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Episode #19 Edwidge Danticat: The artist and his time, haitian futurism and the shifting of the world

My Guest:

Edwidge Danticat is a Haitian American novelist, short story writer and essayist. She is the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection, Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist, The Farming of Bones, The Dew Breaker, Create Dangerously, Claire of the Sea Light, and Everything Inside. She is also the editor of The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States,  Best American Essays 2011,  Haiti Noir and Haiti Noir 2.

She has written seven books for children and young adults, Anacaona, Behind the Mountains, Eight Days, The Last Mapou, Mama’s Nightingale, Untwine, My Mommy Medicine, as well as a travel narrative, After the Dance. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a  2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography.  

She is a 2009 MacArthur fellow, a 2018 Ford Foundation  “The Art of Change” fellow, and the winner of the 2018 Neustadt International Prize and the 2019 St. Louis Literary Award.

Website: https://edwidgedanticat.com/

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Episode #18 Dr. Moriba Jah: Spaceflight, space debris, astrodynamics and space policy

My Guest:

Dr. Moriba Jah is an associate professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at The University of Texas at Austin where he is the holder of the Mrs. Pearlie Dashiell Henderson Centennial Fellowship in Engineering. He is the director for Computational Astronautical Sciences and Technologies (CAST), a group within the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences as well as the Lead for the Space Security and Safety Program at the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law. 

Moriba came to UT Austin by way of the Air Force Research Laboratory and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory prior to that, where he was a Spacecraft Navigator on a handful of Mars missions. Moriba is a Fellow of multiple organizations: TED, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), American Astronautical Society (AAS), International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS), Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). 

He has served on the US delegation to the United Nations Committee On Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS), is an elected Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), and has testified to congress on his work as related to Space Situational Awareness and Space Traffic Management. He’s an Co-Editor of the IAA and Elsevier Acta Astronautica journal, and serves on multiple committees: IAA Space Traffic Management, IAA Space Debris, AIAA Astrodynamics, IAF Astrodynamics, and IAF Space Security.

See his personal site and Wikipedia

Twitter of Dr. Moriba Jah: @moribajah

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Episode #17 Prateeksha Singh: Strategic foresight, systems change, and designing participatory futures

Guest:

Prateeksha Singh is a multidisciplinary practitioner whose practice sits at the confluence of systems + foresight + design research. She collaboratively explores how applying a living system lens can provide additional tools and perspectives for working with complex yet adaptive challenges. She is driven to working with diverse voices and harnessing inclusive and plural images of the future, and her work in the past has focused on gender, equity, and nature.

She is currently based in Bangkok as the Head of Experimentation with the UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Innovation Centre, where she supports the building of institutional innovation capabilities within regional UNDP offices, and external partners. These capabilities range from foresight, to reflecting on cohesion of current portfolios, systems change theory, and public policy innovation.

Prateeksha holds a M.Des in Strategic Foresight & Innovation from OCAD University in Toronto, sat on the board of the Association of Professional Futurists from Jan 2018 – Aug 2021, chairs the annual virtual APF Futures Festival, and is the 2019 Next Generation Foresight Practitioner global award recipient for her work on equity based plural futures. 

You can find her on twitter @mpathyDesigns

Association of Professional Futurists: https://www.apf.org/

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#16 Seth Godin: How to create the future with what you do and what you got

Guest:

Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, and speaker. In addition to launching one of the most popular blogs in the world, he has written 20 best-selling books, including The Dip, Linchpin, Purple Cow, Tribes, and What To Do When It’s Your Turn (And It’s Always Your Turn). His book, This is Marketing, was an instant bestseller in countries around the world. The latest book is The Practice, and creatives everywhere have made it a bestseller. Seth is founder of the altMBA and The Akimbo Workshops, online seminars that have transformed the work of thousands of people around the world.

Though renowned for his writing and speaking, Seth also founded two companies, Squidoo and Yoyodyne (acquired by Yahoo!).By focusing on everything from effective marketing and leadership, to the spread of ideas and changing everything, Seth has been able to motivate and inspire countless people around the world.

In 2013, Seth was one of just three professionals inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame. In an astonishing turn of events, in May 2018, he was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame as well. He might be the only person in both.

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Episode #15 Joy Sanchez Taylor: Representation of writers of color and science fiction’s ability to make the impossible possible

Guest:

Joy Sanchez-Taylor is an Associate Professor of English at LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) whose research specialty is intersections between science fiction, fantasy, and critical race theory. She is the author of Diverse Futures: Science Fiction and Authors of Color. The book examines the contributions of late-twentieth- and twenty-first-century US and Canadian science fiction authors of color. By looking at the intersections among science fiction authors of multiple races and ethnicities, Joy Sanchez-Taylor seeks to explain how these authors of color are juxtaposing tropes of science fiction with specific cultural references to comment on issues of inclusiveness in Eurowestern cultures.

The central argument of this work is that these authors are challenging science fiction’s history of Eurocentric representation through the depiction of communities of color in fantastic or futuristic settings, specifically by using cognitive estrangement and the inclusion of non-Eurowestern cultural beliefs and practices to comment on the alienation of racially dominated groups. By exploring science fiction tropes—such as first contact, genetic modification, post-apocalyptic landscapes, and advanced technologies in the works of Octavia E. Butler, Ted Chiang, Sabrina Vourvoulias, and many others—Sanchez-Taylor demonstrates how authors of various races and ethnicities write science fiction that pays homage to the genre while also creating a more diverse and inclusive portrait of the future.

Diverse Futures: https://ohiostatepress.org/books/titles/9780814214732.html

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Episode #14 Wadia Ait Hamza: How to build intergenerational allyship and adapt to a fast changing world

Guest:

Wadia Ait Hamza is Head of the Global Shapers Community at the World Economic Forum. Previously, he worked at the Rabat School of Governance and Economics, at Toyota and at the European Institute for the Mediterranean in Barcelona.

Wadia is 2012 United Nations Alliances of Civilizations fellow, 2012 Atlantic Dialogues Emerging Leader, 2013 cohort of the Global Leadership Fellow of the World Economic Forum, and 2019 hope Tizi award. Wadia was also selected among the 15 below 40 who make “The International Geneva” by the Swiss magazine Le Temps. He is trustee of Al Akhawayn Alumni Association.

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Episode #13 Joshua Mesnik & Michael Rekola: Finding fulfillment in the creative arts, mastering your craft and the future of entertainment

Guests:

Joshua Mesnik is an American actor. He grew up in Naples, Florida and graduated from Florida State University, where he was a longtime member of the campus favorite “30in60” Sketch Comedy Troupe. While working in New York City as a public educator with The QUESTion Project, he began his acting training at the TGW Acting Studio NYC. Soon thereafter he relocated to Los Angeles to begin his work as an actor for film and voice.

Michael Rekola is a producer and storyteller with a focus on helping independent filmmakers craft their films! His specialty ranges from the development of script through to distribution. The first chapter of Mike’s story began on Capitol Hill in the early 2010s where he cut his teeth as a communications director in Congressional Leadership as a producer and director of digital media.

Then it was onto FWD.us, a non-profit founded by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, where Mike was their inaugural communications director who built an entire office and operations. After producing hundreds of successful media packages, Mike decided to make the leap to full entrepreneurship in 2017. Since then Mike has produced, invested, or supported films that have played at Berlinale Film Fest, been sold to American distributors, and is currently developing his next feature film — Burying Doris.

Outside of producing, Michael uses his talents to host the NATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, as its Executive Director and Founder. This Film Festival focuses on champion local and national emerging filmmaking talent. “A rising tide lifts all ships,” is a common phrase you’ll hear Michael repeating. He splits his time between Washington, D.C., and his Great Grandfather’s Farm in Brooklyn, CT with his wife Kaitlin, toddler, Emmi, and undomesticated and devoted canine of eleven years – Monty.

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Episode #12 Chris Williams CEO of Zelos: Startups, data, new economies and creating inclusive futures

Guest:

Chris Williams, Founder and CEO at ZELOS. Zelos is a search engine and archival database for Track & Field meet results using artificial intelligence to provide free, accessible, and accurate information to our diverse and global community. 

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Episode #11 Dr. Etta D. Jackson: How to live a more fulfilled life in the new age of aquarius and the role of spirituality in shaping the future

Guest:

Etta D. Jackson worked in the field of education for twenty-five years as teacher, guidance counselor and district administrator in both New York and Wisconsin. Ms. Jackson holds a B.A. in Biology and two M.S. degrees: one in Psychoanalytic Counseling and Development and the other in Administrative Leadership and Supervision. She recently received her Ph.D. in Leadership and Change at Antioch University in “The Role of Geospatial Information and Effective Partnerships in the Implementation of the International Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Her passion for wanting to make a difference led her to the founding of The Institute for Conscious Global Change ICGC), a 501(c)(3) international non-for-profit NGO organization in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations. She now serves as the CEO of the Institute. This New York based organization was founded in 2007 with the objective of providing a comprehensive response to: ‘Fundamentally Changing the Way Humanity Lives in and Creates Its Environment’! 

The focus of our work is to provide visual but tangible development solutions to support the unfinished mandate of the Millennium Development Goals and now Sustainable Development Goals. With the aid of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), GeoDesign and related technologies, ICGC engages governments and citizens to develop integrated holistic and comprehensive development models for implementation in each country. ICGC believes this approach is essential for the eradication of extreme poverty, to create the ‘Future We Want’ and ensure no one is left behind. ICGC seeks to ‘Put Equality on the Map! 

Ms. Jackson is also the author of four books: • Understanding Your Choice • Unveiling the Secrets of the Feminine Principle • The Role of Consciousness in Governance • The Idea That Is the United States of America-Its Occult Foundation. She is the mother of one daughter and has a grandson.

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Episode #10 Dr. Neil Oculi: Worldbuilding, climate change, the gap between science and policy, mass mobilization and the richest 2%

Guest:

Dr. Neil Oculi is an interdisciplinary political geographer. He received his Ph.D. in Geography and an MA in International Studies from the University of Connecticut. He also holds a BA in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, and studied farm management and rural development at the United World College in Venezuela. Neil has taught courses in Geography, Globalization, and Global Environmental Politics at the University of Connecticut. Neil is currently the Resident Lecture in Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values at the Center for Marine Resource Studies in the Turks and Caicos. Neil is also an adjunct professor at the University of Hartford, teaching Environmental Studies and Environmental Justice courses. 

His research interests include the vulnerability of Small Island Development State (SIDS), foreign policy analysis, international climate change policy, modeling of sea-level rise within SIDS, and hydro and hydraulic modeling of flood events within SIDS. His research adventures have taken him to Venezuela, Mexico, Tanzania, and the Caribbean, his home region.  

Born and raised in Saint Lucia, Neil’s passion for environmental justice and climate change sprouted during his time as the president of a local environmental club, the Mabouya Valley Environmental Club. Serving in that role, he managed local environmental projects such as river stabilization, watershed management, and education, youth Heritage Tourism initiatives, etc.