Theresa Williamson - Brazil
Dr. Theresa Williamson is a city planner and founder and executive director of Catalytic Communities (CatComm), an NGO working since 2000 in support of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. In addition to fostering strategic networking, training and communications support on behalf of community organizers, the organization has become known for advocating a community-controlled asset-based development approach to informal settlements, through Favela Community Land Trusts and CatComm’s Sustainable Favela Network. Theresa is an outspoken, respected advocate for the recognition of favelas’ heritage status and their residents’ right to be fully served as equal citizens. She has published several chapters, four op-eds in The New York Times, and has been cited in dozens of publications and television. Dr. Williamson received the 2012 NAHRO Award for her contributions to the international housing debate, 2018 American Society of Rio prize for her contributions to the city, and 2005 Gill-Chin Lim Award for Best Dissertation on International Planning. She is editor-in-chief of RioOnWatch, CatComm’s internationally recognized watchdog favela news service. Dr. Williamson earned her B.A. in Biological Anthropology from Swarthmore College and Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.