The Rodel Institute hosted the Rodel Fellowship Reunion in Washington, DC from April 8 to 10, 2022. A key aspect of this event was reconnecting with the Rodel community and sharing updates about new Rodel programs and initiatives.
More than a quarter of all former Rodel Fellows joined us for the Reunion, and together these 93 Fellows represented 36 states. The weekend kicked off with Rodel President and CEO John Kroger (Rodel Class of 2010) moderating a conversation with David Greenberg, Author and Professor of History and Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University. Kroger and Greenberg discussed the impact of media spin on American politics, threats to American democracy, and Greenberg’s forthcoming biography of U.S. Representative John Lewis.
Fellows participated in several planning sessions to organize upcoming Rodel programs including the inaugural Rodel Women’s Retreat as well as Rodel+ sessions on redistricting and social media regulation.
For the first time since launching in 2005, more than half of Rodel Fellows are serving their communities in roles outside of elected office. To keep programming relevant for all Fellows, the Rodel Institute offered a series of workshops on leadership after elected office with Ed O’Malley, President and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center. O’Malley, a former state legislator, discussed the challenges of transitioning to private life and opportunities for continued leadership after elected service.
Rodel President and CEO John Kroger and Rodel Vice President and COO Jeff King (Rodel Class of 2010) led a working lunch discussion to solicit feedback on program development and implementation for Rodel’s new initiatives. Kroger and King shared details on Rodel’s two new fellowship programs: the Judicial Fellowship and the Federal Executive Fellowship. They also discussed Rodel+, Rodel America, and the Edwards Book Prize. One participant excitedly described the new Rodel programming as “robust and reinvigorated.”
The Saturday evening dinner program featured a conversation with Rodel Fellows including U.S. Senator Chris Coons, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, and Lincoln, Nebraska Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird. The panelists discussed the U.S. foreign policy implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, leadership challenges in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the recent confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
The final morning of the weekend included a Pew Research Center presentation on trends in recent polling data by Pew Research Director Jocelyn Kiley and a closing session on selection future Rodel Fellows with Rodel Fellowship Selection Committee Co-Chairs Tomeka Hart Wigginton and Robert M. McKenna.
The Rodel Institute looks forward to welcoming our Fellows to the next Rodel Fellowship Reunion in October 2023.