IHP Cities in the 21st Century: People, Planning, and Politics (Fall)

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
Tabitha Decker
Country Coordinators
Glenda de la Fuente Mia Goldblatt
Liem T. Nguyen
Ingrid Olivio Sally Frankental
Rick Miller
Trustees Fellow
Estefania Sanchez

Tabitha Decker

Tabitha Decker, PhD, Program Director
Tabitha is a sociologist with extensive experience conducting comparative research on cities. She earned a BA with honors in international relations from Wellesley College and a PhD in sociology from Yale University.

Tabitha’s recent research and publications focus on interrelated aspects of social and spatial change, and she is particularly interested in urban transportation. Her dissertation, completed with fieldwork support from a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship and the Social Science Research Council, investigates the planning and realization of the Dubai Metro. This project uses the metro, specifically why and how it was created, as a probe into Dubai’s transnational boom-time social and economic foundations.

Research and study have taken her to several cities in the Middle East, including Dubai, Damascus, and Sana'a. A former Thomas J. Watson fellow, Tabitha conducted an ethnographic study of female taxi drivers in Cape Town, Dubai, Melbourne, and Kuala Lumpur. Her urban research trajectory was launched on an SIT Study Abroad program (Gender and Development in India) where she completed an independent study of an all-female police station in Mysore. She returned to SIT as a traveling faculty member on IHP Cities in 2012. Tabitha resides in Brooklyn, New York, and is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Glenda de la Fuente

Glenda de la Fuente, MA
Country Coordinator, Brazil
Glenda de la Fuente holds a bachelor’s degree in translation and a postgraduate degree from King’s College, University of London, in applied linguistics and English language teaching. She was a professor for and coordinator of the extracurricular English program at the University of Buenos Aires, where she was in charge of teacher training courses. Since 1987, she has been a member of the Humanist Movement, an international volunteer organization engaged in the promotion of equity and human rights worldwide; through this work, she has served as a lecturer and promoter of grassroots groups committed to the principles of nonviolence and nondiscrimination in Argentina, Paraguay, Spain, and Brazil. Born in Argentina, for the last nine years she has lived in São Paulo, where she currently works as a freelance conference interpreter and translator. She also promotes humanist education programs with community-based groups. She has been the country coordinator of the SIT Study Abroad/IHP Cities program since 2008, and since 2010 she has also coordinated the SIT Study Abroad/IHP Health and Community program in São Paulo.


Mia Goldblatt

Mia Goldblatt, Country Coordinator: Cape Town, South Africa
Mia has travelled extensively and has visited, among others, beautiful countries like New Zealand, Scotland, Norway, Australia, Botswana, Wales, Sweden, Namibia, and Israel. She has lived in Cape Town, Johannesburg, London, Melbourne, and Jerusalem and has finally come home to roost in Cape Town, where she was born. She has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and a diploma in public relations from the London School of Public Relations. However, her passion has always been within the tourism and hospitality industries, and she has worked in hotels, on a cruise ship, and within event management and corporate relocation. She currently runs her own lifestyle management business, where she assists busy people and small businesses with organizing their chaos. Mia loves the outdoors and hiking in the mountains of Cape Town. Mia has been involved with the Cities in the 21st Century program since 2010 as an assistant country coordinator.


Liem T. Nguyen

Liem T. Nguyen, PhD
Country Coordinator: Vietnam
Liem is a sociologist and demographer who was born in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he continues to live and work. He earned a master’s degree and PhD in sociology from Brown University in 2001 and 2004 respectively. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Asia Research Institute under the National University of Singapore between 2004 and 2005. Liem was a founding member of the Institute of Population, Health and Development and has been the institute’s deputy director since 2009. He worked for the Government's Institute of Sociology under the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences between 1996 and 2011.

His major areas of interest include migration, urbanization, and health. He is particularly interested in the dynamics and interactions among those three areas within the context of rapid economic development. Liem has broad research and consultancy experience with government institutions, local organizations, NGOs, and international organizations, including the Department for International Development (UK), the World Bank, the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Care International, Population Council, and the United States Agency for International Development.


Ingrid Olivo

Ingrid Olivo, MPhil, Traveling Faculty
Ingrid Olivo is a development professional with 16 years of experience combining policy/advisory work, research and teaching with specialization in urban planning. Trained as an architect in San Salvador (UCA), Ingrid continued her graduate studies in London (UCL) and New York (Columbia University), where she is finishing a PhD focused on hurricanes in Puerto Rico. She developed her intellectual trajectory with the support of the British Council, Fulbright, UNEP-UNESCO and the Organization of American States among others. Her publications and research focus on cultural heritage preservation, slum upgrading, and environmental sustainability including disaster prevention and mitigation.

Ingrid has worked as a planner for governmental bodies, NGOs, private firms, international organizations, and universities. Her teaching record includes mentoring and teaching undergraduate and graduate students and adult learners in the US, Europe, and Latin America.

Her approach integrates teamwork, people-centeredness, cross-cultural and multilingual skills, familiarity with traditional and unconventional teaching methods, and curiosity. She is fond of traveling, exploring the arts, cooking and trying new cuisines, growing edible gardens, practicing several sports, and cultivating lasting friendships.


Sally Frankental

Sally Frankental, PhD, Country Coordinator: South Africa
Sally Frankental is a sociocultural anthropologist who taught at the University of Cape Town for many years. She directed the university’s Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research from 1980 to 1992. Her current research interests are in the areas of migration, identity, ethnicity, and citizenship. Her association with the SIT Study Abroad/IHP Cities program (since 1999) has been facilitated by her teaching of anthropology of development and applied anthropology, her supervision of a wide variety of graduate students’ research projects conducted locally, and the consultancy work she has done for the city of Cape Town. Her book South Africa’s Diverse Peoples (with Dr. Owen Sichone), commissioned as part of a series specifically for American university and public libraries, was published by ABC-CLIO in 2005. She was a founding member of the anti-apartheid organization Jews for Justice


Rick Miller

Rick Miller, PhD & MArch, Traveling Faculty
Rick lectures on world cultures and urbanization processes in the UCLA Department of Geography, where he received his PhD. Trained as both an architect and a social scientist, Rick researches people and the landscapes they construct and inhabit. He promotes on-site investigation using multiple methods of visual and ethnographic inquiry.

His dissertation, “Nomadic and domestic: dwelling on the edge of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia,” with fieldwork support from FLAS and Fulbright fellowships, explores how the building of informal settlements reshapes both landscape and society in Inner Asia. This research contributes toward better analysis of housing and land tenure issues for rural-to-urban migrants, who increasingly underpin urbanization in developing economies. Rick maintains several ongoing projects on city-building in colonial-era Rangoon, early modern Los Angeles, and contemporary China.

On the side, Rick is a member of the Compton Cricket Club — a team comprised of homeless men from downtown Los Angeles and at-risk youth from Compton.


Estefania Sanchez

Estefania Sanchez, Trustees Fellow
Estefania is a social responsibility consultant who has a particular interest in youth as a stakeholder. Over the past several years she has worked in Ecuador and Venezuela with companies implementing social projects along their value chain and has developed local and international networks to bridge knowledge, initiatives, and resources from various sectors. She has a double degree in policy studies and Latin American studies with a focus on education from Lafayette College. She is returning for a second consecutive fall term as the Trustees Fellow. She is an IHP and SIT alumna as well as a former group leader for The Experiment in International Living. Her research interests are exploring links among learning systems, modes of intercultural respect, media, art, and collaborative management models for youth to create social value.


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Credits: 16

Duration: Fall, 16 weeks

Program Sites:
New York, NY, USA; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Cape Town, South Africa; Hanoi, Vietnam.

Prerequisites: Previous college-level coursework and/or other preparation in urban studies, anthropology, political science, or other related fields is strongly recommended but not required. Learn More...

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