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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government

Forums and Events

Upcoming Events

Reconciliation as a Key to Societal Healing
WAMC's Linda Norris Auditorium, 339 Central Avenue, Albany
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Conversation on Global Peace and Reconciliation
Rockefeller Institute, 411 State Street, Albany, NY
Friday, April 21, 2017
1:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

2011 Forums and Events


New York in the World: The Impact of the
Global Economy on New York State and City

Friday, November 4, 2011

No place has achieved greater advantages or suffered worse losses due to globalization than New York City and New York State, a new report from the SUNY Levin Institute and Center for an Urban Future shows. At this forum, the report's authors discussed their findings, which they said tell a tale that is familiar but has not been comprehensively documented until now. Many findings revealed the unexpected. The story is not one strictly of upstate losses and downstate gains, for instance, and some upstate cities have fared better than others. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher (pictured, left) led the event, followed by Jonathan Bowles (right), director of the Center for an Urban Future, and Levin Institute President Garrick Utley (center). Following the report's presentation, Susan Arbetter of WCNY moderated a discussion among Bowles; Heather Briccetti, acting president of the Business Council of New York State; and Donald Siegel, dean of the University at Albany's School of Business.

Institute Forum summary
Slide presentation
Audio (entire event)

Entire event
Nancy Zimpher
Garrick Utley
Jonathan Bowles
Panel: Heather Briccetti, Jonathan Bowles, Donald Siegel
Question-and-Answer session


Chasing Criminals vs. Chasing Terrorists: Comparing Investigation Standards and Criminal Procedures in the Post-9/11 World — Reflections on the Patriot Act

Thursday, October 20, 2011

For many Americans, September 11, 2011 marked a great divide — a moment in both personal and national history that separated everything that came before from everything that came after. Perhaps nowhere was this divide more deeply felt than in law enforcement, where investigators' and prosecutors' perceptions and the rules governing their actions were dramatically altered. This forum featured key officials and experts in military and government security, who said today's approach to countering terrorism is more proactive and aimed at prevention than it was a decade ago. An attorney who defended an Albany man against terrorist charges cautioned against potential violation of civil rights under the new rules. Paul Clyne, who was Albany County's district attorney on 9/11, moderated. (Rick Mathews, director of the National Center for Security & Preparedness, is pictured at the podium, introducing Clyne.) Panelists (pictured sitting, left to right) included: Richard S. Hartunian, U.S. attorney, Northern District of New York; Boris Lederer, senior advisor, NCSP; James Horton, assistant director, New York State Police Office of Counter Terrorism; and Kevin Luibrand, defense counsel in United States of America v. Mohammed Mosharref Hossain. This program was presented with the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy and NCSP. It concluded a Rockefeller College series on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Institute Forum summary

Peter Goldmark

Governor Hugh L. Carey:
The Legacy for New York State

Monday, October 3, 2011

Governor Carey, who died August 7, served two terms as New York State’s chief executive from 1975 through 1982, entering the office during the most profound fiscal crisis to hit the state in modern times. His leadership is credited with saving New York City and New York State from fiscal catastrophe. His legacy also includes notable achievements in areas including services for the mentally disabled, the environment, mass transit, judicial reform, and rejuvenation of the state’s economy. This forum featured reflections from key members of the Carey administration; members of his family; experts in New York State government; and the author of a recent Carey biography. Participants included: Peter Goldmark (pictured), former New York State budget director; Nancy Carey Cassidy; Michael Carey; Gerald Benjamin, SUNY New Paltz; James Introne, commissioner of the Office of Mental Retardation and Development Disabilities in the Carey administration; E.J. McMahon, Empire Center for New York State Policy; Christine Ward, New York State Archives; and Seymour Lachman, author, The Man Who Saved New York.

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Audio (entire event)

Entire event
Michael Carey
Peter Goldmark
Panel: Gerald Benjamin, James Introne, E.J. McMahon
Presentation of book award by Christine Ward to Seymour Lachman
Nancy Carey Cassidy

Nancy Zimpher

How SUNY Matters: Economic Impacts of the
State University of New York

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher (pictured) introduced the report, How SUNY Matters: Economic Impacts of the State University of New York, and described how it relates to SUNY's strategic planning. University at Buffalo Regional Institute Director Kathryn A. Foster and Rockefeller Institute Director Thomas L. Gais reviewed findings from the report, produced by the institutes' researchers. The comprehensive statewide study finds that SUNY is positioned to be the critical force in building a new innovation economy for New York — with a broad and diverse array of economic development activities already in place across the 64-campus system, and with a growing potential to do more in the future. The study reported that the SUNY system had an economic impact of a minimum of $19.8 billion in 2008-09, based on the spending of its colleges and universities, students, employees and campus visitors. But the report found that the system is making an even more important contribution to New York's future economy — to the state's capacity to grow and produce jobs in the new economy of the 21st Century.

Slide presentation
Report: How SUNY Matters
Richard Jackson

The Budget Outlook for 2011, 2012 and Beyond

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New York’s adopted budget for this year restructures “the basic landscape” of the state’s fiscal future, Budget Director Robert L. Megna told a May 26 Rockefeller Institute forum. At the same time, Megna said, success of the plan depends on implementation of key elements — including a cap on Medicaid spending — that pose lingering challenges for policymakers. The forum also included discussion among Mr. Megna, Rockefeller Institute Senior Fellow Donald Boyd and Institute Deputy Director Robert Ward.

Institute Forum summary

Video: Robert Megna
Mr. Megna's slide presentation

Video: Discussion among Mr. Megna and Institute experts
Video: Question-and-Answer session
Richard Jackson

Expanding Public Health Insurance Under the Affordable Care Act: What New York Might Learn from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This lively, interactive forum focused on how some states are expanding public health coverage in implementing the federal legislation that passed last year. The forum kicked off with presentations from speakers representing states neighboring New York. Brian Rosman of Health Care for All Massachusetts described the five-year-old Massachusetts law that is the model for federal reform law. Jill Zorn of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut discussed legislation to establish a public option — a state-run insurance plan that would compete with private insurers — when Connecticut implements federal health reform. Robin Lunge (pictured, right) represented Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, who is expected to sign legislation authorizing Vermont to set up a single-payer health plan, which would cover all state residents and be funded by taxpayers. New York State Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon (pictured, center), Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried and Judy Arnold of the New York State Health Department spoke about past and current efforts aimed at expanding health coverage in New York. Also joining the forum were representatives of health insurance, hospital and insurance groups: Mary Clark (pictured, left) of Citizen Action of New York, a consumer advocacy group; Jeffrey Gold of the Health Care Association of New York State, a group of hospitals and health care networks; and Paul Macielak of New York Health Plan Association, a trade group for managed care insurance plans.


Richard JacksonRobert Scardamalia

The Impact of an Aging Society:
Globally, Nationally and in New York State

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Richard Jackson (pictured, top left), of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, presented his Global Aging Preparedness Index, describing the social and public-policy challenges arising from growing populations of older citizens around the world and the ways different countries are responding to those challenges. Robert Scardamalia (bottom left), currently of RLS Demographics and formerly the chief demographer for New York State, discussed current and future trends in the aging of New York’s population, especially upstate New York and the Capital Region. Such issues will have major impacts on state and local government budgets and policies in years to come, with particular relevance to health care, education and the social safety net. The forum was co-sponsored by the Albany Guardian Society.

Institute Forum summary

Video: Richard Jackson
Dr. Jackson's slide presentation

Video: Robert Scardamalia
Mr. Scardamalia's slide presentation

Video: Question-and-Answer session
John FasoRichard Brodsky

Should Wisconsin Come to New York?
The Intersection of Collective Bargaining,
Budgets and Politics

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Institute, in conjunction with the Government Law Center of Albany Law School, returned to the topic of the collective bargaining rights of public employees and the cost of employee compensation with a debate between former legislators John Faso (pictured, top left) and Richard Brodsky (bottom left). The issue has garnered national attention as states look at ways to reduce budget shortfalls; in Wisconsin in particular, a series of public protests surrounded the passage of legislation weakening public employees' collective bargaining rights. Faso, former minority leader of the Assembly and 2006 candidate for governor, argued that public employee unions have become too powerful, and force extraordinary and unnecessary costs on state and local governments. "Collective bargaining has gotten out of control in New York State, and it needs reform," he said. Brodsky, a former Assemblyman, countered that the ability of employees to come together to negotiate salaries and working conditions is a uniquely American right, and that union leaders were responsible enough to understand the state's fiscal concerns at the bargaining table. "Collective bargaining represents democracy in the workplace," Brodsky said.

Institute Forum summary

Video: Introduction by Abraham Lackman
Video: Faso's opening statement
Video: Brodsky's opening statement
Video: Debate between Faso and Brodsky
Video: Question-and-Answer session
Frank MauroE.J. McMahon

New York's Fiscal Condition and
Public Sector Labor Relations

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Public-employee compensation and collective bargaining rights are front-burner issues as New York and other states prepare budgets for the coming fiscal year. The Rockefeller Institute and the Labor Employment Relations Association, Capital Region Chapter, brought together two experts on New York State finances and policy to discuss these issues. Frank Mauro (pictured, top left), executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, and E.J. McMahon (bottom left), senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute’s Empire Center for New York State Policy, outlined their views in a forum moderated by Robert Ward, the Rockefeller Institute’s deputy director. Topics included the causes of and solutions to the state’s $10 billion projected budget gap; the appropriateness and value of public-sector collective bargaining; relevant context for consideration of public-employee compensation; and the question of whether public-sector retirement benefits should take the form of traditional pensions or defined-contribution systems similar to 401(k) plans.


David A. Lewis

Higher Education's Role in Economic Development

Monday, February 7, 2011

With President Obama and Governor Cuomo both calling higher ed the “key driver” of the innovation economy, the Institute pulled together five experts from the University at Albany to talk about what universities can do to help New York State. Laura Schultz, an assistant professor at the College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering, discussed the role of leading-edge research partnerships in spurring regional economic growth. Jim King, state director of the New York State Small Business Development Center, discussed programs that advise more than 15,000 small businesses a year. Jason Lane, assistant professor of education administration and policy and a senior fellow at the Rockefeller Institute, described U.S. higher education as a global leader – one other countries are eager to emulate. Gene Bunnell, associate professor of UAlbany’s Department of Geography and Planning, stressed the importance of higher education institutions in improving their communities’ quality of life. And David A. Lewis (pictured), also in the Department of Geography and Planning, talked about how university-based business incubators have exceptional track records in spurring the creation of new business. All five stressed the importance of stronger support for public higher education.

Institute Forum summary
Audio (Full)

Video: Introduction by UAlbany President George Philip
Video: Laura Schultz
Video: Jim King
Video: Jason Lane
Video: Gene Bunnell
Video: David A. Lewis
Video: Question-and-Answer session