Current Students

All kidding aside, Newark's Mayor Booker relates his policy challenges and success

All kidding aside, Newark's Mayor Booker relates his policy challenges and success

Dean Ellen Schall and Mayor Cory Booker.

     In a public conversation at NYU Wagner before more than 125 students, Newark, N.J., Mayor Corey Booker offered hard-won insight, progress reports and humor in describing how his administration's strategies to reduce recidivism are contributing to broad civic improvement.

     Mayor Booker fielded questions October 8, 2009, about his pattern-breaking efforts from Ellen Schall, Dean of Wagner, and the audience on a day when, as it happened, he was attracting national attention for countering quips delivered by TV talk-show host Conan O'Brien at Newark's expense. The mayor told students that New Jersey's largest city is simply "not the butt of jokes," but conceded that matching O'Brien laugh-for-laugh is no easy challenge.

     But Booker had the audience chuckling at several points, even as he described serious and substantial efforts since his election in July, 2006, to set a national standard for urban transformation. He noted he has created several public/private partnerships and brought together civic group to rehabilitate and green the city's parks and playgrounds, doubled affordable housing construction, and set up model programs to assist at-risk youth and empower ex-offenders to thrive in meeting their family obligations.

     Booker said with evident pride that only 3 percent of the ex-offenders who participated in an innovative fraternity on fatherhood begun by the city two years ago have been re-arrested, showing that carefully tailored programs can end a publicly and personally tragic cycle of recidivism. He said he calls the fatherhood program DADS, or Delta Alpha Delta Sigma, he joked. He hopes that by working to bring proven business analytical measurements and operational management techniques to the city administration, such efforts will be scaled up and replicated elsewhere. "Most cities," he said, "don't have a mature prisoner-reentry system."

     The 39-year-old Mayor Booker said he's working to turn the city's well-regarded charter schools -- currently overseen by Wagner alumnus De'Shawn Wright -- "from "islands of excellence to hemispheres of hope." With the help of philanthropic organizations and researchers, transferring the Newark charters' formula for high achievement to the rest of the 45,000-student school system is achievable, he said.

     "Hopelessness is probably one of the worst toxins in any city, it's a cancer, and it really undermines what you're trying to do," said the mayor. But in referring to his deepening involvement in public service, he then added, "It hasn't been easy, but it's been so rewarding."

     The evening event was sponsored by The NYU Wagner Students for Criminal Justice Reform and The Black Allied Law Students Association.

 

 

An evening with Henry Kissinger elicits his views on the Middle East

An evening with Henry Kissinger elicits his views on the Middle East

Henry Kissinger and NYU Wagner Visiting Prof. Michael Doran discuss U.S. strategies in the Middle East at an Apr. 7 forum co-sponsored by Wagner.

NYU Wagner and the New-York Historical Society sponsored a conversation with Dr. Henry A. Kissinger on Wednesday, April 7th at the Metropolitan Club. Dean Ellen Schall, together with Roger Hertog and Louise Mirrer, the Chairman and the President, respectively, of the Historical Society, invited guests to an evening of Dr. Kissinger discussing Middle East strategy with NYU Wagner Visiting Professor Michael Doran, an expert on the international politics of the Middle Middle East. Dr. Kissinger toured the horizon, discussing the interlocking strategic dilemmas facing the Obama administration throughout the region -- from the struggle against the Taliban in Afghanistan to the difficulty of brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace, and from the international need to stop the Iranian nuclear program to the prospect of working with the Russians to solve problems of mutual concern.

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