Featured Speeches

Dr. Rodin has spoken at events throughout the world, to audiences ranging from world leaders and corporate executives to graduating university students.

Borlaug Field Award Presentation

October 12, 2016
Agriculture, Innovative Finance

It’s a great honor to speak with you tonight, and a great pleasure to see guests from over 50 countries gathered together here to honor the work of Norman Borlaug and the many scientists and anti-hunger advocates who carry on his legacy. It’s been 30 years since Norm founded the World Food Prize, and I believe he would have been overjoyed to see the generations of scientists and practitioners who have continued this vital work.
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Keynote Address: Social Capital Markets

September 3, 2014
Innovative Finance

I’m thrilled to be back at SOCAP. I last spoke here in 2012, when The Rockefeller Foundation was just preparing to celebrate our Centennial year. Now, we’re still recovering from our Centennial year. At 101 years, we’re not quite old enough to remember the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, but our founder, John D. Rockefeller, gave more than $100,000 to help the city get back on its feet. But it was another businessman who stepped up to save the city more profoundly.
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Keynote Address: “The Resilience Dividend”

April 11, 2014

What a week. The flow of ideas and thinking has been inspiring and energizing. But our work isn’t done yet. And I am pleased that we can cap off this week with a day dedicated to resilience, orienting us to the crucial decisions that must be made to help cities adapt and evolve in the face of extraordinary pressures. It’s the first time that the World Urban Forum has included resilience as a dialogue. So, in many ways, today is a historic occasion, and one, frankly, whose time has come.
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Acceptance of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal

June 13, 2013
Resilience, Philanthropy

Thank you, Shaun, for that generous introduction and for your leadership of the federal Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Taskforce. President Obama could not have chosen a better champion for helping New York rebuild: a lifelong New Yorker, a trained architect, and – of course – a hardcore Yankees fan.
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"A Celebration of Strategic Philanthropy"

April 15, 2013
Philanthropy, Innovation

It’s a true privilege to be back here at the Global Philanthropy Forum. It’s especially meaningful for me as we are one month and one day away from the Rockefeller Foundation’s birthday. But who’s counting? It’s not just any old birthday – the Rockefeller Foundation is turning 100 this year, though to tell you the truth, we don’t feel a day over 99.
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"Dreaming the Future of Health for the Next 100 Years"

January 26, 2013
Health, Philanthropy

The Honorable Minster Chen, President Zeng, David Rockefeller, Jr., Distinguished Guests: I want to thank the Honorable Minister Chen and President Zeng for hosting us. I would also like to express gratitude to the children from the Chaoyang Primary School Affiliated to Beijing Normal University for leading our processional and carrying the flags of those countries represented here today – more than 20 in all.
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Keynote Address: Social Enterprise Conference

February 26, 2012
Leadership, Innovative Finance

I came here hoping I could offer you a bit of inspiration on the subject of leadership and innovation.  But I have to say, being at this conference, it’s your leadership and your innovation that I find inspiring. And, having spent my life before Rockefeller at Yale and Penn, I love that this is a student-driven gathering. This is where impact is born.
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Commencement Address: University of Miami

December 18, 2008
Innovation, Leadership

Through the years, I’ve noticed these speeches follow something of a formula. First, the speaker congratulates the graduates and the friends and family who supported them. Then she tells a joke. Then she shares some advice. And then she says “in conclusion,” as the audience breathes a sigh of relief.
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"Unleashing the Power of Women around the World"

November 9, 2007
Women's Rights, Leadership

I wanted to start my comments with a lawyer joke -- but, as I once heard Chief Justice John Roberts remark, the lawyers here wouldn’t think it was funny, and the rest of you wouldn’t think it was a joke.
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Commencement Address: University of Pittsburgh

April 30, 2006
Social Connection, Leadership

Commencement is a celebration for the entire university community. Chancellor Nordenberg. Friends and family of the graduates, faculty, the Board of Trustees, the administration, and especially, of course, all survivors of final exams and dissertation defenses – my warmest congratulations to you all!
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Keynote Address: "An Urgent Task"

December 9, 1996
Civic Dialogue, Leadership

I am delighted to welcome you to this first meeting of the Penn National Commission on Society, Culture and Community. We have been working towards this moment for almost two years, and we are thrilled to have you with us here today. So, why are we here?
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"The Birth of the Information Age"

February 14, 1996

Prediction is, at best, an inexact science when it comes to the impact of technology. Those who ought to know better sometimes hit very wide of the mark. In the 15th century, for example, it is said that the faculty at Merton College, Oxford, were cautious about stocking their library with books because they were not convinced printing was here to stay. They were wrong.
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Inaugural Address: "Building Upon Penn’s Genetic Material"

October 21, 1994
Leadership, The Role of an Urban University

Today, it is my honor and privilege to take my place as the seventh president of the University of Pennsylvania, and formally to accept responsibility for its leadership. Today I want to share with you my vision of Penn's past, present and future.As a biological and social psychologist, it was natural for me to prepare for this day by researching Penn's genetic material.
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