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NYU Washington, DC Celebrates Five Years!

On 7 December, NYU Washington, DC will be celebrating its five year anniversary.

NYU alumni, parents, students, and families are invited to join in toasting to the five-year anniversary of the Washington, DC campus!

Enjoy holiday music, a champagne toast, and desserts provided by local alumni entrepreneurs Meredith Tomason(CAS ’02) of RareSweets, Colin Hartman (CAS ’07) of Harper Macaw Chocolate Makers, and Connie Milstein (WSC ’69) of Dog Tag Bakery!

NYU Washington, DC director, Michael Ulrich, will also provide reflections on the campus’ signature achievements and exciting vision for the years ahead.

NYU Washington, DC Hosts Jennifer Weiss-Wolf: Periods Gone Public

In an otherwise treacherous political era for women’s bodies and health, activists and lawmakers are advancing a new, affirmative agenda – for the very first time, one that meshes menstruation and public policy. From tax reform to public benefits to corrections policy, periods have become the surprising force fueling a high-profile, bipartisan movement.

On 29 November, NYU Washington, DC hosted the Brennan Center’s Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, author of Periods Gone Public, and Malaka Gharib, Deputy Editor and Digital Strategist of NPR’s Goats and Soda, to learn more about how this campaign emerged, why the issue resonates across party lines, and what is next for “menstrual equity.” Gretchen Borchelt of the National Women’s Law Center and Congresswoman Grace Meng, (NY-6), sponsor of the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2017 (H.R. 972), introduced the conversation. Discussion was lively and illuminating.


This program is produced by The Brennan Center for Justice in partnership with the National Women’s Law Center, the NYU John Brademas Center, and NYU Washington, DC.

N.I.C.E. Film Festival Opens at NYU Washington, DC

The N.I.C.E. Film Festival will open today at NYU Washington, DC. A number of films will be shown over the next week. NYU Washington, DC, the Italian Cultural Institute and N.I.C.E. (New Italian Cinema Events)  open the festival with a screening of Children of the Night (Figli della notte).

N.I.C.E. is a non-for-profit cultural organization that was founded in 1991 by a group of film professionals and which has consequently grown into one of the most important expressions of Italian cinematography abroad. The goal of the organization is to promote New Italian Cinema abroad, through a series of film festivals and cultural exchanges. Every year, Nice organizes festivals in the United States, Russia, England, and China. The festival in the USA, taking place every November, is the first one to be organized every year and the oldest for N.I.C.E.

N.I.C.E. is a non-for-profit cultural organization that was founded in 1991 by a group of film professionals and which has consequently grown into one of the most important expressions of Italian cinematography abroad. The goal of the organization is to promote New Italian Cinema abroad, through a series of film festivals and cultural exchanges. Every year, Nice organizes festivals in the United States, Russia, England, and China. The festival in the USA, taking place every November, is the first one to be organized every year and the oldest for N.I.C.E.

The Italian Cultural Institute in Washington DC (IIC) is an official organization of the Italian government dedicated to the promotion of Italian language and culture in the United States. It is part of a network including more than 80 cultural institutes worldwide. Since its foundation in 1980, the IIC acts as a lively go-between for Italy and United States and as a reference point for the best in Italian Art, Cinema, Music, Theatre, Design, and Performances in the DC Metro Area.

For information about upcoming films, visit the NYU Washington, DC events page here.

NYU Washington, DC Students Start Two Podcast Series

NYU Washington, DC Students Raven Quesenberry, Meagen Tajalle, Dillon Fournier, and Dominick Nardone have started two podcast series: Talk the Walk and My Friend on the Hill. Both series gather perspectives on civic engagement and activism and working in government and politics. The students talk to a diverse set of DC’s players and insiders and engage in lively discussions.

Give their episodes a listen on the NYU Washington, DC SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/nyuwashingtondc

Focus on the EU at NYU Washington, DC

On September 28, NYU Washington DC will host the fourth event in a series focused on the European Union as part of its EU in Focus series. EU in Focus is a series designed to enhance a student’s working-knowledge of the European Union. In close partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to the United States, NYU Washington, DC’s EU in Focus lecture series considers critical issues in a professional rather than conventionally academic setting.  NYU Washington, DC students who attend all DC sessions will be eligible to apply for a student leadership retreat to Brussels, the heart of the EU government. The retreat is organized jointly with NYU Florence and will be October 26 – 31.

The European Union represents the largest trading bloc and international donor in the world. It has the largest GDP; the third largest population; and is among the highest ranking in the world for health, education and living conditions. Europe remains the most important commercial and investment partner for the United States. The EU comprises a nuclear power, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and multiple seats on the G-20. From the escalating terror in its southern and eastern neighbors to Russia’s increasingly aggressive military confrontations, Europe borders regions most strategic to U.S. foreign policy and faces some of the 21st century’s most pressing security challenges. Despite these increasingly consequential and visible tensions, the “European Miracle” remains as relevant to international affairs as it was during the Cold War.

The program on 28 September is US and the EU: The Transatlantic Fight against TerrorismThe session will be presented by Laura Kupe, a Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation. This fourth and final seminar will examine the importance of the US-EU relationship, highlighting specifically the transatlantic dialogue on security cooperation. The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the subsequent revelation of Al Qaeda cells across Europe strengthened both sides’ commitment to combating terrorism, but challenges persist in fostering a closer US-EU security partnership. How has the heightened threat posed by the Islamic State influenced the transatlantic security policy agenda? This workshop will assess the Atlantic community’s most pressing security threats and explore the progress to date and ongoing challenges of US-EU counterterrorism efforts.

The earlier sessions in this series covered a range of interesting and engaging topics.

The series opened on September 7 with the program Fundamentals of the European Union. Timothy Rivera, Programs Officer at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States, presented the introductory workshop. It provides an overview of the origins and governing structure of the European Union. To understand the development of the 28-member bloc, this lecture examined the cultural, historical and strategic background of the European integration experiment, from World War II to present day.

The next session, on September 12, focused on The Evolving EU Governmental System. H.E. Pierre Clive Agius, Ambassador of the Republic of Malta to the United States of America, explored the unique governing system of the supranational entity. By participating in this seminar, students gained a basic understanding of the EU’s institutional framework and decision-making process. The lecture focused on the governmental innovations introduced in the Lisbon Treaty and the EU’s roadmap for social, economic and foreign and security policy.

The third session, Brexit Aftershocks: Economic and Political Implications, took place on 21 September. Lead by H.E. Dirk Wouters, Ambassador of Belgium to the United States of America, this program considered various aspects of Brexit and its aftermath. In the weeks following the United Kingdom’s fateful EU referendum, Great Britain experienced a sharp fall in the British Pound, record-low interest rate cuts, and a change of government and cabinet reshuffle. The United Kingdom is once again entering unchartered territory as the nation prepares to negotiate its exit from the European Union. Theresa May, Britain’s Prime Minister, has promised to secure the best possible deal for the UK, but many questions regarding the timeline of the negotiations and how Brexit will affect immigration, trade, and global markets, remain unanswered. This seminar revisited the implications of Britain’s historic vote and walked students through the next steps in this unprecedented geopolitical divorce.

NYU Washington, DC Hosts Dialogue on Ending Human Trafficking

It is estimated that 20.9 million people globally are victims of modern day slavery. This multi-billion dollar human trafficking industry can strip its victims of their freedom through many forms, from prostitution to involuntary servitude, and can happen anywhere.

On May 9, NYU Washington, DC will welcome U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Cindy McCain for a dialogue on the fight to #EndHumanTrafficking. ­­

Senator Heidi Heitkamp

U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp is the first female Senator elected from North Dakota. She took the oath of office on January 3, 2013.

Senator Heitkamp grew up in a large family in the small town of Mantador, North Dakota. Alongside her six brothers and sisters, she learned the value of hard work and responsibility, leading her to choose a life of public service.

Already in her short time in the U.S. Senate, Senator Heitkamp has quickly become a proven senator who works across the aisle to fight for North Dakotans. Senator Heitkamp has personally shown that if senators work together, it can lead to real solutions.

As a former director of the one-of-a-kind Dakota Gasification synfuels plant, Senator Heitkamp has a long record of serving as a champion for North Dakota’s energy jobs and industry. She is continuing those efforts in the Senate, working to responsibly harness North Dakota’s energy resources, promoting the state’s all-of-the-above energy plan which she believes should serve as a model for the entire country, and fighting to lift the 40-year old ban on exporting U.S. crude oil.

Senator Heitkamp sits on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, where she has been fighting for North Dakota’s farmers and ranchers to make sure they get the resources and support they need to continue to feed North Dakota, the country, and the world. Starting on day one in the Senate, she helped write, negotiate, and pass a long-term, comprehensive Farm Bill which Congress passed in 2014.

As a member on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Senator Heitkamp is continuing her pledge — from her time as North Dakota’s Attorney General — to stand up for Native American families and make sure the U.S. government lives up to its treaty and trust responsibilities. The first bill she introduced in the Senate would better protect Native children and make sure they have the economic and educational tools to thrive.

Through her leadership on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Senator Heitkamp has pushed to reform the nation’s housing finance system, make housing more affordable, address North Dakota’s housing shortage, and provide relief to small financial institutions.

On the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Senator Heitkamp serves as the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management. Through her work on the Committee, Senator Heitkamp has pushed to provide training and resources for first responders, improve mail delivery and service in rural communities, help recruit and retain a strong federal workforce, and cut red tape to make the federal government more efficient and effective for North Dakota families and small businesses.

Senator Heitkamp also serves on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship where she has worked to support the small businesses and startups throughout North Dakota and rural communities. She introduced a bill to address challenges facing startups in North Dakota, as well as other rural states and small cities, by helping them get the early stage funding they need to grow their businesses.

Senator Heitkamp previously served as North Dakota’s Attorney General, battling drug dealers, protecting senior citizens from scams, and working to keep sexual predators off streets and away from kids, even after their prison terms were up.

During her time as North Dakota’s Attorney General, Senator Heitkamp brokered an agreement between 46 states and the tobacco industry, which forced the tobacco industry to tell the truth about smoking and health. The settlement resulted in the award of about $336 million to North Dakota taxpayers to date. It was one of the largest civil settlements in U.S. history. When very little of this funding was being spent on anti-tobacco programs as intended, Senator Heitkamp led a successful ballot initiative in 2008 that mandated significant increases.

Previously, Senator Heitkamp served as North Dakota’s Tax Commissioner. Under her tenure, the State of North Dakota attempted to make catalog retailers collect the sales tax the state and municipalities were already owed on sales. The debate went all the way to the Supreme Court in the case Quill v. North Dakota.

Senator Heitkamp received a B.A. from the University of North Dakota and a law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School. She lives in Mandan, North Dakota with her husband, Dr. Darwin Lange, a family practitioner. They have two children, Ali and Nathan.

Cindy McCain

Mrs. Cindy Hensley McCain has spent her life fighting on behalf of women and children, and has been a strong leader in the fight against human trafficking.

From serving as the Chair of The McCain Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council and Co-Chair of the Arizona Governor’s Council on Human Trafficking. She works seamlessly across political, public, and private lines and has engaged with the National Football League, The International Center for Sports Security, both the Democratic Republican National Committees, Polaris, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Google and many other organizations to work to eradicate human trafficking.  She has advised members in the fight against trafficking in London, Kenya, Congo, Cambodia and the Ivory Coast.

Cindy serves as co-chair of the Arizona Governor’s Council on human trafficking and on the McCain Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council.   She is dedicated to efforts to reduce human trafficking in Arizona, throughout the United States and around the world, as well as working to improve the lives of victims of human trafficking. Through her work with the McCain Institute, several partnerships have been formed with anti-trafficking organizations working on solving various aspects of the problem.

Mrs. McCain has worked to shed a light on the different facets of every day life that are affected by human trafficking, such as law enforcement, healthcare, the internet and child welfare systems.  She addresses human trafficking at an international level, by heading directly to the frontlines of the world with the most vulnerable populations subject to human trafficking. On the shorelines of Greece and Turkey, Mrs. McCain worked with organizations to educate refugees on the signs of human trafficking and how to avoid falling prey to traffickers. She has travelled extensively around the world learning more about the issue and the multitude of ways to fight this heinous crime.

She is on the Board of Directors of Project C.U.R.E and also sits on the Advisory Boards of Too Small To Fail and Warriors and Quiet Waters. Cindy holds an undergraduate degree in Education and a Master’s in Special Education from USC and is a member of the USC Rossier School of Education Board of Councilors.

Mrs. Cindy Hensley McCain passionately fights to stop human trafficking by convening academics, politicians, corporation officials, and technology experts to work together to stop this crime against humanity.

NYU Washington D.C. Hosts Briefing on Islamophobia

©NYU Photo Bureau: Creighton

On March 13, NYU Washington D.C.’s John Brademas Center of New York University hosted a briefing, The Roles of Arts & Culture in Addressing Islamophobia. The schedule brought together funders working on these issues and provided an opportunity for leading scholars, thinkers, and activists to share their views.

Islamophobia is escalating rapidly across the country, fueling fear, discrimination and hate crimes against Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities. In recent months, we have borne witness to a growing number of hostile acts including vandalism, intimidation and verbal and physical attacks on vulnerable people. This growing crisis has propelled multidisciplinary funders to seek out new ideas and strategies to be responsive to galloping need.

©NYU Photo Bureau: Creighton

The funders briefing was a day of learning and discussion with creative thought leaders, artists and philanthropy professionals on how arts and culture can diffuse the cultural tensions and “othering” that drive Islamophobia. What is the role of art in shifting cultural narratives? What kind of creative partnerships and collaborations can serve as an effective response to encourage pluralism and harmony in our communities? What meaningful mechanisms currently exist or can be adapted to magnify mutual wellbeing?

This briefing offered a chance for funders to weigh these and other vital questions and propose concrete next steps for action.

The event was also co-hosted by ArtPlace America, Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Ford Foundation, New York Community Trust, New York Foundation, Philanthropy New York.

NYU Washington, DC Hosts Conference with Environmental Journalists and Others on Reporting During the Trump Administration

On Saturday, February 4, NYU Washington, DC and the Society of Environmental Journalists presented a mini conference, The Trump Administration and the Environment: A Reporter’s Primer, to discuss water and energy issues, EPA policies, environmental advocacy and public opinion in the new Trump Administration.

Speakers included Myron Ebell, the head of the Trump transition team for EPA; Scott Segal, a fossil fuels industry attorney for Bracewell; Bob Perciasepe, Center for Climate & Energy Solutions and former Obama and Clinton EPA appointee; and a panel of reporters who have covered Donald Trump and his appointees to head EPA and the Department of Energy.

In Conversation with Politics Professor Patrick Egan: A J-Term Course Considers the Causes and Consequences of the 2016 Election


Patrick Egan, Associate Professor of Policy and Public Policy in NYU’s Department of Politics, discusses the January Term course he taught at NYU Washington, DC, The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election – Causes and Consequences, and more.

How did you come to teach at NYU Washington, DC? Is this your first time teaching at an NYU location outside of NYC? How have you found the experience?

This is my first time teaching at a site beyond NYC. However, I have been associated with the site for awhile as I am the chair of the site specific advisory committee for NYU Washington, DC. So I am a big believer in NYU DC and the unique role it can play in providing students a real world view of politics and policy that you can only get in the nation’s capital. I have long admired the staff and the site so it has been gratifying to teach here. The experience has been inspiring and rewarding, especially seeing how well we were able to leverage the resources of the site to put together a great course for the students.

As a professor in the NYU Department of Politics, how have you viewed the establishment of NYU Washington, DC? Do you think that time in the nation’s capital is valuable for students’ academic and personal development? If so, how do you think that value manifests?

In the NYU Politics Department in New York, I am one of a community of faculty committed to teaching politics in a fairly analytical and social scientific fashion. We are focused on statistics, economic analysis, data – all of which are very important for gaining insight to questions about politics and public policy. NYU Washington, DC is thus an important complement to our studies in New York because it provides students with direct exposure to people and issues that also inform politics and policy. It can give students real-world experience in putting analytical tools into practice and to see how they can effect positive change.

The class at the Supreme Court.

The class at the Supreme Court.

I understand that you taught a January term course at NYU Washington, DC – The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election – Causes and Consequences. Can you describe how you decided to develop this course?

As the 2016 campaign began in earnest after Labor Day, a number of us working with the NYU Washington, DC site tossed around idea of a January Term course. Our thinking was that the goal would be to provide students with the opportunity to assess what happened during the campaign and what we might expect to come due the result. Our vision was to provide standard political science treatments of politics and public policy while integrating them with the resources and people that are part of the NYU Washington, DC network. We thought this would be a powerful and illuminating combination for our students. In planning the course, despite the pundits’ focus on a Clinton victory, we kept in mind the real possibility that Donald Trump could win, so we made plans that anticipated either outcome. There was an unexpectedly large enrollment for the course before the election even happened–and very few students dropped the course after the result was clear. This demonstrated to me that students were interested and on board regardless of which candidate won. I should note that the schedule we put together for the course is really a tribute to NYU Washington, DC’s wide-reaching network of people in Washington who have experience in all aspects of politics and public policy. If you look at our syllabus, just about every day students are meeting people with expertise in campaigns, policy-making, and strategy from across the political spectrum. Bringing in such a rich array of experts is a testament to what a tremendous site NYU Washington, DC has become in a short time.

What are the major themes you will cover in the course? What kinds of students are enrolled?

We are covering two broad questions in the course. The first is understanding what happened: what created the extraordinary campaign of 2016 and the result, and what it means for elections and politics going forward. The second is focused on what the election means for public policy in DC and across the fifty states: understanding elections and voting as well as the consequences for American public policy at federal and state level.

I have been delighted to see interest from a wide range of students. We have 51 students enrolled. This is a much larger group than originally envisioned, but we were able to engineer the course to accommodate more students. The student group is quite diverse. We have freshman as well as seniors, many politics majors, but also those who have never taken a politics course. If has been a very nice opportunity to work with a really heterogeneous group of students. Some have been to DC before, have interned on Capital Hill or elsewhere, and others are new to Washington and learning from their peers.

The class at the State Department.

The class at the State Department.

Being in Washington, I understand you have structured the course to include many significant guest lecturers and visits to key institutions. How does that influence the learning process for students? What have been the greatest learning experiences of this course, both for you and for the students?

I think the best way to demonstrate how this has enriched the course is to mention just a few of the people who have come to speak and whom we have met with. This included Tad Devine, chief strategist for Bernie Sanders and a long-time Democratic strategist, who also teaches at NYU Washington, DC. We recently had Jonathan Capehart, a prominent columnist at The Washington Post. We also heard from Ron Christie, a former advisor to the Bush White House, who will also teach a course at NYU Washington, DC starting in February. We visited Capitol Hill for briefing sessions with two members of Congress who are also NYU Alums – Diana DeGette of Colorado and Martha Roby of Alabama. It was great to hear from two women in Congress, and it was also fascinating because they represent very different districts. Representative DeGette’s district includes Denver and its suburbs and is very liberal. Representative Roby’s district is conservative and includes Montgomery as well as military bases and rural areas of Alabama.

The class visits Capitol Hill

The class visits Capitol Hill

In addition to your research and work on public opinion and institutions in American politics, the formation of political attitudes, and LGBT issues and politics, I understand you regularly comment on such matters in the media, including as an elections analyst for NBC news as part of the network’s Exit Poll Desk team. Can you give us any insights as to what the 2016 election means for the future of US politics? And can you tell us about your experience at NBC this year – what was the most interesting moment doing that analysis?

The most interesting moment was late on election night, or rather early the next morning at about 1:30 a.m.. Several states were still uncalled and everyone at the Decision Desk was trying to understand and explain an election result that very few people had seen coming. The most interesting and important aspect of this was how much professionalism everyone on the team exhibited. Everyone was dedicated in the moment to getting it right and thinking through the consequences of a big decision – calling the election for Donald Trump, which NBC finally did shortly after 2 a.m.. It was an exhausting night, and we didn’t leave the room until 4:00 am, but the professionalism and objectivity of everyone on the team was inspiring.

In terms of the future of US politics, probably the biggest development we saw in terms of voting in the 2016 election was a complete about-face in trends among white voters. In 2016, there was a clear distinction between white voters without a college education and those with a college education. Typically these groups move in concert with one another: if one group swings to the Republicans, so does the other But this is the first time since we’ve been doing exit polling that shows working class and educated white voters moving in opposite directions: compared to 2012, less-educated whites moved to Trump while more educated whites moved to Clinton. Is this the new normal or was there something specific about the Trump – Clinton match up that lead to this change in voting? This is the $64,000 question we’ll need to watch over next few years

What has been most rewarding for you about teaching at NYU Washington, DC?

Definitely working with the students. It is a special kind of student who wants to spend three weeks of their winter vacation studying politics and public policy: a young person who is really interested in these issues and maybe thinking about a career in public service. Many of these students arrived with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of what happened during the election, a real intellectual interest in the subject matter, and a commitment to understanding. This makes my job as a teacher all the more delightful.

Finally, to students who were unable to take your J-Term course on the election but want to learn more about its causes and consequences, what resources would you suggest?

They should come and take courses in the Politics department at NYU! We have a lot of offerings that will help students understand the 2016 election and its consequences. I would of course also say that they should consider spending a semester at NYU Washington, DC. Beyond NYU, most of the standard resources out there are good. For example, the New York Times still has a great set of resources available: maps, graphs, tables of data, analysis of numbers on exit polls. Another place to look to is a blog hosted at The Washington Post called The Monkey Cage. It was co-founded by a colleague of mine in the NYU Politics Department, Josh Tucker, and is a well-regarded resource for up-to-the-minute developments in politics and public policy.

NYU Washington, DC Hosts Vice President Joe Biden to Discuss Politics

1480523460703On December 8, NYU School of Law, in cooperation with NYU Washington, DC and the Law School’sLegislative and Regulatory Process Clinic, debuted the inaugural Sidley Austin Forum.  This annual forum, supported by a gift from international law firm Sidley Austin, explored topics critical to American democracy. Entitled, “A New American Political System?” the forum discussion was lively.

In the wake of the 2016 elections, the program addressed the evolving role of political parties, the state and direction of campaign finance law, changes in news and social media, and related topics.

Vice President Joe Biden delivered remarks at the inaugural Sidley Austin Forum hosted by NYU School of Law at NYU Washington, DC. Students also had the opportunity to engage with the Vice President both formally and informally. It was an exciting experience for all and an auspicious start to this program. A video of Vice President Biden’s remarks is available here.

Vice President Joe Biden takes group photos with NYU students at the NYU Global Academic Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 8, 2016. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Vice President Joe Biden takes group photos with NYU students at the NYU Global Academic Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 8, 2016. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Vice President Joe Biden takes group photos with NYU students at the NYU Global Academic Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 8, 2016. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Vice President Joe Biden takes group photos with NYU students at the NYU Global Academic Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 8, 2016. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)