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

Rockefeller Global Leadership Program

Rocky Hosts a Student and Alumni Reception in Boston

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center hosted a Student and Alumni Reception in Boston, MA on Saturday, February 24, 2018. The occasion provided an opportunity for area alumni to meet the current cohort of Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) participants, who were in Boston for their off-campus cultural immersion experience.

“RGLP intentionally prepares students to be comfortable in situations and cultural circumstances unfamiliar to them and how to communicate effectively across cultural barriers,” says Sadhana Hall, Deputy Director.

Rockefeller Center Director, Andrew Samwick, attended the reception along with Deputy Director Sadhana Hall, Professor Herschel Nachlis, and Program Officer Tatyana Gao.

In addition to those students involved with the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program, the reception welcomed Dartmouth students currently interning in Boston and area alumni and friends with a connection to the Center.

The reception took place at Legal’s Harborside Restaurant. Over sixty guests were in attendance.

A New RGLP Cohort Explores Cultural Competency

Monday, January 8th, 2018 marked the first session of the 2018 Winter Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP). As student program assistants, we always enjoy watching the new cohort meet one another for the first time, and this term’s group seemed particularly excited. We have 26 participants of various cultural backgrounds, all eager to explore their conceptions of culture and develop their leadership skills.

After a delicious dinner catered by Jewel of India, the session began with a welcome from Sadhana Hall, Deputy Director of the Rockefeller Center. Sadhana explained the intent of RGLP to bring a global dimension to the Rockefeller Center’s leadership and public policy mission. By the end of this introduction, it was time to get people moving and talking, so the entire group shifted to the Hinman Forum for an icebreaker activity that focused on the group getting to know each other a bit better.

Josh Tupler ’16 Reflects on His Experience with RGLP

Current Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) Student Program Assistant, Soham Basu '20 interviewed alum Josh Tupler ’16 about his RGLP experience. RGLP seeks to help participants build their intercultural leadership competencies. Tupler initially got involved with RGLP because he was interested in traveling abroad and saw this program as an excellent opportunity to prepare for this experience. Through the lessons and practical seminars, RGLP provided Tupler with the resources and skills to thrive on the Government Foreign Study Program at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Tupler reflects on the impact of his RGLP experience at Dartmouth.

Soham Basu (SB): How did your perception of the program differ from its reality?

Josh Tupler (JT): I went in expecting a weekly dinner meeting arrangement that a lot of other on-campus activities had, but I came out very surprised at the level of engagement and interaction with speakers. From giving us their emails and cell phone numbers to taking an active interest in our academic lives and careers, it exceeded any expectations that I had.

Preparation Meets Opportunity

If, as the Roman philosopher Seneca observed, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” then the Rockefeller Center is all about creating moments of luck for Dartmouth students. 

Although funding is a key ingredient that makes a leave-term internship experience possible for many students, the Rockefeller Center is equally focused on offering programs that fully prepare students to succeed in those opportunities.

For many students, a leave-term internship experience is their first time in a professional environment.

“Navigating an internship can be nerve-wracking for a college student,” says Barbara Olachea ’19. “Rocky helped me acquire new ways of thinking and habits that proved useful during my internship. I came into my internship confident of my abilities to communicate efficiently with my supervisor and co-workers, as well as empowered to make the most of my time in the office by advocating for myself and showing initiative, especially at the beginning.”

Self-Expression Through Capoeira

During last week’s Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) we had the opportunity to practice Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art.

Our Capoeira instructor, Fabio “Fua” Nascimiento began our session by teaching us a Brazilian song. We learned each lyric and emphasized each tone. Next, Fua taught us how to play several Brazilian instruments, and we combined our singing with music. As Fua noticed our hesitation to sing loudly, he taught us a valuable lesson. Fua explained that his culture has no word for “awkward” and the feeling does not exist in his culture. As Fua’s energy brightened the room, I noticed I was no longer scared to sing amongst my group. Rather, Fua encouraged me to embrace Capoeira and not care about how I appeared to other people.

Psychological Phenomena in the Workplace

Dr. Morris, Chief Officer of Diversity and Multiculturalism and Title IX Coordinator at Keene State College, led a Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) session on perspective. Although it seemed rather cloak-and-dagger at first, the opening activity on the placement of chairs was refreshing in how literal it was and set the tone for the rest of the session. Dr. Morris' training in clinical psychology and experience in pedagogy are some of the qualities I hope to embody in my own career - the fact that she is a black woman from Louisiana was affirming to me in a way that perhaps it may not have been for many of the other RGLP members. 

The activity we did where we had to answer questions about each other without speaking to each other was yet another almost blatantly obvious lesson in cultural assumptions and stereotyping. It was viscerally uncomfortable for many of us, which is interesting considering the fact that we make assumptions about each other on a daily basis without necessarily being aware of it. It sparked a productive conversation that we all seemed invested in.

An Introduction to Global Leadership with Dr. Gama Perruci

Dr. Gama Perruci, Dean of the McDonough Leadership Center at Marietta College, facilitated one of the most engaging, entertaining, and eye-opening lectures I've ever been a part of.

From the very start, we were parts of the complex puzzle of cultural competency that he was putting together. Dr. Perruci explained concepts using us as role-playing examples, which made the lessons more real.

Our simulation of a welcome ceremony on a small island made me think outside of the box and confront my cultural biases. This ritual, which we thought to be somewhat odd - and almost demeaning - in many ways, actually reflected ideals such as female empowerment and respect.

Dr. Perucci showed us our cultural biases and how they can "contaminate" our world view, thus holding us back from becoming true global citizens. While the lecture itself was incredibly informative, I found the lessons learned useful in every day interactions with my friends. I have many friends from different backgrounds and this lecture gave me a little more insight into why they may approach certain "norms" in the ways that they do. 

Beyond Cultural Comfort Zones

During week six, the 17W Rockefeller Global Leadership Program cohort attempted Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art form that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music.

To say the very least, Capoeira is a workout. A workout that requires a unique combination of grace, control, and power. As the instructor, Fabio “Fua” Nascimento, led us through a number of activities, he explained both the physical activity, and the cultural history and significance behind it. 

We dodged and ducked each other’s limbs to the rhythm, got lower to the ground without falling than I had thought was possible, and attempted what looked like a rotating handstand.

With respect to the true art form, Capoeira, I can say with some degree of confidence that it will never be an area in which I truly excel. What our cohort ultimately encountered was physical challenge and discomfort in the attempt to perform a cultural and ritualistic art form. This type of physical discomfort in the face of cultural confrontation, unlike any such emotional and mental discomfort, cannot be denied.

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Asha Wills ‘17

Asha initially became involved with the Rockefeller Center her sophomore year by participating in the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) and in the Create Your Path program. These programs caused her to think about how she could align her academic and career interests with her personal goals. Asha next enrolled in the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) because of her mentor, who served as a student program assistant for RGLP at the same. Asha reflects that being a participant in RGLP was an “incredible experience where I met people I otherwise wouldn't have met.”

In her junior year, Asha completed an exchange program in Copenhagen, Denmark and volunteered in Peru through Dartmouth’s Center for Service, where she was constantly thinking about the principles she learned in RGLP. She kept in contact with Vincent Mack, the program officer for RGLP, and when she returned to campus, she joined the Rockefeller Center student staff as a student program assistant for RGLP.

Turn-takers, Pausers, and Interrupters

The Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) began the term with a session focused on communication styles and how they are informed by culture. One activity in particular introduced students to the idea that people’s conversation styles can largely be categorized into three patterns. The turn-taker: a person who waits until the other person is finished talking before speaking. The pauser: a person who not only waits until the other finishes talking before talking in turn, but actually allows for a pause or silence before talking. The interrupter: a person who tends to cut the other person in conversation off by starting to speak before the other is finished speaking.

RGLP participants, Frederikke Fürst and Marcus Gresham, share their reflections here on this particular activity.


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