Xavier (“Xav”) de Souza Briggs is vice president of the foundation’s Economic Opportunity and Markets program. He leads the foundation’s work promoting economic fairness, advancing sustainable development, and building just and inclusive cities in the United States, Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He also oversees the foundation’s regional programming in China, Indonesia, and India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Xav is also professor of sociology and urban planning (on leave) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and former head of MIT’s Housing, Community, and Economic Development Group. An award-winning author, commentator and educator, he has led groundbreaking research in economic opportunity, democracy and governance, segregation, and racial and ethnic diversity in cities and metropolitan regions. Xav’s books include The Geography of Opportunity (Brookings, 2005) and Democracy as Problem Solving: Civic Capacity in Communities across the Globe (MIT Press, 2008), which examines efforts in the U.S. and other democracies—Brazil, India and South Africa—to lead change at the local level. His latest book is Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty (Oxford, 2010). From January 2009 to August 2011, while on public service leave from the MIT faculty, Xav served as associate director of the Office of Management and Budget in the White House. There he oversaw a wide array of policy, budget and management issues for roughly half of the cabinet agencies of the federal government. Earlier in his career, Briggs served as a community planner in the South Bronx, a policy adviser and R&D director at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and a faculty member in public policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Xav holds an engineering degree from Stanford University, an MPA from Harvard and Ph.D. in sociology and education from Columbia University.
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