The Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs connects the Colby community to the most pressing current events, sparks public policy discussions, and inspires active citizenship. Through thought-provoking events with world leaders to a multi-day trek to Washington, D.C., the Goldfarb Center increases awareness of the role of government, policy, and advocacy to address the world’s most complex issues. Founded in 2003 with a generous gift from Colby Trustee William Goldfarb ’68, P’00, the center is also known for providing grants to support student research and internships and fostering the leadership skills of Colby students through the Goldfarb Student Engagement Committee.

High-Profile Events

The Goldfarb Center welcomes prominent scholars and policymakers to campus each year to discuss and debate national and global events as they unfold. Events feature innovative thinkers, influential politicians, groundbreaking authors, and cutting-edge academics discussing issues ranging from racial inequality to global health. Guest speakers span the fields of political science, professional media, and international affairs. Programming includes panels, dinners, lectures, conferences, and film screenings, providing students and faculty alike with opportunities to network and share ideas.

Annual flagship events include two prominent award ceremonies, the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism and the Morton A. Brody Distinguished Award for Judicial Service, as well as the William R. and Linda K. Cotter Debate Series and the Senator George J. Mitchell Distinguished International Lecture Series. The center coordinates side events around flagship programs, giving students opportunities to interact with award winners and guest speakers.

Policy Symposium

The Goldfarb Center Freedom of Expression Symposium provides incentives for both faculty and students to consider opposing positions on a policy issue, engage in multidisciplinary research, and draw evidence-based conclusions. Held in the spring, students compete for prizes up to $2,000 for policy proposals that provide innovative solutions to complex problems in public affairs.

Unique Experiences, Funding Opportunities  

In collaboration with DavisConnects, we facilitate and fund internships in Washington, D.C., during January, as well as take dozens of students on a public affairs policy trek, called the Mayflower Hill to Capitol Hill program, or H2H. The DC-based trip connects selected students with congressional offices, NGOs, and other public policy institutions to better understand public affairs and build their network, opening pathways to students of any major irrespective of financial ability to support these kinds of experiences.

In addition, dozens of student internships and research projects are funded each year through the Goldfarb Center. The Sandy Maisel Fellowships underwrite January and summer internship opportunities in communities, capitals, and abroad. Thanks to the generosity of alumni, Maisel Fellows work and research across the globe to explore opportunities related to public affairs while gaining valuable career experience.

Fostering Leadership 

The Goldfarb Student Engagement Committee (GSEC) works directly alongside Goldfarb Center staff to deliver and execute a slate of robust programming. All students are welcome to join the Goldfarb Center, and they can self-nominate themselves to be a part of the executive board, which helps guide programming and has unique opportunities to engage with Colby leadership and guest speakers from Goldfarb events. GSEC members meet regularly and participate in activities to build and challenge their leadership abilities. By engaging in high-profile events and taking advantage of internships and research opportunities, Goldfarb Center students develop the ability to lead and influence tomorrow’s policy agenda.