“Today’s students at Brown will be tomorrow’s leaders,” Perez said in a statement from the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, where he will be a senior fellow.
The 1983 Brown grad who became the chair of the DNC earlier this year, will teach one non-credit course called Governance and Leadership in Challenging Times.
“Our goal in this study group is to expose students to leaders who have been wrestling with some of the most difficult issues confronting our nation, share lessons of success and failure, and discuss tools for future progress, as well as to think critically about contributing to the timeless journey of forming a more perfect union,” Perez said of the class.
Though Perez’s class only meets seven times, it will attract some high profile guest speakers, including Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, and a slew of former Obama officials including Denis McDonough and Chris Lu. “Several public events will also take place,” according to the announcement from the Watson Institute.
“Perez wants to inspire students to consider a career in public service,” said the announcement. “The son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Perez became a civil rights attorney, advocating for a range of progressive causes, including fair housing laws, protection from hate crimes, and access to employment. As the 26th U.S. Secretary of Labor, he fought for minimum wage and sick leave, among other workers’ rights.
“Perez, who knows a bit about the challenges of governing in hyper-partisan times, will lead a study group in which students will engage in open-ended discussions and free-flow give and take with leading figures in American politics,” said the announcement. “The focus will be on effective problem solving for anybody – whether liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican — seeking to improve the common good through better public policy outcomes.”
Said Watson Institute Director Edward Steinfeld, “It’s a great honor to welcome Brown graduate Tom Perez to Watson this Fall. He brings vast experience in local and national politics, and will undoubtedly help all of us, students and faculty alike, apply theory and research to real world challenges. What an extraordinary opportunity for all of us to learn from Tom and the numerous guests he’ll bring to campus from across the political spectrum.”
Perez was a classmate of Congressman David Cicilline at Brown, and the two remain close friends. However, Perez didn’t initially win Rhode Island’s support when he campaigned to become chairman of the DNC earlier this year. Rhode Island Democratic Party Chairman Joe McNamara supported the more progressive Congressman Keith Ellison over Perez on the first ballot when the democrats chose a new chairman in February. since becoming DNC chairman, Perez has made several visits to Rhode Island and Brown.
Like Perez, RI Future also works with the Watson Institute, publishing 13 research papers (and counting) by Brown University students on the Sociology of Trump.