IHP Cities in the 21st Century: People, Planning, and Politics (Spring)
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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.
|Sonal Mehta||Waly Faye||Carolina Rovetta|
|Carmen Madeiros||Juan Arbona||Camila Cociña|
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.
Country Coordinator, India
Trained as a space scientist and technologist, Sonal Mehta has a master’s degree in physics and a postgraduate diploma in space sciences. She worked as a space scientist at the Indian Space Research Organization in her early career. She then worked in the field of science education, developing creative and activity-based learning for science education programs and national science textbooks. She was engaged in the science and environment movement and conducted research on science policy and philosophy. She has been a human rights and women’s rights activist for more than twenty-five years. As a grassroots activist she has worked with several national and state movements to improve the social, political, and economic rights of marginalized, indigenous, and untouchable communities in India. She has travelled extensively in India, Canada, Europe, and Asia. She has participated in and coordinated the World Social Forum process at regional, national, and international levels. She is also actively involved with the International Women’s Movement of rank-and-file women. A founder of Eklavya Foundation, she is currently working on sustainable development alternatives for an indigenous community of forest dwellers and bamboo workers in the state of Gujarat in western India.
Waly Faye, MA, Country Coordinator: Dakar, Senegal
Waly Faye is a development manager. He has been coordinating study abroad programs at the West African Research Center in Dakar, Senegal, since 2007, and he has coordinated several faculty development programs in Senegal. He has been the country coordinator of the SIT Study Abroad/IHP Cities in the 21st Century in Dakar since 2010. Waly has significant experience in international development and international education as well as experience planning field trips. He has a deep understanding of the social, political, economic, and cultural environments of Senegal through working with many NGOs and grassroots organizations in different areas of the country. Waly holds a master’s degree in development projects management and is finishing another MA in public administration. Waly is interested in public financial management, international development, and urbanization.
Carolina Rovetta, MA
Country Coordinator, Argentina
Carolina holds a five-year degree in arts from the University of Buenos Aires and a postgraduate degree in contemporary cinema and theater. She has been working in the field of international education for many years. Carolina is in charge of designing academic and immersion programs in Argentina for students and institutions from abroad. Her focus is on the interaction between academic content and cultural sensitivity. She is very interested in arts and culture and works as a cultural facilitator for the city of Buenos Aires. She has written several pedagogical guides on cultural activities in immersion. Ms. Rovetta serves as an academic advisor for American students studying abroad in Argentina. She first began working with IHP in 2005 and helped establish the Cities in the 21st Century program in Buenos Aires.
Carmen Medeiros, PhD, Traveling Faculty
Carmen Medeiros holds a PhD in cultural anthropology from the City University of New York (2005). She specializes in Latin America with particular emphasis on critical development and postcolonial theories, indigenous movements, and modern discourses on race, mestizaje, and hybridity. Currently, she teaches at the graduate institute for development research (CIDES–UMSA) in La Paz, Bolivia. Before settling in Bolivia, Dr. Medeiros was the academic director of the SIT Study Abroad program in La Paz (2010–2012) and taught at NYU´s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies in New York; the Facultades Latinoamericanas de Ciencias Sociales in Ecuador; the Trent University in Ecuador Program; Wheaton College in Massachusetts; and the City University of New York in New York. She has also been a consultant with Bolivian research centers, ministries, and international development agencies.
Juan Manuel Arbona, PhD, Traveling Faculty
Juan was originally trained as an urban designer and worked in several projects in the US and Guatemala. His graduate work at Cornell University focused on urban political ecology (MRP) and urban political economy (PhD), with particular emphasis on Andean urban systems. He was a professor at Bryn Mawr College from 2002 to 2013, where he taught courses on cities of the developing world, urban theory, the right to the city, and urban neoliberalism. His research and publications have incorporated a wide range of issues from the informal economy and neighborhood politics, to urban histories and ethnographies. His work has been published in places like Le Monde Diplomatique, Nueva Sociedad, Bulletin of Latin American Studies, and GeoForum. His current research focuses on trade dynamics between Aymara merchants and Chinese family consortiums, framed by the literature on “globalization from below.”
Camila Cociña, MSc, Traveling Faculty
Camila Cociña is a Chilean architect currently based in London. Her practice has been mainly focused on urban studies and housing, with particular attention to the promotion of practices to ensure equity and integrated sustainable development.
She has taught in universities in Chile, worked as an editor of EURE — an academic journal on regional and urban studies — and has written articles on housing and urbanism in different publications.
A co-founder of the NGO Reconstruye, Camila worked on the reconstruction after the 2010 earthquake in Chile through the construction of socially integrated housing projects and public participation processes. This work was recognized by UN-Habitat as one of the “100 best practices” in 2012.
Camila holds an MSc in building and urban design in development from the Development Planning Unit of University College London, where she is now studying for an MPhil/PhD in development planning. Her research is about the challenges of housing policy in reducing inequalities through the construction of more egalitarian cities, in the Chilean context.
Meghan Phadke is a New York City school teacher and alum of the Cities program. She currently works in a high-poverty public school in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood where she has built a comprehensive music program, from the ground up, that now services over 400 students. In this role, she has worked closely with arts foundations and nonprofits as well as city arts agencies in order to obtain, and maintain, resources. She continues to work at developing and implementing a social justice music curriculum. Meghan recently completed her graduate work in urban affairs. She is interested in issues surrounding the building and sustaining of educational reform, in particular the use of participatory processes and the privatization of educational services.
Duration: Spring, 16 weeks
New York City, New York, USA; Ahmedabad, India; Dakar, Senegal; Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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...
Spring program travel itinerary
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