When Nelson Mandela Gave NYU Wagner a Helping Hand
It is only a footnote in the life of a great historical figure, but the gesture of support that Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) made for NYU Wagner more than a decade ago marks a spectacular moment in the life of the public service graduate school.
Initially postponed by the September 11, 2001, attacks, the campus visit the following May by the Nobel Peace Prize recipient and leader of the emancipation of South Africa helped to catalyze an innovative Fellowship designed to bring students from Africa to Wagner to study public policy and management. The new Fellowship launched that day attracted generous financial backing from Oprah Winfrey, and today is known as the African Women's Public Service Fellowship.
Many dignitaries attended the event, where Mandela at the same time received NYU's Presidential Medal, and his appearance was punctuated by thunderous applause. But with quietly overpowering dignity, he delivered a simple message. The Wagner school's commitment to Africa represented an opportunity for mutual learning in the important work of nation and community building, and Mandela exhorted the next generation of public service leaders to take up the struggle for equality, justice, and liberty for all.
"The struggle for true and universal human emancipation still lies ahead of the children, youth and future generations," he said, in words that continue to resonate with urgency and truth.
The Wagner community joins the world over in mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela.
MUP Student at Wagner Wins Soros Fellowship for New Americans
Leda DeRosa, who is pursuing a master’s degree in urban planning (MUP) at NYU Wagner, has been selected as a recipient of a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. She is one of 30 winners of the 2013 national competition, chosen from more than 1,050 applicants.
New Americans Fellows are selected on the basis of individual merit and promise - individuals who seem best-positioned to make a distinctive contribution to some aspect of American life. Clearly, Leda fits the bill.
Born in Korea, raised in Connecticut, Leda has a keen desire to work in underserved communities. This, she notes, arises from her complex immigrant and minority identities.
Leda graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College, and was supported with scholarships and part-time jobs. She subsequently worked as a corporate legal assistant for a major New York-based international law firm and as Associate Director of an African-American think tank affiliated with Columbia Law School.
Each Fellow receives tuition and stipend assistance of up to $90,000 in support of graduate education in this country. The full slate of immigrant and academic stories can be found in all of its remarkable diversity here: 2013 Fellows' Bios.
Wagner Students Capture $50,000 Prize in Entrepreneurs Challenge
Three NYU Wagner students won the $50,000 Social Venture Prize in the 2012-13 Entrepreneurs Challenge held at NYU Stern. Their winning idea, called Kinvolved, is a digital app that aims to reduce truancy by providing real-time data on classroom attendance to teachers, families, and students.
Kinvolved is the brainchild of Miriam Altman (MPA ’13), Alexandra Meis (MPA ’13), and Barrie Charney Golden (MBA/MPA ’14). Since December 2012, the Kinvolved program has been piloted in a public elementary school in Harlem. The Kinvolved team is now working on sales and distribution for the 2013-14 school year.
The Entrepreneurs Challenge, a university-wide competition held by Stern’s Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, selected four winning teams in all, composed of students, alumni, and faculty from seven different NYU schools. These most promising innovators were chosen after pitching their ideas and enduring a rigorous Q&A by judges from the venture capital, technology, design, and social enterprise sectors.
NYU Wagner Soars in US News & World Report Rankings
The just-released U.S. News & World Report rankings of 266 public affairs master's programs across the country show NYU Wagner tied for 6th overall this year.
The results are thrilling confirmation of Wagner's upward trajectory. In the previous survey four years ago, Wagner finished in the top 10 for the first time, having risen from 26th in 2001. Additionally, Wagner is top-ranked in six of the specialty categories: #2 in City Management and Urban Policy; #8 in Health Policy and Management; #5 in Nonprofit Management; #8 in Public Finance and Budgeting; #9 in Public Management Administration; and #8 in Social Policy.
Wagner is grateful to the deans, directors and department chairs of master's programs around the country whose votes acknowledge our path of distinction and success.
Congratulations, NYU Wagner Class of '11! [Slide Show]
A highly spirited, good-humored and at times poignant NYU Wagner convocation ceremony filled the beautiful Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 17, including a keynote address delivered by visiting scholar, best-selling author, and astute social critic Irshad Manji.
Her subject was "moral courage," a matter she teaches at Wagner with great passion and insight. As part of her presentation, several students stood in the auditorium; their faces were beamed onto a jumbo screen and their voices were amplified as they explained to hundreds of asssembled classmates, friends and family members what the phrase "moral courage" means to each of them.
It was just one of many emotional and powerful moments as the more than 350 graduates cheered -- all of them poised to embark on the next step of their amazing careers in public service within and across sectors and disciplines.
In another twist on the standard graduation ceremony, three MPA graduates -- Nilbia Y. Coyote, Chesray L. Dolpha, and Kuo Jeng Yang -- greeted the audience with "Welcome" in dozens of languages that reflect the United Nations-like variety of native tongues embodied by Wagner's student body and its diverse global ties.
Ellen Schall, Wagner's dean, led the ceremonies, while New York University Provost David W. McClauglin offered words of welcome and praise, and Associate Dean and Professor Rogan Kersh recited the Athenian Oath. Faculty and student awards aplenty were yet another highlight of the day.
Congratulations to the Class of '11. Forward!
Uncommon Street Fest Brings Together New Thinking on Cities
NYU Wagner's Rogan Kersh shines at Festival of Ideas for the New City. [Photo by Dexter Miranda.]
Instead of face painting and kielbasa, there were brightly colored worm tunnels, and a crocheted room. Italian ices and ferris wheels -- the stuff of traditional street fares everywhere -- were replaced by fresh thinking about environmental sustainability, neighborhood heterogeneity, and cutting-edge networking.
The streets and suites all around NYU Wagner's headquarters in the historic Puck Building were awash in new ideas on urban living May 4 to May 8 at the first-ever Festival of Ideas for the New City. Workshops and discussions, dealing with everything from art and housing to urban planning and public policy, took center stage at multiple locations throughout downtown.
The first-ever brainstorm of its kind, the Festival of Ideas was organized by the New Museum, with assistance provided by NYU Wagner and the Cooper Union, and other major partners.
Participants in the festival events included small businesses, local non-profits, and a raft of arts organizations.
The talks tapped the knowledge of thinkers from a variety of arenas. Artists, urban planners, architects and even musicians like David Byrne (of Talking Heads fame) - who opened an event on bicycle transportation called "The Sustainable City" -- populated and energized the discussions.
The events were all aimed at coming up with ways of making city life more beautiful, durable, collective, connective, and innovative.
Two of the discussions were hosted at Wagner's headquarters at Lafayette and Houston streets, with Wagner also dispatching expert participants to other happenings, such as Professor and Associate Dean Rogan Kersh. Wagner's Josh Mandell attended the Downtown Policy Issues World Café, co-hosted at the Puck by NYU Wagner and IDEO, the design firm; he wrote up the lively discussion about new ways to use shared space, solar panels, and even white paint. Thirteen.org was also there, picking up intelligence.
Meanwhile, Wagner's Professor Mitchell Moss took part in a Saturday evening conversation on the prospects for a thriving downtown cultural scene, held at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater.
FELPS Hosts NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott
NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott addresses NYU Wagner's Fellowship for Emerging Public Service Leaders on April 27, 2011.
Just three weeks into his role as head of the nation's largest public school system, New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott spoke with NYU Wagner's Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service (FELPS) on April 27.
He discussed his career path, including founding a youth mentorship program, heading the National Urban League, and serving as Deputy Mayor of Education and Community Development. Chancellor Walcott also talked about leadership lessons he has learned from these experiences, including the importance of recognizing mentorship moments, the growth that comes from hiring people who will challenge you, and strategies for maintaining work-family balance in public service careers.
Obama administration officials eye public-private partnering
The public and private sectors are becoming interdependent through technology, globalization, and shared services and customers. Yet historically there has been a significant divide between the public and private sectors--with causes spanning from cultural attitudes to legal and political impediments. How can we advance partnerships in the arena of critical infrastructure?
On March 21, two officials from the Obama administration talked about key avenues to greater public-private partnerships in infrastructure protection and overall catastrophe preparedness. The occasion was a forum at NYU Wagner, with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Douglas Smith, assistant secretary for the private sector, and Todd M. Keil, assistant secretary for infrastructure protection.
Offering reaction to the officials' comments were respondents Carl Weisbrod, partner in the leading policy, economic development and planning consulting firm HR&A, and Wagner professors John Gershman and Rae Zimmerman. The moderator was William Raisch, Director, International Center for Enterprise Preparedness at NYU.
For Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Whirlwind Day at Wagner
Gordon Brown (r.) enjoys light-hearted moment at Henry Hart Rice Forum with Mitchell Moss.
Gordon Brown, the British Labour Party leader who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from June 2007 to May 2010, and is a current Member of Parliament, spent an engaging day at NYU Wagner on April 11 with groups of students, faculty, alumni, staff, and the dean, Ellen Schall. In the evening, he spoke to more than 150 friends of the public-service graduate school as the guest of the Henry Hart Rice Forum moderated by Mitchell Moss, Henry Hart Rice Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at Wagner.
The Right Honourable Mr. Brown projected optimism about globalization. He said vast increases in producers and consumers in fast-developing countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Brazil will benefit the West, as long as the U.S. and Europe invest heavily in science, technology and education and keep the doors of global trade open.
In this way, Mr. Brown argued, the West can ensure it will profit and gain new sources of employment from globalization -- and ease the understandable anxiety so rife today about economic change.
"For the first time last year, in almost 200 years, Europe and America are being out-produced, out manufactured, and out-invested by the rest of the world," he said. "...It makes people insecure; it makes people feel, ‘Are we witnessing the decline of the West?...And then people feel insecure about their jobs."
It is this economic "sea change," which surpasses even that of the Industrial Revolution, that holds the seeds of opportunity for a more balanced global economy, according to the former prime minister.
"The people who are producing goods in China, India, and elsewhere - they don't want just to be workers producing goods; they want to be consumers too," he said.
"They want to enjoy some of benefit of the goods that come with a higher standard of living. They want to be part of the industrial society as middle class consumers of the future," and they want to have "houses, electrical goods, better clothes, higher quality food, health care, and education."
"There is a huge opportunity for us in what is about to happen, because we in America and Europe can be the people who are equipped to sell goods and services that are sold in the rest of the world," added Mr. Brown.
Mr. Brown, who has a PhD in History from the University of Edinburg, was introduced by Dean Schall and queried by Professor Moss about his youthful influences (mainly his parents and his school teachers), rapport with U.S. presidents (from Clinton to Bush to Obama), and Scotland's historical impact on the American experiment.
The event was held at the Kimmel Center of New York University. Mr. Brown is the university's inaugural Distinguished Global Leader in Residence.
In his remarks, the former prime minister warned against a "race to the bottom" that will occur if countries are permitted to attract business via deregulation. What is required, he stated, is the development and maintenance of consistent international standards for investment.
Fielding a question from a Wagner student about the environmental impact of burgeoning consumer economies, he said that worldwide treaties, such as the one attempted but not enacted at the recent Copenhagen Climate Summit, are clearly merited .
Katherine O'Regan Receives NYU 2010-11 Distinguished Teaching Award
Congratulations to Katherine M. O'Regan, associate professor of public policy extraordinaire here at NYU Wagner! She has been selected as a recipient of the 2010-2011 Distinguished Teaching Award.
The award recipients include a total of six professors from across the university.
Professor O'Regan will be donating half of her esteemed award to the Wagner Experience Fund, established for the first time this year to fund 50 internships for Wagner students this summer.
Past teaching-award recipients at Wagner include Ingrid Gould Ellen, Steven Finkler, and Ellen Schall.
NYU Wagner Joins the Newly Launched New Cities Foundation
Partnering with leading global companies, research institutions and nonprofits, the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University has become a Member of The New Cities Foundation, a newly established non-profit Swiss institution dedicated to improving the quality of life and work in the 21st century global city.
The Foundation, launched on March 28, 2011, will perform a unique role in developing new models of collaboration between the public, private and academic sectors that will benefit cities around the world. Through its Task Force and the annual New Cities Summit, the Foundation will be a true "laboratory of ideas," leveraging its members' leadership, expertise, innovations, relationships and products to ensure that the urban future is a more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable one. It will be chaired by John Rossant, the executive chairman of Geneva-based PublicisLive, which produces major international conferences such as the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The Foundation's first Founding Members are GE, Cisco, and Ericsson. In addition to NYU Wagner, the Members include global leaders such as Orange (France Telecome), GDF Suez, and the Gateway House think tank in India. The first Summit, a premier global event for high-level exchange and innovation on the future of urbanization, will be held in late 2011 or early 2012 in an Asian city.
"NYU Wagner and New Cities Foundation share a common belief in the power of collaboration - the need to unite sectors to jointly develop fresh, bold solutions to increasingly complex problems facing cities around the world," said Ellen Schall, Dean of NYU Wagner.
For more information, see the press release here.