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Named for the 106th Mayor of the nation's largest city and the first African American Mayor elected in New York City, the David N. Dinkins Leadership & Public Policy Forum provides a vehicle for analysis, focus and dialogue around the dynamic elements of urban policies, programs, and initiatives.

For the past 20 years, this annual forum has addressed many of the challenging issues including education, the environment, labor, tourism, immigration and fiscal crises that successful and urban ecosystems must contend with.

In March, Professor Dinkins welcomed U.S. Representative and civil rights leader John Lewis, one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, to deliver Keynote remarks.  Congressman Lewis discussed his belief that “when we see something that is not right, not fair, not just, we have a moral obligation, a mission, and a mandate to speak up, speak out, and get in the way.” From 1963 to 1966, Lewis was Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). At the age of 23, he was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic 1963 March on Washington. In 1964, John Lewis coordinated voter registration efforts during the Mississippi Freedom Summer and on March 7, 1965, Lewis attempted to lead over 600 protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, hastening the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Arrested over 40 timesin his lifetime of activism, he was recently arrested again for demonstrating on the Capitol grounds to support an effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Lewis’s keynote was followed by a panel discussion on reframing economic and political citizenship moderated by Prof. Ester Fuchs, which included Michael Nutter, the David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs and former Mayor of Philadelphia; David Goodman, President, Andrew Goodman Foundation; Verna Eggleston, Head of Women’s Economic Development, Bloomberg Philanthropies; and Michael Waldman, President, Brennan Center for Justice, NYU School of Law.

Honorable John Lewis has joined the Forum's legacy of keynoters that includes notables such as Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Vice President Al Gore, Rep. Charles Rangel, Mayors Ed Rendell, Michael Nutter, Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio, and labor leaders John Sweeney, Lillian Roberts, Randi Weingarten and Dennis Rivera.

21st Annual David N. Dinkins Leadership & Public Policy Forum


Spring 2018
Columbia University