Alumni and Friends

Alumni Events

Ruth Brandwein, PhD'78, and Phyllis Hersch, PhD'77, co-hosted the June 24 PhD Reunion: the First 25 years
MPP Program Director Michael Doonan hosted the domestic career panel during the 17th Annual DC Heller Alumni Reception
alumni holding paintings
Heller Alumni Association Board Member Isaac K. Cudjoe, MA COEX'18 and Adam Motenko, MBA'16, hosted DC-area alumni for a painting event Nov. 16.
students with an alumna at networking night
Students and alumni mingled during Alumni Networking Night on Nov. 14
alumni in Uganda
Heller Board of Advisors Member Charles Nalyaali, MA SID'98, and MS GHPM Program Director AK Nandakumar hosted a get-together for alumni in Uganda.
alumnus and student at holding muffins
Former Heller professor Walter Leutz, PhD'81, was one of the alumni who attended Heller's bi-annual muffin breakfast, sponsored by the Heller Alumni Association.
David Weil and Tom Perez on stage
Democratic National Committee Chair and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez discussed his career, progressive politics and his strategy for advancing Democratic candidates in 2020 with Dean David Weil.
Jeanette Takamura, PhD’85, Heller Alumni Association Board member, hosted a dinner in the Ginza area of Tokyo, Japan for prospective students and alumni.
Africa Night included a panel discussion and debate, food, a fashion show, a student-produced documentary, live theater, and performances by emerging artists from the Heller community. 
2019 Heller Award winners: Dean Weil, Prof. Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, PhD student Alexandra Kritikos, Scientist Rachel Sayko Adams, Associate Director for Academic Affairs Marc Kiredjian, Bria Price, MPP'19 and Meghna Kanthan '22.
Dean Weil talking to a student
Heller alumni gathered at the 16th Annual Washington, DC Alumni Reception to reconnect with old friends and professors, hear from Dean Weil and network with current students.
Cupcakes for everyone! Students, faculty and staff celebrated Heller's No. 7 ranking in social policy from US News & World Report with tasty blue treats at our Heller Town Hall.
Activist and Kennedy School lecturer Marshall Ganz shared how he learned "the craft of organizing," first as a volunteer with the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964 and later in his work with Cesar Chavez.
Professor Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld led a panel on "Negotiation & Conflict Resolution in the Trump Era."
Heller students came together for International Mother Language Day, dressing in traditional clothing and dancing and singing in front of Heller community members.

We're excited to share a great slate of events below for our alumni and friends to stay connected to Heller. Make sure to update your information to receive emails about upcoming events and receive monthly updates. You may also refer to the Brandeis Alumni Events Calendar for more event opportunities.

Upcoming Events: 

Brandeis Alumni, Parents, and Friends in Africa - Zoom Reception and Q&A with President Ron Liebowitz

Tuesday, February 23, 2021
12 pm ET (US) | 6-7 pm WAT | 7-8 pm CAT | 7-8 pm SAST | 8-9 pm EAT

If you are interested in attending this event, please contact Kate Kaplan.

Calling all alumni in Africa!  Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz and his wife Jessica cordially invite you to a Zoom Reception and Q&A for Heller and Brandeis Alumni, Parents, and Friends in Africa.

"Brandeis in the Time of COVID-19 and Beyond" Moderated by Heller alum and Board of Advisors member, Charles Nalyaali, MA SID’98, P’20. Heller Professor Joseph Assan will be joining as moderator for the Q&A portion of the program. Please share this event with fellow Heller alumni in Africa. This session will be recorded for your convenience.


Unfair and Unequal: Covid-19 and People with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

Monday, Feb 22, 2021, 12:00-1:30 pm ET

Join the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy and the Community Living Policy Center for a webinar discussion between disability community members, self-advocates, and policy researchers. This conversation will elevate the policy and lived experience impacts of COVID-19 among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Leaders and experts from the disability community will consider lessons learned, future federal policies, and ways that policies that promote Home and Community-based Services can provide more equitable social justice during this pandemic.

This discussion will include:
  • Moderator: Joe Caldwell, Director of the Community Living Policy Center
  • Angel Miles, Healthcare/home and Community Based Services Policy Analysis at Access Living
  • Julia Bascom, Executive Director at Autistic Self Advocacy Network
  • Nicole LeBlanc, National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems Group Coordinator, Disability Policy expert.
  • Scott Landes, Associate Professor of Sociology, Aging Studies Institute, Syracuse University
We have requested CART services and ASL translation. For any other accommodations please contact us at as soon as possible.

Previous Events: 


5th Annual Stanley Wallack Distinguished Memorial Lecture: The Health and Health Care Agenda in a Post January 6th World

February 3, 2021

The 5th Annual Stanley Wallack Distinguished Memorial Lecture featured special guest speaker Chris Jennings, Founder and President, Jennings Policy Strategies Inc. Mr. Jennings served as Senior Advisor to the President for Health Policy under Presidents' Clinton and Obama and most recently appointed to represent President Biden on the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force. Heller’s Stuart H. Altman, PhD, Sol C. Chaikin Professor of National Health Policy, moderated the discussion and David Weil, Dean and Professor, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, gave opening remarks. The event recording will be posted soon.

To make a gift to the Stanley Wallack Distinguished Memorial Lecture Series, you can make a gift online by including “Stanley Wallack Distinguished Memorial Lecture” to the “Please indicate your preferred designation(s)” field.

The U.S. Supreme Court and the Future of Equality in the United States featuring Anita Hill

January 18, 2021

In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we invite you to join Anita Hill, University Professor of Social Policy, Law and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, as she discusses the U.S. Supreme Court and Future of Equality in the United States. Featured Speaker: Anita Hill, JD, University Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Brandeis University. Discussion moderated by: Maria Madison, ScD, Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity and Director, Institute for Assets and Social Policy (IASP), The Heller School, Brandeis University and Cindy Thomas, PhD'00, Associate Dean for Research, The Heller School, Brandeis University
Watch the recording.

21-Day Racial Equity Challenge

January 4– 25, 2021

We invited alumni and friends to join us by engaging in a 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge based on Dr. Eddie Moore’s 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge. The Heller School developed a program for the month of January, with different tracks being offered to faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends. The purpose of the self-study program is to engage in deep self-reflection and practical thinking on how to integrate racial equity into your life and career. Heller provided an activity tracker as well as the suggested readings and recommended resources. The content shared was consistent with the material that students read in a credit bearing pro-seminar “Racial Equity: Intersections of Race, Power, Privilege, Supremacy and Oppression” and was largely selected and curated by current Heller students.

Heller Alumni and Friends Virtual Town Hall

December 2, 2020

David Weil, Heller Dean and Professor, hosted our very first Heller Alumni and Friends Virtual Town Hall featuring the panelists below. Topics included an overall update about Heller, our plan for addressing systematized racism, an update on the student experience during COVID-19, and many ways alumni and friends can interact with and help the Heller School. Even though the Heller School looks different this year compared to previous years, we push forward with hope and vision for a better world. Watch the recording.

Panelists included Benny Belvin, Assistant Dean, Career Development; Ravi Lakshmikanthan, MA SID'99, Assistant Dean, Academic and Student Services; Maria Madison, Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity and Director of the Institute for Assets and Social Policy; and Nicole Rodriguez, MPP'14, Heller Alumni Association Board President.

Election 2020 Conversations with the Dean: "Politics and Policy: The Path Forward"

November 17, 2020

With the victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, what does the road ahead look like in terms of progressive social policies and socio-political movement trends? Dean David Weil facilitated a discussion among four panelists who bring a wealth of experiences and perspectives to this question. Watch the recording.

Panelists: David Weil, Dean and Professor (Moderator); Archon Fung, Professor, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Robert Kuttner, Meyer and Ida Kirstein Professor in Social Planning and Administration, The Heller School at Brandeis and Co-founder and former editor of the American Prospect; Chris Lu, Senior Fellow, University of Virginia Miller Center and Former US Deputy Secretary of Labor, Obama Administration; and Carmen Rojas, President and CEO of the Marguerite Casey Foundation and Founder of Workers Lab.

50 years of International Human Rights and Development: A Conversation with Prof. Laurence Simon

November 5, 2020

Laurence Simon, professor of international development at the Heller School, discussed his nearly 50 years advancing human rights and building institutions to solve problems of hunger and poverty in developing nations. Professor Rajesh Sampath interviewed Professor Simon about historic and contemporary issues that are woven like a tapestry throughout Professor Simon’s career. Topics included social exclusion and caste oppression, landlessness, failed aid programs, losses of humanitarian food aid, and pesticide poisonings among small farmers. Professor Simon shared brief excerpts from a forthcoming memoir to illustrate the need for a philosophy of development that avoids false generosity and instead moves us through empathy and love to the ethics of emancipation. This event is co-sponsored by the Heller School for Social Policy and Management and the Brandeis University Alumni Association. Watch the recording.

Meet Oudou Sanogo, MA SID'18 

October 28, 2020

The SID Program invited student and alumni to meet Heller alum Oudou Sanogo, MA SID'18. He currently works as a Virtual Exchange Program Manager at United Planet. He shared his love for education and his journey from Mali to South Carolina to New York to the Heller School and now as a practicing development professional.

Election 2020 Conversations with the Dean: "The Act of Democracy"

October 27, 2020

In the words of John Lewis, "Democracy is not a state. It is an act." The Heller Dean, David Weil, facilitated a panel discussion of democratic participation, civic engagement, and voting access in advance of Election Day. Panelists included David Weil, Dean and Professor, The Heller School, Brandeis University; Anita Hill, University Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Brandeis University; Fernando Torres-Gil, MSW'72, PhD'76, Director, Center for Policy Research on Aging and Professor of Social Welfare and Public Policy, Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California; and Daniel Kryder, Louis Stulberg Chair in Law and Politics, Brandeis University. Watch the recording.

A second Conversation, "Politics and Policy: The Path Forward," will take place after the election and information on that event will be shared in November.

Heller Social Impact Startup Challenge: Pitch Presentations and Winners Announced

October 25, 2020

The 2020 Heller Startup Challenge is the 8th annual social enterprise initiative to help Brandeis and Heller students develop entrepreneurial solutions to the world’s most pressing social problems. Alumni and friends joined the Sunday pitch presentations as each group pitches to a set of judges for a chance to win up to $1,000 to develop their venture. For more information contact

Disability Rights are Civil Rights: A Conversation on Inclusive Democracy

October 8, 2020

The Lurie Institute’s Sandy Ho held a conversation with Rebecca Cokley (Center for American Progress) and Claribel Vidal (Ford Foundation) to learn how they’re working to encourage and support the civic participation and leadership of people with disabilities. Sponsored by the The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy and The Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy. For more information contact Watch the recording.

MPP Program Virtual Event - Honoring Retiring Faculty Member Professor Bob Tannenwald

October 1, 2020

MPP alumni, faculty and staff gathered virtually along with Provost Lisa Lynch and Dean David Weil to honor retiring faculty member Professor Robert Tannenwald and his nine year career at the Heller School. Professor Tannenwald taught almost all MPP alumni. Imparting his years of experience and knowledge in the areas of public finance and budgeting, he helped guide Heller students as they pursued their MPP degree.

Heller Community Reading for Social Justice: Teach-In with Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

October 1, 2020

As a community dedicated to the pursuit and diffusion of knowledge advancing social justice, we are launching our first Heller community reading initiative this academic year. Throughout the year, beginning with incoming students at Orientation, we will read and discuss From #Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, published in 2016. This ongoing conversation will include everyone in the Heller community: faculty, researchers, administrative staff, students and alumni. 

Dr. Taylor is Assistant Professor and Charles H. Mcilwain University Preceptor, Department of African Studies at Princeton University. She writes and speaks on Black politics, social movements and racial inequality in the United States. Dr. Taylor was recently named among the first cohort of Freedom Scholars, an initiative supporting progressive academics who are at the forefront of movements for economic and social justice. Learn more about Dr. Taylor by watching her TedxBaltimore presentation.

Following the conversation with Dr. Taylor, attendees were invited to join a Bridge to Beloved Community with Joy von Steiger from the Brandeis Counseling Center. This short, informal and interactive session is intended intended to help deal with the many pressures we are all facing in these difficult times.

Watch the recording.

Access to the book is remains available free of charge to members of the Heller community. For information to access the book, alumni can email

Heller MBA Program Team Consulting Projects

August 20-21, 2020

The Heller MBA program culminates in the Team Consulting Project, real-world, practical experience providing students with the opportunity to apply their analytical and problem-solving skills to help an organization or business unit more effectively pursue its social mission. Working under the supervision of a faculty advisor in teams of three to five, students provide consulting services to a mission-driven organization over a four-month period. Students have the opportunity to self-organize into teams and select from among a wide variety of organizations in the for-profit, nonprofit and public sectors. Together, they tackle a management challenge, conduct sophisticated analyses, and submit recommendations. The TCP is accompanied by a workshop series and culminates in a formal presentation and report.

Passing State Legislation to Protect the Rights of Parents with Disabilities

July 27, 2020

Nearly 30 states have introduced or passed legislation aimed at protecting the rights of parents with disabilities. This webinar featured Senator Sara Gelser of Oregon and Kimberly Tissot of Able South Carolina and moderated by Robyn Powell, PhD'20. It focused on strategies that advocates and state legislators can use to pass these bills. Presenters discussed their experiences working on legislation, including the barriers they encountered and their recommendations for overcoming these challenges. Webinar attendees learned about drafting legislation, securing sponsors, building coalitions, and testifying in support of bills. This webinar is for disability rights advocates, state legislators, attorneys, child welfare system professionals, policymakers, and others interested in ensuring the rights of parents with disabilities. This event is sponsored by the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy. For more information contact Watch the recording.

"Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired": A Conversation on Anti-racism and Equity Momentum in America

July 13, 2020

This was a cross-disciplinary discussion on racism as a public health and economic crisis, with a focus on action. Presenters included Leah Wright Rigueur, PhD, Harry Truman Associate Professor of History, Brandeis University; Bill Rodgers, PhD, Chief Economist, Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University; Anita Hill, JD, Professor of Social Policy, Law and Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies, Brandeis University; and moderated by Maria Madison, ScD, Associate Dean, Equity, Inclusion and Diversity, The Heller School, Brandeis University. Watch the recording.

As we approach the next presidential election, we are reminded of the people helping to pass voting rights through the 15th, 19th and 26th Amendments to the Constitution. Fannie Lou Hamer captured the frustration with her famous quote we use for the title of this session. We are also mindful of the role of the political and moral determinants of health and financial equity. These variables partnered with our outrage over continued violence by police against black and brown bodies, fuels our desire for this conversation now across multidisciplinary scholars. This session highlighted the historical and current context of racism in the United States. Carrying forward the legacies for activism established throughout history, participants discussed structural, systemic and personal methodologies, for social justice activism.

This event is sponsored by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy, the Heller Students Association and the Office of the Dean at the Heller School, and by the Department of African and African American Studies and Brandeis Black Graduate Student Association, Brandeis University.

“Vaping in America” with Professor Constance Horgan, Meredith Berkman, and Alexandra Kritikos, PhD’20 Candidate

June 30, 2020

This discussion explored vaping among youth in the U.S., an emerging public health crisis. First introduced in the early 2000s as a “healthier” alternative to smoking, electronic vaping devices have become a cultural phenomenon in 2020. Discover the affects of vaping on millions of youth and the challenges facing public health and medicine today.

Constance M. Horgan, professor and director of the Institute for Behavioral Health at the Heller School, moderated a dialogue with Meredith Berkman, one of PR Week’s top 50 Health Influencers and co-founder of Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes (PAVe), a national advocacy and education organization, and Alexandra F. Kritikos, a vaping researcher and Heller PhD candidate.

Reconnecting the First 25 Years of Heller Classes

June 24, 2020

All PhD alumni between the years 1959-1984 gathered for a virtual reunion! This was an opportunity to reconnect with old friends, get an update on today's Heller School, and exchange memories. Attendees shared their fondest memories of Heller as well as how they integrated their social justice training throughout their career.

Brandeis Alumni of Color Network Community Check-in

June 17, 2020

This was a special briefing call for members of the Brandeis Alumni of Color Network hosted by the AOC committee. Hear from President Ron Liebowitz and Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Mark Brimhall-Vargas about the impact of the #BlackLivesMatter protests and COVID-19 on the AOC community. We discussed how Brandeis is responding as well as opportunities for advancing social justice against systemic racism. Watch the recording.

America’s Racial Reckoning: Black Lives and Black Futures in Historical, Political and Legal Context

June 12, 2020

As the violent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others have shown us yet again, entrenched systemic racism threatens the very lives of Black people in the United States. United by both our commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and as a community that considers social justice central to our mission, this event examined this issue in the larger society and at Brandeis itself. Moderated by Chad Williams who is the Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Chair in History and the Chair of the African and African American Studies department. This panel brought together University Professor Anita Hill, Daniel Kryder who is the Louis Stulberg Chair in Law and Politics, and Leah Wright Rigueur who is the Harry Truman Associate Professor of History, for an in-depth discussion from multiple scholarly perspectives of this moment, its historical precedents, and possible outcomes. This discussion was sponsored by the Department of African and African American Studies; Department of Politics; Department of History; Heller School for Social Policy and Management; Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Office of the President; and the Office of the Provost. Watch the recording.

Sankofa Community Conference: Co-Constructing Racial Justice through Life and Work

June 2-3, 2020

Racism is not an isolated incident, but rather a belief and system entrenched in American society. Brandeis and Heller alumni are invited to join us for a student center Zoom conference to advance racial justice. Each author will discuss the core points of their paper and propose a solution to the racial issue they identified in their paper. Watch a video about the event. Topics discussed include: COVID-19 and Race by Dr. Callie Watkins Liu, PhD'16; Racialized Disability: A New Framework of Rights by Anna Clements, PhD candidate; Restorative and Transformative Justice Towards Truth and Racial Reconciliation (The need for reparations) by Ona Wang, MA COEX'20; and Survival within Inequality (Two interwoven personal narratives about two people of color who grew-up in the Boston area) by Milan Friedman, Stonehill College '20.

For more information, contact Learn more about the Office of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity. The recording will be posted in the near future. Read more about this event.

Heller's Virtual Graduation Celebration

May 31, 2020

Alumni and friends joined Heller in honoring the Class of 2020 to commemorate their achievements as students, celebrate them as graduates and welcome them as alumni.
The guest speaker was Dr. Ihsan Kaadan, MS'16. The program also included remakrs from the Heller Dean, David Weil, featured student presenters from each class, remarks from Nicole Rodriguez, MPP'14, President of the Heller Alumni Association and the awarding of the Barbara Wakefield Award to Prince Mujumbe Salama, MA SID'20.

Watch the full program and read full transcripts here.

Health Care and Public Health in the Era of COVID-19

May 26, 2020

The third and final event in the COVID-19 and its Social Policy Implications: Heller Perspectives event series.

  • Stuart Altman, Sol C. Chaikin Professor of National Health Policy, Heller School, Brandeis University
  • Maria Madison, Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion & Diversity, Heller School, Brandeis University
  • Christine E. Bishop, Atran Professor of Labor Economics
  • Diana Bowser, Associate Professor, Heller School, Brandeis University
  • A.K. Nandakumar, Professor of the Practice, Director, MS Program in Global Health Policy, and Director, Institute for Global Health and Development, Schneider Institutes for Health Policy, Heller School, Brandeis University
Read more Heller COVID-19 stories. Watch the recording.

Navigating a US Job Search: Resources, Strategies, Encouragement, and Perspectives from International Heller Alumni

May 14, 2020

We know a US job search for international students may present challenges. Yet, many international Heller alumni have successfully connected to a job or other professional opportunities in the US. How did they do it? What strategies and tips made them successful? What resources were helpful? What were some of the challenges in connecting to opportunities in the US? Attendees learned about key tips, strategies, and resources for navigating a job search in the US by hearing from 4 alumni and 1 current student who have made connections and opportunities work in their favor.

Bryan Kanney, Assistant Director, Heller Career Development Center, moderated the panel which included Samira Bari, MA SID'20, Staff Planning and Support Lead (COVID Response), American Red Cross; Martins Francis, MS'19, Senior Associate, Policy Analytics, Avalere Health; Nittaya Saenbut, MA SID'14, Program Associate & Administrator, True Costs Initiative; Ye (Zhang) Pogue, PhD'19, Research Public Health Analyst, RTI International; and Davron Mirsagatov, MA SID'16, Program Manager, American Councils for International Education.

Understanding the Economic Repercussions of COVID-19

May 13, 2020

The second event in the COVID-19 and its Social Policy Implications: Heller Perspectives event series.

  • Lisa Lynch, Provost, Brandeis University
  • Robert Kuttner, Meyer and Ida Kirstein Professor in Social Planning and Administration, Heller School, Brandeis University
  • Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Samuel F. and Rose B. Gingold Professor of Human Development and Social Policy; Director, Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy, Heller School, Brandeis University
  • David Weil, Dean and Professor, Heller School, Brandeis University

Read more Heller COVID-19 stories. Watch the recording.

COVID-19 Lessons from the Korean Peninsula & Beyond: Enhancing National, Regional and Global Cooperation

May 8, 2020

The first event in the COVID-19 and its Social Policy Implications: Heller Perspectives event series.
  • Jerome Kim, MD, Director General of the International Vaccine Institute, Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
  • Mike VanRooyen, MD, Professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Chairman, Brigham & Women's Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine, Director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
  • Maria Madison, Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion & Diversity, Heller School, Brandeis University
  • Alain Lempereur, Alan B. Slifka Professor and Program Director, MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence, Heller School, Brandeis University and Harvard Program on Negotiation
Read more Heller COVID-19 stories. Watch the recording.

Farewell to Professor Brian Roach

May 8, 2020

The SID Program wished a fond farewell and best wishes to Professor Brian Roach.

Farewell to Professor Eric Olson

May 7, 2020

The SID Program wished a fond farewell and best wishes to Professor Eric Olson.

Brandeis Alumni Community Check-In

May 6, 2020

President Ron Liebowitz, Provost Lisa Lynch (and previous Heller Dean) and Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance Stew Uretsky had a virtual Alumni Community Check-In. This was an opportunity to come together as a community during this difficult time and learn about Brandeis' response to the COVID-19 crisis. Lewis Brooks '80, P'16, president of the Brandeis Alumni Association, will offer a brief welcome and facilitate the Q&A. A recording of the event will be posted soon.

Maximizing Your First Year on the Job

May 5, 2020

The first year at your new job may possibly be the most important year of your career. It is a time of significant transition. The first year is where you will set the stage for understanding your supervisor and how to manage up, as well as learn the dynamics of working on a team, how to navigate political challenges in an organization, managing your professional development, and how to advocate for yourself. In this interactive online session, attendees were provided strategies and key tips to increase confidence and success in navigating your workplace. Sponsored by the Heller Career Development Center.

COEX Spring Capstones

May 1, 2020

Heller Alumni were invited to observe COEX students as they present their annual Spring Capstone Presentations. These presentations are the culmination of COEX student's work on topics ranging from the Syrian civil war, Iranian Nuclear Deal Negotiations, Youth Development in Conflict, the use of technology in peace-building and more.

Prof. Alain Lempereur presents "How the Red Cross Negotiates in the Humanitarian Frontline, From Henri Dunant Until Now"

April 30, 2020

Henri Dunant, who ended up founding the Red Cross, was a businessman. When he witnessed the aftermath of the battle of Solferino, in North Italy, in 1859, he was appalled by the human tragedy of the thousands of people dying and wounded. He then leveraged negotiation to save as many lives as possible. Times have changed, but today, the Red Cross continues to use the power of responsible negotiation in the frontline to mitigate the consequences of nature-made or human-made disasters.

Alain Lempereur is the Alan B. Slifka professor at Brandeis University, and the director of the Heller Conflict Resolution and Coexistence Program. He is an affiliated faculty and executive committee member of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. He also supports the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and the Geneva-based Center of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiations. He is a consultant for the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) and MSF (Doctors without Borders).

Entrepreneurship and Working with Nonprofit Entrepreneurs Post-Heller featuring Simone LaPray, MBA/MA SID'15, Executive Director of TiE Boston

April 29, 2020

Simone LaPray, MBA/MA SID’15, Heller Alumni Association Board Member and the Executive Director of TiE Boston, an organization that fosters entrepreneurship through networking, mentoring, education and funding, presented. Emerging as a social movement among entrepreneurs 25 years ago, TiE now operates in 18 countries with a network of over 15,000 entrepreneurs. Simone shared her perspectives on navigating the MA startup ecosystem, how to get plugged in if you are a founder or looking to work with founders and share some of the major pitfalls that can set founders back. This session is for anyone interested in pursuing their startup, working in an accelerator/incubator, or individuals interested in exploring non-traditional post-Heller opportunities in tech/for-profit startups in Massachusetts.

Heller Awards 2020 - Celebration and Winners Confirmation

April 24, 2020

Recognizing and celebrating excellence in our community is of crucial importance. One way we do so is through our annual Heller awards. Dean David Weil announced the staff, faculty and student winners of the Heller Teaching; Teaching Assistant; Mentoring; Staff Service; Equity, Inclusion and Diversity; and Early Investigator Awards for Academic Year 2019-2020. Read more on the winners announced here.

Can You Move to Opportunity? Evidence from the Great Migration featuring Ellora Derenoncourt

April 22, 2020

Racial composition shocks during the Great Migration (1940-1970) lowered black upward mobility in the northern United States. The Migration’s effects on children are driven by location factors, not negative selection of families. Migration led to persistent segregation and higher police spending, crime, and incarceration from the 1960s onward. The changes induced by the Migration explain 27% of the region’s racial upward mobility gap today. Co-sponsored by the Heller School and Economics Department Joint Seminar Series. Listen to the recording.

Ellora Derenoncourt is an economist who works on labor economics, economic history, and inequality. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Industrial Relations Section at Princeton University Department of Economics. In July 2020, she will join the faculty at UC Berkeley, in the Economics department and the Goldman School of Public Policy. She received her PhD in Economics from Harvard University.

Resiliency on the Job Search

April 22, 2020

Searching for and landing a professional opportunity is a full-time job, and it can sometimes be a discouraging process. Even the most prepared seekers will hear "No" more often than "Yes." As you prepare for your next steps, it's essential to find ways to stay mentally and physically healthy and resilient. In this dynamic session, participants were provided with strategies and key tips to increase resiliency and ability to reframe challenges in order to be successful as they search for a job or internship. Sponsored by the Heller Career Development Center. Watch the recording.

Virtual Career Trek: University Research Corporation (URC)

April 15, 2020

URC is a global company dedicated to improving people's quality of health care, social services and education. They manage projects in over 30 countries, including the United States. Their mission is to provide innovative, evidence-based solutions to health and social challenges worldwide. In this “virtual” career trek, you will learn more about their work on specific projects, their approach to delivering solutions to healthcare problems through quality improvement, health systems strengthening, social and behavior change, and research and evaluation. Additionally, they are interested in recruiting new talent and representatives from 5 departments discussed careers at URC, what skills they look for in candidates, and how to connect to internships and full-time opportunities.

IMPAQ INTERNATIONAL: Virtual Information Session

April 9, 2020

Impaq International is a global policy research and analytics firm delivering evidence that shapes the world. With nearly 400 diverse researchers, economists, innovators, data scientists, and other professionals Their mission is to bring clear answers to the most important questions in health care, economic development, and human services through cutting-edge research, analytics, and technical support. The Heller Career Development Center invites you to this virtual information/Q&A session where professionals will share their expertise as researchers, economists, and program managers and will highlight the work they do, how they got into their fields, and discuss internship and full-time opportunities.

International Women's Day: Priorities for Reducing Gender Disparities

March 9, 2020

In commemoration of International Women’s Day, Professor Anita Hill hosted a virtual gathering of Heller School alumni and students. The webinar involved a panel of experts comprised of Heller alumni who have contributed significantly to advocating for greater gender equity. Panelists included: Odgerel Dashzeveg MA SID'07; Seraphine Mukankubito, MA SID/COEX'12; Laurie Nsiah-Jefferson '80, PhD'06; Chhoeki Penjor, MA SID'11. Professor Hill lead the discussion on reducing gender disparities and areas where greater emphasis needs to be placed during this new decade. Listen to the recording.

17th Annual Washington, DC Heller Alumni Reception

February 20, 2020

Over 150 Heller alumni, students, faculty, and staff gathered in Washington, DC to socialize, reconnect, network and enjoy light refreshments. This event was co-hosted by Heller Alumni Relations and the Heller Career Development Center as part of their annual Washington, DC Career Trek. The event included concurrent panel sessions focused on domestic and international policy, chaired by Michael Doonan, PhD'02, Associate Professor and Director, MPP Program and Ravi Lakshmikanthan, MA SID'99, Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Services. Domestic alumni panelists included Elle Chang, MA SID'15; Sarah Leonard, MA COEX/MS'19; Phoenicia Lewis, MA SID/COEX'17; Brett Jordan, MPP'16; and Darley Tom, MA SID'11. International alumni panelists included Amira Abouhussein, MA SID/COEX'17; Pertula George-Redd, MA SID'08; Burhan Razi, MA SID'15; Prapti Sherchan, MBA'13; and Indalecio Vallejos, MA SID/COEX'13. Panel sessions were followed by an alumni and student networking reception.

The Joy of Negotiating: Be Aware and Empower Yourself! in Kigali, Rwanda

February 16, 2020

Welcoming remarks and presentation by Alain Lempereur, SJD, Director, MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence Program. Professor Lempereur, wrote "The First Move. A Negotiator’s Companion," a bestseller that sold tens of thousands of copies in 15 languages, presented a series of first moves to invite you to do first things first in negotiation, increase your power as a negotiator and also enjoy everyday dealmaking and conflict resolution.

How the 2020 Election Could Change Healthcare for a Generation at Goulston & Storrs, Boston, MA

January 30, 2020

Candidates are running on a platform of change, specifically in the way our nation delivers and pays for health care. As the 2020 elections approach, we heard from a panel of experts who outlined and discussed the major healthcare policy challenges and opportunities and their potential impact on our country, our commonwealth, and ourselves. Panelists include Dr. Carole Allen, Executive MBA’17, Vice President, Massachusetts Medical Society; Michael Doonan, PhD’02, Associate Professor and Director, Masters of Public Policy Program; and Cindy Friedman, Massachusetts State Senator. Moderator: Elana Margolis ’97, senior director of state government and regulatory affairs, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Hosted by: Doug Rosner ’88, Goulston & Storrs, Boston, MA. Read full biographies.

Understanding the Opioid Crisis: A Timely Discussion with Heller School Faculty Member Andrew Kolodny, MD in Hollywood, FL

January 12, 2020

The United States is in the midst of an opioid crisis: More than 100 Americans die every day from overdosing on opioids. Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Heller School faculty member, medical director for OPRC, a national expert on the opioid crisis and an outspoken critic of Purdue Pharma and other opioid makers, discussed how a flood of prescription opioids resulted in an epidemic of addiction and what’s needed to bring the crisis to an end.

Ford Hall: Closing the Disparity Gap

January 21-22, 2020

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the Ford Hall anniversaries, Sankofa Community Conversations presented by the Heller Office of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity offered a two day event, titled "Ford Hall: Closing the Disparity Gap." On Tuesday, January 21, 2020 was "Ford Hall Commemorative Community Discussion & Film" with Kwesi Jones '21. On Wednesday, January 22, 2020 was "Revisiting the 'N-Word': Intent vs. Impact in Communication" presented by Liz Pryor, Associate Professor of History at Smith College followed by "Charge to Remember" presented by Heller PhD candidate Jarvis Williams.

Heller School Student and Alumni Social in NYC

January 9, 2020

The Career Development Center and the Department of Alumni Relations gathered with alumni and current students for drinks and hors d’oeuvres as we laugh, converse, and enjoy a night of Heller in NYC. Come support current students as they explore some of the worlds most important international, governmental, non-profit, and non-governmental organizations.

The Joy of Negotiating: Responsible First Moves to Empower Yourself and Others in Deal-Making and Conflict Resolution in India

January 5, 2020

Welcoming remarks: Ravi Lakshmikanthan, MA SID'99, Assistant Dean, Academic and Student Services

Presentation by: Alain Lempereur, SJD, Director, MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence Program

Ravi Lakshmikanthan and Alain Lempereur were in Mumbai, India and hosted this event to bring together Brandeis and Heller alumni and prospective students. Alain Lempereur, who wrote "The First Move. A Negotiator’s Companion," a bestseller that sold tens of thousands of copies in 15 languages, presented a series of first moves to invite you to do first things first in negotiation, increase your power as a negotiator and also enjoy everyday dealmaking and conflict resolution.

Heller School Coffee Hour in Kigali, Rwanda!

January 4, 2020

Sarah LaMorey, MA SID/COEX'19, Program Coordinator, Graduate Program in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence, hosted alumni and prospective students at the Camellia Restaurant in Kigali, Rwanda.

Heller School Coffee Hour in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania!

January 2, 2020

Sarah LaMorey, MA SID/COEX'19, Program Coordinator, Graduate Program in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence, hosted alumni and prospective students at the Holiday Inn in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


Fall Semester

  • September 19, 2019, Conversation with the Dean: Carmen Rojas, CEO and Co-Founder, The Workers Lab, came to Heller for the first Conversation with the Dean of Heller’s 60th anniversary school year. She and Dean David Weil discussed ways to improve the lives of U.S. workers, and she offered a critique of traditional philanthropy, described the innovative methods of the Workers Lab and shared her own background and journey. The Workers Lab collaborated with Heller's Institute on Assets and Social Policy earlier this year on an occupational segregation report titled, "Not Only Unequal Paychecks: Occupational Segregation, Benefits, and the Racial Wealth Gap."
  • September 25, 2019, Student Coffee Break: The Heller Alumni Association welcomed new and returning students by inviting them to enjoy coffee and the legendary muffins from the Gingerbread Construction Co. 
  • October 7, 2019, Heller School Coffee Hour in New Delhi, India: Featuring Allyala Krishna Nandakumar, Professor of the Practice; Director, Institute for Global Health and Development; Director, MS Program in Global Health Policy and Management at Le Meridien Hotel New Delhi, Windsor Place, India.
  • October 28, 2019: PhD Alumni Panel for a Non-Academic Career Track: The Heller School PhD Student Association welcomed the following alumni to come and present about their career outside of academia. Panelists include: Pieta Blakely, PhD'17, Blakely Consulting, LLC; Danielle Fuller-Wimbush, PhD'14, Director, Partner Support and Grantmaking, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC); Kate Giaponni Schneider, PhD'17, Research Scientist, Heller School; Julie Johnson, PhD'15, Director of Research, Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. Sponsored by the Office of Development and Alumni Relations and Career Development Center.
  • October 30, 2019, The Evolution of Conflict Transformation: A Conversation with John Paul Lederach: The COEX program held a panel discussion with the Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize Award winner John Paul Lederach. Panelists included Isabella Jean, MA COEX'06, Pamina Firchow, Ted Johnson, and Sandy Jones; moderated by Alain Lempereur, COEX Program Director. Lederach is Professor Emeritus of International Peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he previously served as director of the Peace Accord Matrix research initiative, and was the founding director for the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. Lederach works extensively with Humanity United as a practitioner in conciliation processes in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast and Central Asia. You can learn more about the Gittler Prize on the Brandeis website.
  • November 1, 2019, Arthur Pollock Legacy Award Event: The Heller School Center for Youth and Communities and The Treehouse Foundation and leaders from across the country discussed re-envisioning foster care in America. Remarks were given by Prof. Susan P. Curnan, Judy Cockerton, Founder & Director, Treehouse Foundation, andPhyllis N. Segal, Founding Chair, The Eli J. & Phyllis N. Segal Citizen Leadership Program & Vice President, The Keynote address was given by Marc Freedman, Founder & CEO, Lynn Price, Founder, Camp to Belong, was presented with the Arthur Pollock Legacy Award. The Arthur Pollock Legacy Award honors extraordinary individuals, age 55+, who use their life experience to enhance the lives of our nation’s children and youth living in foster care and promote a Re-Envisioning of Foster Care in America. 
  • November 14, 2019, Student and Alumni Networking Night 2019: Students came to meet, greet, learn from and share community with Heller School alumni, Heller Board of Advisors Members and Heller Alumni Association Board Members who are engaged in wonderful work in healthcare, non-profit management, government, policy, advocacy and non-government organizations. In this moderated program that follows a "speed networking" format, they had conversations and made connections.
  • November 16, 2019, Heller School Alumni Meetup in Washington, DC: Hosted by: Isaac Cudjoe, MA COEX'18, Heller Alumni Association Board Member, and Adam Motenko, MBA'16. Heller alumni met up for this fun event to socialize and meet alumni from the DC area. The Heller School covered the full cost of this event for alumni attendees and 40% of the event expenses will go back towards the Heller Annual Fund, dedicated to supporting students and their academic experience.
  • November 19, 2019: Heller MPP alumni gathered for a special event to recognize Janet Boguslaw for all she has done for the Heller MPP Program. She has had many accomplishments as the Associate Director of the MPP program and as the poverty alleviation concentration chair and will continue to work at Heller in a new role. The program is collecting donations in honor of Janet to benefit the MPP summer internship program, of which Janet has been such a champion. Click here to make a gift (please designate “Other” and put MPP Internship Program in the text box).
  • November 20, 2019, The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy: 2019 Annual Distinguished Lecture: Using Population Data to Inform Autism Policy in the U.S.: Featuring Dr. Paul Shattuck, A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, Drexel University, who discussed the importance of data in policies that help or hinder quality of life for people on the autism spectrum. In his lecture, Dr. Shattuck shared the development, strategies, and impact of the National Autism Data Center and the Research Program in Life Course Outcomes. Learn more about the Lurie InstituteWatch the full lecture here.
  • December 5, 2019, Stanley Wallack Distinguished Memorial Lecture: Healthcare in 2021 Ingredients for Change: Featured Speaker: David Blumenthal, MD, President & CEO, The Commonwealth Fund
    The 4th Annual Stanley Wallack Distinguished Memorial Lecture was sponsored by the Schneider Institutes for Health Policy. To make a gift to the Stanley Wallack Distinguished Memorial Lecture Series click here. To watch the full video of the lecture, click here.

Spring Semester

  • Jan. 23, 2019, Conversations with the Dean: Chuck Rosenberg: Impeachment, treason and the complexities of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation dominated the conversation as Chuck Rosenberg, former senior FBI official, U.S. Attorney and DEA administrator, visited the Heller School for a “Conversation with the Dean” with Dean David Weil. 
  • Jan. 30, 2019, Marshall Ganz described his experiences learning "the craft of organizing," first as a volunteer with the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964 and later in his work with Cesar Chavez and the National Farm Workers Association in California.
  • Feb. 15, 2019 "Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in the Trump Era": Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld led a panel of negotiation experts, who discussed Trump’s unpredictability, need for personal gratification, use of private sector tactics in the public sector, as well as lessons learned from labor union negotiations and the challenges of moving society forward in an age of tribalism.
  • Feb. 20, 2019, 16th Annual Alumni Reception and Career Panels in Washington, DC: Heller alumni, students and faculty gathered in Washington, D.C. to share career advice, network and reconnect with old friends.
  • March 20, 2019, US News Rankings Celebration: Cupcakes for everyone! The community celebrated Heller's #7 ranking in social policy from US News & World Report with tasty blue treats at our Heller Town Hall.
  • March 20, 2019, International Mother Language Night: Heller students came together for International Mother Language Day, organized by Brandeis Bangladeshi Students Association. 
  • April 1, 2019,  Conversations with the Dean: Tom Perez: Democratic National Committee Chair and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez joined Dean David Weil for part of the Conversations with the Dean speaker series. The event featured a wide-ranging dialogue on Perez’ life and career, his thoughts on progressive politics and his strategy for advancing Democratic candidates in 2020.
  • April 3, 2019, Heller Awards 2019: The Heller School presents awards each spring to members of the community for outstanding service in teaching, mentoring, teaching assistance, staff service, research, and equity, inclusion and diversity.
  • April 5, 2019, MBA Distinguished Management Lecture 2019: Mo Cowan, president of Global Government Affairs and Policy at GE, delivered the 2019 MBA Distinguished Management Lecture.
  • May 4, 2019, Africa Night is Heller’s annual celebration of African intellectual achievements, cultural heritage and diversity. It included a panel discussion and debate, live music, dance, poetry, oratory, free food, fashion show, hip-hop, student-produced documentary, live theater, and performances by emerging artists from the Heller community. 
  • June 24, 2019, Alumni Gathering in Ginza, Tokyo: Jeanette Takamura, PhD’85, Heller Alumni Association Board member, hosted a gathering that included Mutsuhisa Ban, a prospective student, Akiko Mera, MA SID’05, Yuki Kondo, MA SID’14,  Hajime Takizawa, MA SID’07, Jeanette C. Takamura, PhD'85, and Ayumu Osawa, MA SID’13.