Public Engagement

Centers and Institutes

  • Center for New York City Affairs

    Kristin Morse, Director

    The Center for New York City Affairs at The New School is an applied policy research institute that drives innovation in social policy and seeks to improve the effectiveness of government and other organizations in their work with low-income urban communities. We focus on the moments where people's lives intersect with government and community organizations in order to illuminate the impact of public policies on ordinary people. We are committed to constant collaboration with government and nonprofit organizations, residents, advocates, researchers, and journalists. The Center is widely recognized for its role as a nonpartisan broker of information and analysis. Our projects include Child Welfare Watch, Feet in Two WorldsInsideschools, College Ready Communities, public forums, and the politics and advocacy specialization at Milano.

    The Community Development Finance Lab

    Charles Allison, Director 
    Kevin McQueen, Instructor

    The Community Development Finance Project (CDFP) seeks to connect the private, public, and philanthropic capital markets with the dynamic fields of community development, social innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainability management, and design. Its core mission is to teach an array of broad-based community development skills and in-depth knowledge of finance through its signature course, the Community Development Finance Lab. The course engages students over two semesters in an innovative curriculum grounded in client-based work and sustained through networks with practicing professionals in the field. Additionally, CDFP is committed to building and expanding the field and practice of community development and nonprofit finance through the replication of its curriculum and practicum-based learning at other universities, as well to sharing of knowledge through applied research and community 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 Observatory on Latin America

    Michael Cohen, Co-Director 
    Margarita Gutman, Co-Director

    The Observatory on Latin America (OLA) was founded in 2006 and is housed within the Graduate Program for International Affairs, The Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy. OLA improves academic and public understanding of political and economic change underway in Latin America by observing and studying the unique processes of the region and fosters a public dialogue across the United States and Latin America about the challenges of building social democracy in a globalized world. The Observatory also works to create opportunities for Latin American leaders to directly express their views to audiences in the United States. Finally, by collaborating with Latin American institutions, OLA works to further these objectives, mobilize institutions, and develop ideas. The OLA's work is organized through its central programs including Design and Development, Latin America on the Move, Building Bicentennials, and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. The OLA is also home of the President Néstor Kirchner Fellowship, launched in 2011. In conjunction with the Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Argentina, The President Néstor Kirchner Fellowship is aimed at training young leaders in South America. The Fellowship is inspired by the legacy and achievements of former President Néstor Kirchner during his term as President of Argentina (2003–2007) and as the first Secretary General of UNASUR (2010).

    The Social Innovation Initiative

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

    Social innovation aims to enhance the capacity of individuals, communities, and organizations to devise effective, just, and sustainable solutions to social and environmental problems. The New School's Social Innovation Initiative is a cross-divisional partnership between the Schools of Public Engagement, Parsons, and Lang, designed to provide students with the skills needed to become versatile changemakers able to lead across diverse career pathways and within diverse sectors. The Initiative offers curricular and extracurricular educational experiences to enable students to address contemporary social and environmental challenges. The New School community of faculty and students is developing a foundation of knowledge about social innovation, a body of applied research and creative and professional practice, and methods of experiential teaching and learning. The initiative was catalyzed by the invitation from Ashoka U for The New School to join its Changemaker Campus Initiative in 2009.

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