Rhonda Singer, '72 YAA Rep, Reports on Latest Assembly

Rhonda Singer, ’72 YAA Rep, Reports on Latest Assembly

December 6, 2021 in Events, Notes

RHONDA SINGER, our Class of 1972 YAA representative, has filed the following report on the most recent YAA Assembly:
The Assembly and Convocation 2021, a combined activity of the Yale Alumni Association, and the Yale Alumni Fund, took place, virtually, from November 4 through November 6. The theme, as expressed by President Peter Salovey, was “Collaborating for Impact – Yale’s Multidisciplinary Approach to Global Challenges”, an endeavor which he described as having a “nearly existential urgency”. With a strong focus on climate change, which the whole of Yale is addressing, President Salovey described efforts across campus, by engineers, scientists, and humanists, to break down interdisciplinary barriers and prepare future leaders for the challenges ahead. With the introduction of Yale’s newest School, the Jackson School of Global Affairs, and a major $100 MM gift from FedEx, Yale is exploring issues of global health, political instability, and cyber warfare, on a global scale.
Thursday’s session opened with a wide-ranging panel for alumni on Non-Profit Governance and Best Practices in Starting a Non-Profit organization, as well as a presentation on 1st Gen. Yale, led by its founder, Lise Chapman, ’81.
In the Opening Plenary Session, President Salovey held a dynamic conversation with Secretary John Kerry on climate change. Secretary Kerry emphasized that, while we’re not where we need to be, climate change can be managed successfully, and that the next 10 years are crucial. He sees the world as being in a “moment of global responsibility”,and is undergoing a technological transformation that is the biggest since the Industrial Revolution. He stressed the need for a united global effort, with a strong role for universities. Secretary Kerry said that there is “no automatic pilot for democracy”, and that the cause now relates to our freedom and liberty. Yet, he concluded optimistically that managing climate change ” is so do-able”, and in fact cheaper to do than not to do.
Friday’s session led with a spirited description of the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs, by alum Jim Levinsohn, a founder of the School, which is to open officially next fall. The School is organized around four key areas of global challenge: 1) international security, 2) international economics, 3) international social, political, and economic development, and 4) the global “public good”, including climate change and global health. The aim is to create a best-in-class School, tightly integrated with the rest of Yale, and building bridges with Yale’s Schools of Management, Law, Environment, Public Health, and other schools. There will be a new undergraduate Global Affairs Major in Yale College, as well as a graduate program, with a strong “ladder” Faculty, supplemented by Jackson Senior Fellows (who are policy professionals), with an aim to have graduates go on to careers in government, NGO’s, and the private sector.
The next session, entitled “Joint Degrees Making an Impact: A Conversation with Yale Deans”, was led by Dean Tamar Gendler, and featured the Deans of the Divinity, Environment, Management, and Public Health Schools, all of whom described the many and varied joint degree programs offered by their schools.
The following session, “Beyond Tradition: Certificate Programs in Yale College”, was led by Dean Marvin Chun. The panelists explained that Certificate programs functioned as a form of “minors” or ‘miniature majors” in various interdisciplinary fields, such as Education, Global Health and Energy Studies, and reflected a high level of skill obtained by the student in the fields. Students commented that they liked having “something to show for it”, upon completion of a certificate program. Interestingly, participants asked if such certificate programs could be made available to Yale alumni.
An additional session, entitled “Environmental Justice: Toward a More Sustainable and Equitable Future For All”, continued to explore the large themes of climate change, public health, and economic security. The speakers acknowledged the difficulties in measuring progress in these areas, while emphasizing the necessary value of social justice as the overall aim.
At Saturday’s session, three current Yale Trustees, Annette Thomas, Carlos Moreno, and Chip Goodyear, emphasized their mission of advancing President Salovey’s goals, and recognized the importance of respect both for Yale’s individual community members, as well as for the University as a whole.
All in all, the Assembly overcame the limits of the virtual platform, and its speakers and participants managed vibrantly to convey the current goals and aims of Yale’s global impact efforts.

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