYU, Ben was a Catherine B. Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. Ben and his family reside in Mexico City.

Semester Course
Spring 2014 PADM-GP.2106.001 Community Organizing

Introduction to Community Organizing is for those who could imagine running national or local advocacy organizations that make change happen or anyone who wants to understand the art of community organizing. It will provide an overview of and training in contemporary community organizing practice in the United States. This includes defining what community organizing is and identifying its value base; exploring the strategies, tactics and activities of organizing; and thinking about marketing, language and evaluation. We also will examine the transformations of civic engagement and voluntary associations in the United States and the impact of these transformations on the ways Americans organize and advocate for change.

But there is a larger lesson here: The skills of community organizing – listening, finding areas of consensus and building on that consensus, finding ways to make change happen – are skills that can be applied to all professional and life settings. Through readings, class activities, cases studies, speakers and reflection, students will examine skills and techniques for effective organizing, including building a membership base, developing ordinary people as community leaders and running member-led issue campaigns. Students will also have the opportunity to reflect on and strengthen their own skills as community organizers and advocates.

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