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Executive Advisory Board

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Haleh Arbab

Dr. Haleh Arbab holds a Ph.D. in Education from University of Massachusetts. For 23 years (1983-2005) she worked with FUNDAEC (Fundación para la Aplicación y Enseñanza de las Ciencias) in Cali, Colombia. She was also the founding director of the “Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity”. There she held various positions, including 14 years as Rector of FUNDAEC’s Centro Universitario de Bienestar Rural (University for Rural Wellbeing), a university developed in an Afro-Colombian region and serving rural populations as well as those experiencing forced rural-urban migration and the effects of prolonged conflict. She played a leading role in developing educational materials for FUNDAEC’s Sistema de Aprendizaje Tutorial (SAT) a secondary level educational system used by over 25,000 students throughout the Americas, and Preparation for Social Action (PSA) programs, and directing projects to advance FUNDAEC’s programs funded by the Gates Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, CIDA, and IDRC, among others. She was also the founding director of the Institute for Study of Global Prosperity (2005-2018). The Institute developed learning environments - engaging in research, writing materials, training people, and implementing programs - oriented toward bettering social conditions. 

Katherine Gibson

Dr. Katherine Gibson is Professor of Geography and Deputy Director of the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. Dr. Gibson is internationally renowned for her research on rethinking economies as sites of ethical action and has 30 years of experience working with communities to build resilient place-based economies. She trained as a human geographer with expertise in political economy and, with her collaborator, the late Professor Julie Graham, Dr. Gibson developed a distinctive approach to economic geography drawing on feminism, post-structuralism and action research. The diverse economies research program they initiated has become a vibrant sub-field of study within the social sciences. Gibson-Graham's work on a post-capitalist economic politics has had a widespread readership among those interested in economic alternatives and has been translated into Chinese, South Korean, Turkish, Spanish and French. Along with collaborators in the Community Economies Collective and Community Economies Research Network, Dr. Gibson has recently launched the Community Economies Institute.

Holly Hanson

Dr. Holly Hanson is Emeritus Professor of History at Mt Holyoke College in Massachusetts. She is a social historian with a variety of research interests, including agrarian change in Africa, social history of the Buganda kingdom, pre-colonial African political culture, and globalization as a historical process. These interests recently culminated in her new book, Landed Obligation: The Practice of Power in Buganda, which is part of the Heinemann Social History of Africa series. Hanson has also published numerous articles on a variety of topics, from Bugandan women to global inequality. In addition to teaching, Hanson chaired the Five College African Scholars Program, is a consultant for the Uganda Society, and was recently appointed as the sole historian to the Department of Education’s Title VI National Centers Panel, a group that determines all federal funding for African studies. Hanson has also won numerous awards and distinctions, including dissertation fellowships and teaching awards, a Fulbright Research Grant to study land control as an expression of political power and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.

Michael Karlberg

Dr. Michael Karlberg is a professor and chair of Communication Studies at Western Washington University. His scholarship examines prevailing conceptions of human nature, power, social organization, and social change – and their implications for the pursuit of peace and justice. He has published in such journals as Peace and Change, Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, Journal of Peace and Conflict Studies, and the International Journal of Peace Studies. His first book, Beyond the Culture of Contest, examines the socially unjust and ecologically ruinous consequences of organizing dominant social institutions and practices in a competitive manner. His most recent book, Constructing Social Reality builds on that work by examining the relativism, cynicism, and materialism the culture of contest gives rise to and how this undermines struggles to construct more peaceful and just social forms. His current research explores theories of social change and their translation into movement practice.

Robert Lake

Dr. Robert Lake is distinguished Professor Emeritus of urban planning and policy development and a member of the Graduate Faculties in the Department of Geography and the Bloustein School at Rutgers University. Dr. Lake was Graduate Director and Director of the Doctoral Program in Planning and Public Policy (2009-2015); Acting Director (1997-1998) and Associate Director (1998-2000) of the Center for Urban Policy Research; Co-Director of the Rutgers Community Outreach Partnership Center (1998-2005); and Director of the CUPR Press (1989-2011). Dr. Lake has conducted research on a broad array of planning and public policy issues in the fields of housing, community development, and environmental policy. His current research focuses on community-based planning and the role of social theory in the production of knowledge in the social sciences. He is the author or editor of seven books and has published numerous articles in scholarly and professional journals. His research has been funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Economic Development Administration, United States Information Agency, National Science Foundation, U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, National Institutes of Mental Health, state and local governments, and private foundations.

Michael Penn

Dr. Michael Penn is a Clinical Psychologist, Department Chair, and Professor of Psychology at Franklin & Marshall College.  His research interests and publications explore the application of psychological research and theory to human rights, the interpenetration of psychology and philosophy, and the relationship between culture and mental health.  Professor Penn serves the UN Leader’s Programme, which trains Director-level United Nations officers. In addition to numerous academic papers and chapters, he is the author or co-author of four books, including: Our Common Humanity: Reflections on the Reclamation of the Human Spirit, currently in press; Overcoming Violence against Women and Girls: The International Campaign to Eradicate a Worldwide Problem (2003); Moral Trauma: An Analysis of Akrasia and Mental Health (2016); and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Human Rights and Human Dignity (2020). From 1998-2000, Professor Penn lived in Switzerland where he helped to design the UN-funded, “Education for Peace Project” that helped thousands of children and youth and their families in Bosnia-Herzegovina overcome the effects of genocide.

Jennifer Wells

Jennifer Wells, MSW, is a community organizer and social worker who is currently working as the Deputy Director of Black-Led Organizing at Community Change/Community Change Action. With an extensive background working in child welfare, juvenile justice, community services, program development, and fundraising, She brings a skilled and multi-layered lens to her social justice work. In 2018, she was named Social Worker of the Year by the West Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She is also former Executive Director of Our Future West Virginia. She is an inspiring advocate for strengths-based inquiry and action and the catalyst for the Center for Resilient Communities’ co-created Stories of Resilience Listening Project. To learn more about Jennifer’s conceptualization of resilience, see her Ted Talk - 

Alanna Markle

Alanna Markle holds an MA in Global Finance, Trade and Economic Integration and is Research Associate in the global team at Open Ownership. Open Ownership seeks to make information on the true owners of corporations available and to improve public accountability. Alanna is a graduate of WVU and a co-founder of Firsthand Coffee Cooperative. Over the past ten years she has held a Fulbright Fellowship and worked in a series of consultancy roles with the Fredrick S. Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver, Western Cape Government Strategic ForesightAfrican Futures and Innovation, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. A critical futurist, Alanna’s work uses a range of research, analysis, and data storytelling tools to grapple with complex policy issues. She focused on illuminating challenges from a systems perspective, and deriving and communicating practical insights and solutions. On a mission to be a good ancestor, she is also interested in the issues and ethics associated with longtermism and intergenerational equity.