Advisory Board

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 6.27.05 PMXian Barrett is an educator and adult ally who was part of ICP’s Mexico City pilot project launch. During his career as a Chicago public school teacher, Xian received a U.S. Department of Education Teaching Fellowship. In the summer of 2000, Barrett started teaching five and a half days a week at a middle school and one day at an elementary school in Japan under the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) simply because he wanted to give something back after a life-altering study abroad experience.  He was placed in Namino, Japan—a tiny town with a single middle school and elementary school, tons of land and few people. At the schools, Barrett was fortunate to have several master teachers eager to critique and nurture him as a new teacher. They taught him many of the principles that guided Barrett’s teaching. The following year he served full time with the Chicago Teachers Union.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 6.25.10 PMAs part of the ICP advisory board, Majora Carter helps the team with bringing its vision to life. Carter, who was awarded a 2005 MacArthur “genius” grant, served as executive director of Sustainable South Bronx for 7 years, where she pushed both for eco-friendly practices (such as green and cool roofs) and, equally important, job training and green-related economic development for her vibrant neighborhood on the rise. Since leaving SSBx in 2008, Carter has formed the economic consulting and planning firm the Majora Carter Group, to bring her pioneering approach to communities far outside the South Bronx. Carter is working within the cities of New Orleans, Detroit and the small coastal towns of Northeastern North Carolina. The Majora Carter Group is putting the green economy and green economic tools to use, unlocking the potential of every place — from urban cities and rural communities, to universities, government projects, businesses and corporations — and everywhere else in between.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 11.09.08 PMRafi (Hugh) Peterson brings over a decade of experience in the nonprofit sector and advises ICP with best practices related to infrastructure and sustainable organizational ecosystem. He also advises on the relevance, feasibility, and impact of ICP’s programming in relation to the communities with whom we collaborate. He has worked as the Street Outreach Director for the Southwest Organizing Project, as an employee of Ceasefire Chicago, and as a employee and later Board Member of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN).  He has also  worked as a mentor at Marquette Elementary School and Cook County Jail Div.11 Maximum Security.  He is the recipient of the following awards: Community Heroes Award from Local Initiative Support Corporation; the Making a Difference Recognition Award from Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN); State Department Nominated Member to Represent the US Delegation to the Netherlands; as well as the Serving, Community Award from Holy Cross Hospital. Currently, Rafi is working on Project Restore Industries which he started because he saw the problems that formerly incarcerated people and the communities they come from face everyday.  For example, he saw how difficult it was to hire someone to make improvements on your home or feel secure and safe on the block where you live.  He also saw the importance of employing ex-offenders, which gave him a sense of obligation to make things right in the community where he lives on the Southwest side of Chicago.

EDSDr. Sabiyha Prince advises ICP with its urban design curriculum. She is a cultural anthropologist whose writing and research examines contemporary and historical African American life and culture in the US.  Her particular focus has been on how inequality shapes the conditions, experiences, identity and status of Black people living in cities.  She is the author of African Americans and Gentrification in Washington, DC (2014) and Constructing Belonging (2004) and Prince has also published journal and web-based articles on the Black middle class in Harlem, New York, urban redevelopment in New York, African American diversity, and African Americans and comedy.  She was also an assistant professor of anthropology at American University for 12 years. In addition to her work as an author and an educator, Prince has worked on numerous community-based research projects in both Washington, D.C. and New York City.  She is also a seasoned activist/organizer, first cutting her teeth in the anti-apartheid movement, and then making contributions to anti-war and environmental justice efforts working at The Washington Office on Africa, Black Voices for Peace, and Greenpeace, USA.

alexaAlexa Varriano has been working with youth in some capacity for the better part of the past decade. After graduating from college Alexa set off to work for a variety of activist nonprofit organizations across Eastern Europe, first as a Fulbright Scholar in Romania and then as a communications coordinator at an Albanian activist organization called MJAFT! (“Enough!” in Albanian). After two years working on the front lines of political and social activism in Albania, Alexa co-founded her own organization called Tamam, which focuses on empowering marginalized youth in Tirana’s informal areas through art, English language classes, annual summer camps, and international youth exchanges. Following this experience she pursued a Masters degree at Oxford University in Evidence Based Social Intervention. Armed with on the ground experience and a tool kit that would have most likely led to policy work, she finally returned to the United States. Once back in NY, she realized that she was more drawn to working with the youth directly rather than as an advocate in an office somewhere. She became a NYC Teaching Fellow and has since been teaching at Pan American International High School in the Bronx. Working with immigrant youth has been an exciting, challenging and incredibly rewarding experience. In the summer of 2013, Alexa worked with the Illuminated Cities Project as the high school fellows coordinator and has since been involved with the organization in an advisory capacity.

zim BLUE EYES NORWAYDr. Philip Zimbardo‘s current research looks at the psychology of heroism and he advises ICP with its heroism curriculum. He is professor emeritus at Stanford University, and has spent 50 years teaching and studying psychology. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from Yale University, and his areas of focus include time perspective, shyness, terrorism, madness, and evil. Best-known for his controversial Stanford Prison Experiment that highlighted the ease with which ordinary intelligent college students could cross the line between good and evil when caught up in the matrix of situational and systemic forces. He has previously served as President of the American Psychological Association, designed and narrated the award winning 26-part PBS series, Discovering Psychology, and has published more than 50 books and 400 professional and popular articles and chapters, among them, Shyness, The Lucifer Effect, The Time Cure and The Time Paradox. Dr. Zimbardo lectures worldwide and is actively working to promote his non-profit The Heroic Imagination Project. He asks: “What pushes some people to become perpetrators of evil, while others act heroically on behalf of those in need?”

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