Public Engagement

  • Center for New York City Affairs

    Kristen Morse, Director

    The Center for New York City Affairs is an applied policy research institute established in 1964 to investigate the impact of public policies on neighborhoods and communities in New York City. The center is widely recognized for its role as a nonpartisan broker of information and analysis and for supporting dialogue and collaboration between government agencies, nonprofit organizations, residents, reform and policy change advocates, academic researchers, and journalists. Its ultimate mission is to improve the effectiveness of local government and other public services for all citizens, especialy in low-income communities. Current CNYCA projects include Child Welfare Watch, Feet in Two Worlds, Insideschools, and College Ready Communities. The center offers an active program of public lectures and debates and academic support to the Politics and Advocacy specialization at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy.

    The Community Development Finance Lab

    Charles Allison, Director
    Kevin McQueen, Instructor

    The Community Development Finance Project (CDFP) connects private, public, and philanthropic capital markets with academic education in the fields of community development, social entrepreneurship, sustainability management, and urban design. Its mission is to teach an array of financial management skills to graduate students of management and urban policy. Its primary vehicle is its signature course, the Community Development Finance Lab, which engages students over two semesters in real client-based projects and building networks with working professionals in the field. CDFP is also committed to the replication of its community development and nonprofit finance curriculum and practice-based learning approach at other universities; to the sharing of knowledge, particularly applied research; and to an active program of civic engagement.

    Equity for Children

    Alberto Minujin, Executive Director
    Beatrice Mauger, Associate Director

    Founded in 2006, Equity for Children advances an agenda of social justice for children and strengthens the impact of programs and social public policies dealing with children’s well-being. Based in New York City, Argentina, and Mexico, with websites in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, we have a strong commitment to improving the living conditions of disadvantaged and underserved children around the world, with particular emphasis on Latin America and New York City. We are currently working on several model initiatives to engage children and youth as well as their families through a holistic and participatory approach to foster social accountability, create evidence for sound public policies, and influence policymakers to improve child well-being locally, nationally, and globally.

    The Institute for Retired Professionals

    Michael I. Markowitz, Director

    The Institute for Retired Professionals was established in 1962 as the nation's first university-based peer learning community for retired and semi-retired people. This model has since been copied at many colleges and universities. Members design and teach their own academic curriculum and participate in a variety of social and recreational activities as well. They are also encouraged to take courses in the adult continuing education program of The New School and to participate in other aspects of university life. The IRP also sponsors a notable program of public lectures and other public events at The New School. Membership is opened twice a year. Visit the website for more information.

    The Observatory on Latin America

    Michael Cohen, Co-Director
    Margarita Gutman, Co-Director
    Desiree Lavecchia, Coordinator  

    The Observatory on Latin America (OLA) was founded with the goal of fostering multiple narratives and opportunities for public discussion about the new, dynamic processes of reform and renewal in the Western hemisphere. OLA supports both academic study of and public debate about contemporary political and economic forces and conflicts in the region. OLA is equally concerned with generating a public dialogue between people and governments in the United States and Latin America and on developing an understanding the challenges of building social democracy in the global economy of the 21st century. The observatory also provides opportunities for Latin American leaders to express their views directly to audiences in the United States.

    The Social Innovation Initiative

    Steering Committee: Michele Kahane, Cynthia Lawson, Judy Mejia, Mary Watson, Tony Whitfield

    Successful social innovation involves helping individuals, organizations, and communities develop the ability to devise effective, just, and sustainable solutions to social and environmental problems. The Social Innovation Initiative is an academic partnership designed to provide students in all colleges of The New School with the skills necessary to act as versatile change leaders in a variety of careers and in diverse sectors of society. This community of faculty and students engages in curricular and extracurricular educational experiences that address a number of contemporary social and environmental challenges, developing a foundation of understanding about social innovation, a body of applied research, creative and professional practice, and original methods of experiential teaching and learning. The initiative is supported by The New School for Public Engagement, Eugene Lang College, and Parsons and was inspired by an 2009 invitation from Ashoka University in Japan to The New School to join its Changemaker Campus Initiative.

    The Vera List Center for Art and Politics

    Carin Kuoni, Director

    The Vera List Center for Art and Politics was established with an endowment from the late university trustee Vera G. List with the mission of exploring the role of art in promoting a civic culture of tolerance and pluralism in the United States. The center supports research and public forums responsive to urgent social and political issues and their articulation by visual and performing artists. Its activities engage the New School community, the people of New York City, and national and international audiences in an an ongoing search for new possibilities for progressive civic engagement.

    View information about all university institutes and centers.