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Xavier de Souza Briggs

Vice President for Economic Opportunity and Assets, Ford Foundation

Xavier (Xav) de Souza Briggs is an award-winning author, commentator, educator, and researcher, as well as an experienced manager and policy adviser. He is Vice President for Economic Opportunity and Assets at the Ford Foundation and a faculty member (on leave) at the Department of Urban Studies + Planning (DUSP) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is former head of DUSP’s Housing, Community, and Economic Development Group and associated head of department.

His current research focuses on inclusive economic growth and how rapidly changing societies, particularly in North America and Europe, can thrive, not just cope, with increased ethnic diversity. Xav spent 2009 to 2011 on public service leave from the MIT faculty, appointed by US President Barack Obama, to serve as Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the White House.

His books include The Geography of Opportunity (Brookings, 2005), which won the best book award in planning, Democracy as Problem Solving: Civic Capacity in Communities across the Globe (MIT Press, 2008), a finalist for the C. Wright Mills Prize, and Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty (Oxford, 2010), which won best book of the year from the National Academy of Public Administration.

A frequent speaker on innovation and urban policy, he has also consulted on strategy to leading national and international organizations, such as the World Bank and Rockefeller Foundation, and has been an expert witness in civil rights litigation.