Ford Foundation Announces 2003 Winners of Leadership for a Changing World Awards
Former Governor Christine Todd Whitman Speaks to NYU Wagner Students
On Monday, November 9, the former EPA administrator and Governor of New Jersey, Christine Todd Whitman, spoke with board members from NYU Wagner’s Alliance for Climate Change and Environment (ACE) student group, along with the Environmental Law Society and the Stern Energy Group. Governor Whitman spoke in her capacity as co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition (CASEnergy), an organization that promotes nuclear energy. As co-chair, Governor Whitman spends much of her time traveling around the country and meeting people to discuss nuclear energy and answer questions.
She spoke at length about energy policy as it relates to climate change mitigation. She explained how she sees nuclear’s role in the country’s energy mix and its potential to replace carbon-emitting core energy sources, while being complemented by alternatives like solar and wind. Since energy demand in the U.S. is expected to increase by 22 percent in the next two and a half decades, Governor Whitman noted the importance of taking advantage of an already-existing source that has proven to be reliable.
Students from all three groups asked questions and expressed concerns about health hazards and public safety issues that arise from the widespread use of nuclear energy. The dialogue, which represented many differing viewpoints, highlighted that combatting climate change requires urgent action to transition to non-greenhouse gas-emitting energy sources.
Former Mayor Ed Koch hails public service careers in NYU Wagner discussion
Former Mayor Edward I. Koch visited NYU Wagner on October 14, 2010, for an informative and engaging hour of discussion [audio] about his eventful years at City Hall -- years that generated a remarkable turnaround in the condition and character of New York City, visible to this day. Joining Koch was Jonathan Soffer, NYU Polytechnic Institute associate professor of history and author of the critically acclaimed new biography "Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York City." [View video.]
More than 150 people, including many former senior officials of the Koch administration, listened as the distinguished public leader described several watershed moments involving his dealings with fiscal policy, striking unions, the private sector, HIV/AIDS, and the homeless.
Has the city been left too dependent on its finance, real estate and insurance industries, asked moderator Rob Polner, public affairs director at Wagner? No, Koch replied emphatically. He noted, as did Soffer, that while he actively encouraged private development in real estate, and makes no apologies for it, he also took advantage of growth in the city's tax base to provide social services.
"Private sector money doesn't build housing for poor people - it doesn't pay," Koch said. "That's the job of government and, regrettably, city government, because the federal government got out of the business of doing it."
One of the most prominent examples of Koch's enduring imprint on urban America was his administration's construction of 252,000 affordable housing units in the arson- and poverty-devastated South Bronx. The monumental, successful project was financed solely through the sale of previously shunned New York City general-obligation bonds.
In part because of such programs, Soffer said he views Mayor Koch not as a conservative -- as some have sought to characterize him -- but as a liberal leader, as "he basically believes in using government for public purposes." Piped up Koch: "I am a liberal -- with sanity!"
"Now when you say, 'Oh, you don't want to depend on development' -- well, that's what New York City's all about!" Koch declared. "In Pittsburgh it was steel. In some other town, it's coal -- whatever it is they have that's available. With us [New York], it's because everyone wants to live here."
Koch said a career devoted to public service is beyond compare -- something that he and hundreds of his former appointees have found true. Most have gone on to senior-level positions, representing all sectors.
"Public service," Koch said, "is the noblest of professions if it's done honorably, if it's done right...It's an aphrodisiac, in a way. Once you've done it, there's nothing comparable."
The former mayor was welcomed by Wagner dean Ellen Schall, and Dianne Rekow, Polytechnic Institute provost and NYU senior vice provost for science and technology.
Forum Explores Financial Squeeze Facing Nonprofit Human-Services Sector
More than 100 leaders of nonprofit organizations, along with state and city social services officials, gathered at NYU Wagner on Feb. 24 for the release of an exhaustive report calling for urgent reforms to shore up the nonprofit human-services sector in New York, responsible for delivering essential government services to 2.5 million people each year. The report, "New York Nonprofits in the Aftermath of FEGS: A Call to Action," identifies chronic problems and offers systematic solutions to what it characterizes as a crisis-level financial squeeze facing the large sector.
"The FEGS (Federation Employment & Guidance Services) bankruptcy took place against the backdrop of a chronically underfunded sector, and it gives us an opportunity to have a real discussion about the state of New York's nonprofit human services organizations," said Gordon J. Campbell, Professor of Practice at NYU Wagner, who chaired the 32-member Non-Profit Closure Commission. The commission's deliberations led to the report.
"The commission developed this report to bring desperately needed atttention to the issues our sector is facing, and to offer solutions to bring this sector back from the brink," Professor Campbell said.
The well-attended event was sponsored by the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), the Human Services Council of New York, and NYU Wagner. Associate Dean Ellen Lovitz welcomed the audience to the school's Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue on the second floor of the school's home in the historic Puck Building, followed by introductory remarks from ABNY Chairman and Rudin Management Company President Bill Rudin
Allison Sesso, Executive Director of the Human Resources Council, provided an overview of the report, and Professor Campbell moderated a panel discussion with: Steven Banks, Commissioner, New York City Human Resources Administration; Paul Francis, NYS Deputy Secertary for Health and Human Services; Christine Quinn, President and CEO of Win and former New York City Council Speaker; David Rivel, CEO of The Jewish Board, and Pat Swann, Senior Program Officer at the New York Community Trust.