Laura Rockefeller Chasin
Laura Spelman Rockefeller (born 1936) is an American phanthropist. She is the eldest child of Laurance Spelman Rockefeller (1910–2004) and Mary French (1910–1997), and a fourth generation member of the Rockefeller family. She has two younger sisters, Marion and Lucy, and a younger brother, Laurance Jr. (Larry). Her patrilineal great-grandfather was Standard Oil's co-founder John D. Rockefeller and her matrilineal great-grandfather was Frederick H. Billings, a president of Northern Pacific Railway. Both of her grandmothers, Mary Billings French and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, were founders of YWCA USA.
Raised in New York City, she graduated from the Brearley School in Manhattan and Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut. She received a B.A. magna cum laude in Art History from Bryn Mawr College, an M.A. in Government from Harvard University, and an M.S.W. from Simmons College (Massachusetts) School of Social Work. She trained in couple and family therapy and psychodrama.
In 1956 she married James H. Case, with whom she had three children and whom she later divorced. In 1971, she married psychiatrist Richard Chasin, who had three children from prior marriages. A leader in family therapy, he was president of the American Family Therapy Academy and an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He served for 12 years as president of the Rockefeller Family Fund and was a trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The Chasins currently reside in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Ms. Chasin has served on the boards of the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Spelman College. She has also served on the boards of the Children's Defense Fund, the Conflict Management Group, and the Institute for Faith and Politics, and on the steering committee of the Common Ground Network for Life and Choice. She has been described as a radical centrist thinker and activist.
She is best known as the founder, former executive director and current board chair of the Public Conversations Project in Watertown, Massachusetts. This non-profit organization fosters constructive conversations about divisive public issues that involve clashing values, world views, and identities. PCP's methods are designed to dissolve stereotypes, create trust, generate fresh ideas, and promote collaboration among those who have been chronically embattled. She also works closely with No Labels and the National Institute for Civil Discourse, founded after the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
- Chasin L, Chasin R, Herzig M, Roth S, Becker C., “The Citizen Clinician: The Family Therapist In The Public Forum.” AFTA Newsletter (American Family Therapy Academy). 1991; Winter:36-42.
- Becker C, Chasin L, Chasin R, Herzig M, Roth S., “Fostering Dialogue on Abortion.” PCP Website. 1992.
- Roth S, Chasin L, Chasin R, Becker C, Herzig M, “From Debate to Dialogue: A Facilitating Role for Family Therapists in the Public Forum.” Dulwich Centre Newsletter (Australia). 1992; 2.
- Becker C, Chasin L, Chasin R, Herzig M, Roth S, “The Public Conversation Project Focuses Dialogue On Abortion.” Family Therapy News. 1992; 23(3).
- Chasin R, Herzig M, Roth S, Chasin L, Becker C, Stains R, Jr., “From Diatribe To Dialogue On Divisive Public Issues: Approaches Drawn From Family Therapy.” Mediation Quarterly. 1996; 13(4).
- Chasin L, “Asking Wise Questions.” PCP Website, 2001.
- Chasin, L, “How to Break the Argument Habit,” in a series of articles on polarization called “Talking with the Enemy” published in the Christian Science Monitor, October 26, 2004.
- Herzig, M, Chasin, L, “Constructive Conversations about Controversial Issues: The Public Conversation Project’s Nuts and Bolts Guide to Dialogue,” printed by Public Conversation Project, 2005.
- Chasin, L, “From Shouting Heads to Shared Concerns: An Interview with Laura Chasin,” Leverage Points for a New Workplace, New World, e-newsletter of Pegasus Communications, Inc., July 18, 2006(76).
- Chasin, L, “Civic Social Work for the 21st Century,” Gestalt International Study Center e-Newsletter, Issue Number 2, 2008.
- Boston Globe report on Public Conversations Project: “Talking with the enemy,” Sunday, Jan 28th, 2001 
- UTNE Reader, "The Radical Middle" 
- Guides at the Public Conversations Project 
- "Released trustees agree to discuss woman president". Miami News. 23 April 1976. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- Utne, Leif (September–October 2004). "The Radical Middle". Utne Reader, issue no. 125, pp. 80–85. Includes brief interviews with Chasin and nine other writers and activists. Retrieved 3 February 2013.