IHP Climate Change: The Politics of Food, Water, and Energy

Faculty and Staff

The faculty/staff team shown on this page is a sample of the individuals who may lead your specific program. Faculty and coordinators are subject to change to accommodate each program’s unique schedule and locations.

Program Director
Christian Parenti  
Program Manager
Chris Westcott  
Country Coordinators
Malía Everette, San Francisco Coordinator Jawad Moustakbal, Morocco Coordinator
Phuong Hoang, Vietnam Coordinator Kathryn Ledebur, Bolivia Coordinator
Traveling Faculty
Virginie Le Masson, Fall Eddie Yuen, Fall
Patrick Bresnihan, Fall Bengi Akbulut, Spring
Chris Williams, Spring  
Trustees' Fellows
Sara Bradshaw, Fall Michael Aguilar, Spring

Christian Parenti, Academic Director

Christian Parenti
Program Director
PhD, London School of Economics and Political Science
BA, Eugene Lang College, New School for Social Research

Christian holds a PhD in sociology (co-supervised in geography) from the London School of Economics; he has also completed a series of postdoctoral fellowships at the City University of New York Graduate Center where he worked closely with the geographers Neil Smith and David Harvey. He has held fellowships from the Open Society Institute, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation. He arrived at SIT in 2011 from a teaching position at Brooklyn College. His current research focuses on the environmental history of state involvement in American economic development, from the earliest days of the republic onward. Most of his previous publications have focused on war, crime, repression, surveillance, and state power.

His latest book, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence (2011), explores how climate change is already causing violence as it interacts with the social legacies of economic neoliberalism and cold-war militarism. The book involved several years of travel and research in conflict zones of the Global South.

His three earlier books are The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq (2005), a work of analytic and ethnographic reportage on the first years of US military occupation in Iraq; The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America from Slavery to the War on Terror (2002), a history of routine, everyday surveillance that traces the development of political technologies, like fingerprinting and photographic identification, from their origins in the antebellum South to the present; and Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis (2000/2008), Christian’s first book, considered a social science classic. Lockdown explores the history of the US prison and policing buildup since the 1960s and argues that the buildup is rooted in both global-scale economy shifts and national discursive projects of racialized class control and political theater.

As a journalist, he has reported extensively from Afghanistan, Iraq, and various parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. His articles have appeared in Fortune, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Middle East Report, London Review of Books, Mother Jones, and The Nation (where he is a contributing editor). He has also helped make several documentaries and has won numerous journalistic awards, including the 2009 Lange-Tailor Prize and “Best Magazine Writing 2008” from the Society for Professional Journalists. He also received a 2009 Emmy nomination for the documentary Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi.

In addition to serving as academic director of the IHP/Comparative program on climate change, Christian teaches courses on sustainable development and intercultural service, leadership, and management at SIT Graduate Institute. He splits his time between New York City and Brattleboro, Vermont, and is a native of Putney, Vermont.

Chris Westcott

Chris Westcott, MA, Program Manager
Chris is a social justice educator, and changemaker based in Brooklyn, New York. Chris’s professional background combines experience working with social change–oriented study abroad programs, along with on-the-ground experience with grassroots US-based and international NGOs. Before becoming program manager of the Human Rights and Climate Change programs, Chris was a traveling faculty member, then country coordinator with the Cities program. Additionally, Chris was a program facilitator for two years on CIEE Thailand’s study abroad program focusing on globalization and development. Through his work experience with NGOs, Chris has coordinated NYC-based campaigns for worker’s rights and the right to housing and international campaigns for trade justice and sustainable agriculture. For three years, Chris worked in San Francisco as a founding staff member of ENGAGE, a network that organizes returned study abroad students to effect local and global change. Chris has a BA in environmental studies from Bates College, and an MA in international educational development from Columbia University. While at Columbia, Chris was a teaching assistant for courses on social identity, social change, and human rights education.

Malía Everette

Malía Everette,
Country Coordinator, San Francisco
From 1997 to 2012, Malía was the director of Global Exchange's popular and rapidly expanding Reality Tours program. During her tenure at Reality Tours she oversaw the growth and development of alternative travel programs, study seminars, and fact-finding human rights delegations to over 45 global destinations. Malía believes in the power of travel as a transformative tool for education and social change and sees how travelers have become citizen diplomats. Malía has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and a Master of Arts in international relations. She has written numerous articles about socially responsible travel and is a regular speaker and lecturer. Malía is involved with many local environmental and human rights groups in the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently, she serves on the boards of the Institute of Agriculture and Food Policy (Food First), the Ethical Traveler, THRIVE-Gulu, the Respect Institute, Witness for Peace: Southwest, and Bay Area Green Tours. In 2013, she launched her next project Altruvistas, a foundation and travel company to promote transformation philanthropy and social responsibility in the travel industry. Perhaps most important, Malía is the proud mother of two intrepid, curious, and very well-traveled sons!

Phuong Hoang

Phuong Hoang
Country Coordinator
Phuong earned a master’s degree in sustainable development from SIT Graduate Institute in 2010 and a bachelor of science in international relations from Edgewood College, Madison, Wisconsin, in 2007. After ten years studying and living in the US, Phuong moved back to Vietnam in late 2010 and worked for UN-REDD Programme Vietnam as a communication and network officer, and now she is a coordinator for Participatory Governance Assessment for REDD+ with UNDP Vietnam.

Jawad Moustakbal

Jawad Moustakbal
Country Coordinator, Morocco
Jawad Moustakbal graduated in 2000 with a degree in civil engineering from the EHTP engineering school in Casablanca. He worked as project manager in several companies including OCP, the Moroccan phosphates state company. He is working as consultant in construction management services (CMS). He worked also as a temporary professor in Bouchaib Doukali University. Jawad is also an active member of ATTAC/CADTM Morocco and ACME: Moroccan association for an international water agreement.

Kathryn Ledebur

Kathryn Ledebur, Country Coordinator, Bolivia
Kathryn Ledebur studied Andean history at FLACSO in Quito, Ecuador, and is a graduate of Oberlin College. She has collaborated with a series of human rights and drug policy organizations in the United States and Latin America. Since 1997, she has worked at the Andean Information Network (AIN), which promotes human rights and socioeconomic justice in Bolivia and more humane and effective illicit drug control policies. AIN provides information and analysis to NGO colleagues, the media, and international policymakers on developments in Bolivia and the impact of the US government and European policies. Working closely with civil society organizations in Latin America and the United States, AIN promotes policy dialogue and the development of pragmatic alternatives that address the underlying economic, social, political, and cultural needs of Bolivia. Kathryn lives in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and has been AIN’s director since 1999. She is the author of numerous articles as well as the chapter on Bolivia in the book Drugs and Democracy in Latin America (2003).

Virginie Le Masson

Virginie Le Masson
Faculty
Virginie Le Masson is a geographer with a background in development and land-use planning. She studied in the French Alps for four years at the University of Grenoble 1 where she obtained a maîtrise degree. She combined her studies with several field research experiences conducted in collaboration with local and international nongovernmental organizations in Niger or in the Philippines. It was when she spent several months researching inhabitants of the slums in Manila who rely on dumpsites for their daily livelihoods that she decided to focus her studies on humanitarian and disaster risk reduction issues. She moved to the UK to study disaster management and sustainable development at Northumbria University. As part of her dissertation research, she also worked with the French Red Cross in Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean to support the Disaster Risk Management and Response program. After obtaining her MSc, she embarked on a three-year PhD research at the Centre for Human Geography at Brunel University, UK, to explore more in depth the integration of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Through using a gender sensitive approach, her topic compares the relevance of climate-related interventions and disaster risk reduction strategies to local experiences of environmental changes. Her study used the case of the Himalayan province of Ladakh in Northern India to document mountain communities’ daily challenges and priorities and the implications for ongoing development projects. While at Brunel, Virginie was assistant teacher for a course on research methods for master’s students studying children and international development. She regularly participates in international conferences and published several articles both in French and English on communities’ involvement in disaster risk reduction planning and the integration of local knowledge in climate change adaptation.

Eddie Yuen

Eddie Yuen
Faculty
Eddie Yuen is a writer, editor, and radio producer who is researching the political economy and cultural significance of extinction, of species as well as of language and cultures. This project draws on research on the use of endangered species in Chinese food and medicine. His most recent work is a piece on the discourse of environmental collapse in the book Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth, edited by Sasha Lilley (2012, PM Press). Yuen has co-edited two books on globalization and “anti-globalization” social movements and teaches in the Urban Studies Department at the San Francisco Art Institute. He is also a contributing producer for the radio program Against the Grain.

Patrick Bresnihan

Patrick Bresnihan
Faculty
Patrick Bresnihan is associate researcher in the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media (GradCam) where he leads the postgraduate seminar on the “commons.” He is co-founder of the The Provisional University, an independent research project dedicated to critical and public education, and an active member of the Authority Research Network, a UK-based research network for early career academics. After graduating from Trinity College Dublin with a first class honors degree in 2005, he was awarded a scholarship to Cambridge University and completed a master’s in European history. He returned to Trinity College as an AXA Research Fellow and completed his doctorate in sociology. His PhD analyzed governmental responses to the problem of overfishing and everyday practices of the commons in the Irish ad European fisheries. His teaching and research combine history, anthropology, and social theory to critically examine the politics of sustainability. He has published work on the subjects of fieldwork, participation, and the ecology of the commons. He is currently completing his first book, The Politics of Finitude, to be published by the University of Nebraska Press. 

Bengi Akbulut

Bengi Akbulut
Faculty
Bengi Akbulut is an independent researcher based in Istanbul, Turkey. Her work is in what can broadly be called the political economy of development, currently focusing on issues in political ecology and social movements. After receiving her PhD at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 2011, she spent a year as a visiting scholar at the School of Environment and Development at the University of Manchester. She has written, both in academic and popular press, about state-society relationships and environmental change, participatory decision-making in environmental governance, strategies and trajectories of local environmental struggles, and commons and conflicts over commons. She is also actively engaged with grassroots politics in Istanbul as a part of several organizations, focusing on ecological destruction, enclosure of urban commons, enacting non-capitalist economies, and informal/precarious labor.

Chris Williams

Chris Williams
Traveling Faculty
Chris Williams is an educator with 20 years of experience teaching in diverse and multicultural environments in Britain, the Caribbean, and the United States. He is currently on sabbatical from his position as head of science at Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn and adjunct professor in the department of chemistry and physical science at Pace University in Manhattan. Chris has a BS in physics (with honors) from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and an MS in energy systems and environmental management from Caledonian University, Glasgow, where he completed the research for his thesis on solar technology at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. He completed a second MS in natural science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

Chris writes frequently on the intersection of economics, politics, ecology, and the science of climate change, and is the author of Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis (Haymarket Books, 2010), now in its second printing. In addition to his background in science education and writing, Chris is a long-time social justice and environmental activist. He joined his first political organization at the age of 15 (the African National Congress) and has since been a member of several activist organizations and political parties in Britain, Antigua, and the United States.

Sara Bradshaw

Sara Bradshaw
Trustees' Fellow
Sara Bradshaw is an international educator whose passion for building healthy communities was ignited in 2008 while helping to launch Waves of Hope, an emergent development organization focused on alleviating poverty through sustainable community engagement. She has served as a teacher, facilitator, and group leader in Argentina, Nicaragua, and Spain and traveled through more than 30 countries before landing in Vermont to pursue her master’s in international education at SIT Graduate Institute. Sara received her MA from SIT in November 2012 and worked as the fellow for the spring 2013 Health and Community program in New Orleans, India, Argentina, and South Africa.

Michael Aguilar

Michael Aguilar
Trustees' Fellow
Michael Aguilar has been working in the field of study abroad since 2008. Michael received his bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in law from the University of San Francisco, California. It was during his undergraduate studies that he first experienced the world of study abroad, living and learning in Khon Kaen, Thailand, on the CIEE Development and Globalization Program for a semester. Immediately following his undergraduate studies, Michael returned to work for the Khon Kaen study abroad program where he spent two years working with American students and Thai communities on community-based initiatives focused on researching human rights violations and mining conflicts in northeastern Thailand. In Thailand, Michael was also involved in creating a student mentorship training program, and was invited to advise the CIEE study abroad program based in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, where he would spend the next year and a half designing and implementing the mentorship program. The mentorship program trains alumni of the program to return as mentors supporting and challenging students throughout their study abroad experience. Michael also has a background as a student activist and was involved in food justice and sustainability initiatives as a student in San Francisco. 

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Credits: 16

Duration: Fall or Spring, 15 weeks

Program Sites:
USA, Vietnam, Morocco, Bolivia

Prerequisites: Coursework in political science, economics, and/or environmental science recommended. Learn More...

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Climate Change Fall Itinerary

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