Adriana Corti

Program Assistant & Field Trip Coordinator for Ecuador ProgramsPortrait of Adriana Corti

Adriana Corti (she/her/hers) received her bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Literature from the Catholic University of Quito. She minored in International Relations and Business, and interned at the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Relations in the department of Economic Promotion as an undergraduate. During her time in school she also studied in Denmark for a year as a member of a student exchange program. After graduating, Adriana held a position with IBM, in the Learning Services department, but left the position to grow her family. Since 2001 she has held a coordination position with HECUA’s Ecuador programs. Adriana has passion for her family, community development, and also enjoys traveling internationally. She knows Spanish, English, Danish, a little French, and some Portuguese and German too.

Camila Catellacci

Program Coordinator, Italy

Camilla (she/her/hers) closely collaborates with the Program Directors in order to support the day by day work to deliver the program. She began working with HECUA in 2019 in an administrative capacity to support the program. Camilla is a mother to three teenagers and has experience working for Nike as a sales representative, and nearly 15 years of experience working in the Italian Fashion Business as an assistant buyer, showroom vice manager, area manager, divisional and sales manager for several brands such as Giorgio Armani, Dolce e Gabbana and others. She also taught scuba diving in Kenya as PADI OWSI (PADI – Professional Association Scuba Instructors) (OWSI – Open Water Scuba Instructor) and is a PADI Medic First Aid instructor.

Charles Dawson

Program Co-Director, New ZealandPortrait of Charles Dawson

Charles Dawson (he/him/his) grew up in Wellington, New Zealand. He has a B.A. in History and English, and Honors and Master’s degrees in that subject. He also earned a doctorate with a focus on environmental and literary issues from the University of British Columbia in Canada. He has studied Māori language and is very much aware of the importance of experiential learning.

Through his father Martin, Charles was exposed to crucial aspects of New Zealand’s Treaty of Waitangi-based reconciliation process. He went on to work in that area, most recently at the Waitangi Tribunal as facilitator for the inquiry into the major flora, fauna and Māori cultural and intellectual property claims. He is the co-founder and New Zealand representative for the Australasian literature, environment and culture network ASLEC-ANZ, and the co-founder of the environmental history journal Environment & Nature in New Zealand. Charles is delighted to be involved with teaching at HECUA, where his passions for teaching, learning, environmental and cultural issues find a natural home.

Charles on teaching, learning and partnership with HECUA students.

Partnership is such a fundamental core of HECUA’s way of working and being in the world, that it is not surprising that it rests at the heart of the New Zealand program. Because of HECUA’s focus, the students tend to collaborate with the wider community (of people and ecosystems) in mind. The New Zealand program is driven by the same commitment, as internships, group learning, and insights from Māori tradition forge memorable learning experiences.

Internships create working partnerships where students can learn from site mentors and supervisors about their work and their communities of engagement. In New Zealand HECUA is building links with a range of NGOs, community, policy-making and educational teams to try to forge partnerships that grow past a single semester, and develop into projects or activities that keep on evolving.

For the HECUA New Zealand staff, the term partnership resonates powerfully with New Zealand’s recent history of reconciliation between Aotearoa’s indigenous Māori citizens (some 15% of the nation) and the government.

Why might this matter to an education program in the 2000s? In part because both the program founder and faculty member, Peter Horsley, and also my own father Martin, worked with Māori for many years to try to get governments to honor the Treaty and its promises.

So when our students visit the sacred mountain Ruapehu (and its dancing rivers, silenced or diverted downstream by power schemes) with local Māori, the importance of partnerships sought, lost and now being tentatively reforged/renegotiated in the 21st century, is uppermost. And the remarkable moments created by our host’s generous sharing of their traditions, their gathering spaces, and their food, create lasting memories the prompt our students to think deeply about what belonging, home, and honoring indigenous tradition means and demands in their lives today, and in the future. These matters are worth pondering as a student or a citizen in settler societies like New Zealand or the US where our histories haunt us unless we reconcile with them.

I believe many students leave New Zealand intent on creating, extending or re-honoring partnerships back home, be they with Native American people, local NGOs, or networks of like-minded people. They see how partnership in New Zealand has created a powerful vision of collaboration and reconciliation, and they know that way of working is something the world still desperately needs. HECUA students tend to respond to that need, and are drawn to HECUA’s long-standing commitment to the tough issues, and to working with community. We try to help them hear what the land and its people can teach them here.

Elena Monami

Supporting Faculty, Italy

Elena Monami (she/her/hers) teaches the Italian language and culture course for Sustainable Agriculture, Food, and Justice in Italy. She holds a Ph.D. in applied linguistics from the Università per Stranieri in Siena, Italy, as well as a master’s degree in Italian literature and cinema from the University of Siena. She has led the Siena Abroad semester for the University of Massachusetts since 2002, and has extensive experience teaching Italian language to learners in Italy, Spain, Japan, Argentina, and Indonesia.

Emily Oliver

Program Director, Media and Movements

Emily (she/her/hers) is a poet and educator who lives in South Minneapolis. Since 2017, Emily has worked at Carleton College where she was the Associate Director for Academic Civic Engagement and Scholarship in the Center for Civic and Community Engagement and a lecturer in the program for Ethical Inquiry. With Ed Studies faculty Anita Chikkatur, Emily is the Co-PI of the Carleton Faribault PAR Collaboration, a participatory action research project about educational equity in Faribault, MN. Thanks to the support of a Carleton Public Works Initiative grant, Emily and Faribault community organizer Cynthia Gonzalez, recently co-designed and co-taught the course Community-based Learning & Scholarship: Ethics, Practices.  

Previously, Emily taught as a lecturer in the English Department at Cornell University where she received her MFA in Poetry.  She also taught courses, through the Cornell Prison Education Program at Auburn Correctional Facility and the Telluride Association Summer Program.

As an undergrad at Knox College, Emily founded Knox Writers’ House, a digital audio map of contemporary writing for which she interviewed hundreds of writers about how they experience where they live. With a 2017 Queens Council on the Arts New Works grant, she co-created A Poetry Walk of Jackson Heights, an immersive, geo-sensitive mobile installation that walked listeners around a singular New York neighborhood while they listened to site-specific poetry.

Emily’s poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, DIAGRAM and elsewhere. Her book manuscript was named a finalist for the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize at Persea Books. In 2019, her co-written article Digital Participatory Poetics and Civic Engagement in the Creative Writing Classroom was published in the Journal of Creative Writing Studies. An article Emily co-wrote with CS Professor Amy Cizmar-Dalal, “Case Study: A Multi-year Community-Engaged Learning Capstone in Computer Science,” is forthcoming from The Journal of Higher Education Outreach & Engagement.

Emily Anderson

Program Director, Inequality in America

Dr. Emily Anderson (she/her/hers) is a scholar, writer, educator and civic leader. Her research considers how we use stories to understand the world and shape our sense of personal and political possibility. Currently, she is studying how contemporary writers re-imagine Laura Ingalls Wilder’s iconic Little House on the Prairie novels to talk about immigration today; work from this project has appeared in the Journal of Popular Culture. In addition to her scholarship, Emily is the author of three young adult novels including Fifteen and Change (the story of a teenager who gets involved in the Fight for Fifteen labor movement) which was recognized by the American Library Association and the Junior Library Guild. Emily’s fiction, essays and poetry have appeared in a variety of publications including Harper’s, The Atlantic, the Kenyon Review, and Best American Experimental Writing.

In 2021, Emily was elected to a second term on the City Council of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a community of 68,000 ninety miles east of St. Paul. In this part-time role, she works to promote civic engagement, the arts, and social justice in the city where she grew up.

A graduate of Macalester College, Emily has taught at the American School of Madrid, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (where she received her MFA in Writing), the University at Buffalo (where she received her PhD in English) and in the Honors Program at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Outside of work, Emily loves TV comedies, reading audiobooks in hammocks, hanging out by bodies of water (ideally on some sort of low-effort watercraft, like a pontoon), and taking walks.


Filippo Randelli

Program Co-Director, Sustainable Food, Agriculture, and Justice in ItalyPortrait of Fillipo Randelli
University of Florence

Filippo Randelli (he/him/his) is responsible for the program as a whole, teaches the course Agriculture and Sustainability in Tuscany within the Sustainable Food, Agriculture and Justice program, guides students in internships, and supervises the Independent Study Project.

Filippo Randelli holds a Ph.D. in Economic Geography from the University of Rome. He is a tenure-track researcher and lecturer in the Department of Economic Science at the University of Florence. He has done extensive research on sustainable tourism, geographical economics and environmental economics, and has given lectures and seminars on these themes and participated in many international conferences and workshops. He is on the board of the Società di Studi Geografici, and has been an invited scholar at Utrecht University and Cambridge University. Filippo Randelli is also an agricultural entrepreneur himself, having moved from the city to a small farm in Greve in Chianti, where he makes wine and is part of a B&B business.

Filippo on teaching, learning and partnership with HECUA students.

I see my work as opening the door of food culture in Italy, and I look forward to students stepping through that door. Food in Italy is not a commodity, but is culture itself, and the Italian approach to food offers one vision for sustainability. Students will meet people who produce food, sell food, and are involved in cultural movements about food. Using a historical approach and many in-person encounters, we will see how sustainability is composed of linked systems, such as industry, agriculture, transportation, and many others. Tuscany is a leader in the transition to sustainability, but this transition is happening all over the world. My hope for my students is that they will bring this vision back home, and will then find their own places in movements for sustainability.

Julia Dinsmore

Community Faculty, Inequality in America

Julia Dinsmore (she/her/hers) is an author, poet, singer-songwriter, and poverty abolitionist who is best-known for her poem, “My Name is Not Those People.” Julia uses creative voice and storytelling to talk about what we too often ignore – class and poverty in America. She has been teaching with HECUA for 30 years.

From church basements to the halls of congress, Julia has presented in her edu-performance style, calling those who listen to join the work of creating a just world for those experiencing poverty and marginalization. She is a teacher for students in high schools and ivy leagues. She has taught students at Stanford University, Brown, Swarthmore, and Amherst College, among others. She is most well known for her classes in neighborhood “porch sitting” which she calls an alternative to service-learning!

Julia is a mother and grandmother who lives in the Twin Cities of Minnesota and is deeply committed to her communities there. She has been a Community Faculty member with HECUA; Inequality In America (Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs) in St. Paul for the past 30 years and has been part of shaping the creative community-based pedagogy of the institution.

Though functionally illiterate for most of her life, Julia taught herself how to write while writing her first book, “My Name Is Child of God, Not Those People, A First Person Look at Poverty,” (Augsburg Fortress). This book has become required reading in university classrooms and a favorite book of book clubs and reading groups.

Lena Jones

Program Director, Race in America: Then and NowPortrait of Lena Jones

Lena Jones (she/her/hers) directs HECUA’s summer Race in America: Then and Now program. Additionally she is a full-time political science faculty member at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, where she has been teaching since 2002. Lena is active in several civic engagement initiatives and is part of a core team that received a 2006 Minnesota Campus Compact/Minnesota Office of Higher Education grant to create a Center for Civic Engagement at MCTC. In addition to her interest in and experience teaching about civil rights and social change in the US context, Lena has also participated in research projects exploring racism, immigration, and social movements in Western Europe and South Africa. In 2004, Lena received a fellowship from the University of Minnesota’s Human Rights Center to support a residency with the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) where she participated in IDASA’s efforts to institute civic engagement projects in the Gauteng province. While in South Africa, she also took part in grassroots democracy-building efforts aimed at gaining access to water and fighting xenophobia and discrimination. During Spring Semester 2009, she led HECUA’s Divided States of Europe: Globalization and Inequalities in the New Europe program in Oslo Norway.

Lena on teaching, learning and partnership with HECUA students.

To me, teaching political science is a lot like teaching drumming. I can certainly teach a good amount about drumming through assigning readings, lecturing, and showing videos about technique, the different types of drums, and the different styles of drumming. However, to truly teach my students how to drum, I need to make my students actually hold a drum and hear and feel the sensation of a hand or a stick hitting the skin of the drum. The same could be said about teaching about politics, power, and social change. I have found that my most profound experiences teaching have been the ones where I, with my students, have seen, heard, and touched the things that were being taught. Since 2006, I have taught the Civil Rights Movement: History and Consequences —a course filled with profound moments where my students and I get to experience the places and talk to the people who we have read about, heard about, or seen in a video, relate the theories that we’ve learned to lived experiences, and grapple with how past struggles relate to the present and our own lives.

Lena’s Research and Current Projects

For as long as I can remember, I have had an intellectual and personal interest in the efforts of political communities to define who and what they are, the conflicts brought about by these efforts, and the factors that drive ordinary people to recognize and utilize their power to bring about extraordinary change.

My interest in these issues extends beyond the United States. While I was a study abroad student in Denmark during the summer of 1993, I became fascinated by the struggles over national identity in Denmark and other European countries in the context of European integration and increasing numbers of immigrants and refugees who were perceived by the host populations as being a “threat.” I also became fascinated by the efforts of individuals and organizations from those groups that were perceived as “threatening” to find a voice and a sense of agency in Europe. Since that summer, I have participated in research projects analyzing immigration and refugee policy, the political organizing efforts of immigrant communities, and public opinion and political discourse about immigration in Europe.

My fascination with nation-building later took me to Africa and in 2004, I received a fellowship from the University of Minnesota’s Human Rights Center to support a residency with the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA). It was an amazing experience to be in South Africa during the 10th Anniversary of its first free elections and participate in IDASA’s efforts to institute civic engagement projects in the Gauteng province. While in South Africa, I had the privilege of working with and learning from local grassroots activists who were organizing efforts in their communities to gain access to running water and fight xenophobia and discrimination.

My interest in the efforts of ordinary people to change their worlds brought me further north to Somalia in July 2006. There, I was able to see, first hand, the efforts of individuals to rebuild a country after a devastating civil war and government collapse. One of those individuals was a former student of mine who successfully raised the money and community support to build a library and resource center in Garowe, Somalia.

Back in the United States, I am part of a team of faculty at Minneapolis Community and Technical College that received a Minnesota Campus Compact grant to create a Center for Civic Engagement whose goals include increasing the number and quality of experiential learning opportunities at that institution. From January – December 2008, I was also the director of the Somali Student Ambassador Project, a civic engagement program of the Minneapolis League of Women Voters and Somali Family Services that trains Somali college students to create and implement non-partisan civic engagement projects in the Twin Cities. In addition, I am currently serving as the Co-Director of Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s Center for Teaching and Learning and the Faculty Coordinator of MCTC’s Community Development Degree Program. This program is part of the Community Learning Partnership, a national initiative to connect post-secondary institutions with grassroots groups, organizers, and educators to create new educational pathways into community change careers.

Presentations and Publications


“Racism at the Top” research project, University of Amsterdam, University of Vienna, and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture (Spring 1997-Fall 1999)
Member of a multi-national research team that examined parliamentary discourse related to immigration in six Western European countries. The results of the project were presented to the European Parliament and published in a book titled Racism at the Top (Drava Verlag, 2000).

Conference Presentations

  • Co-Presenter, “Assessment in the Trenches: Strategies for Measuring Global Learning Gains,” AAC&U Shared Futures: General Education for a Global Century Summer Institute, 3 August, 2011, Ellicott City, MD.
  • Presenter, “Effectively Involving Faculty in Institutional Change for Student Success,” MnSCU Promising Practices for Student Success 2011 Conference, 25 February, 2011, Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
  • Panelist, “Tackling the Cutting Edge Issues of Student Success: Proven and Promising Strategies for Engaging Faculty” Achieving the Dream 2011 Strategy Institute “Equity and Excellence” 8-11 February, 2011, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Panelist, “An Intergenerational Conversation about Civil Rights,” Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Youth of Today Create Tomorrow’s Change Conference, 7 November 2008, University of Minnesota—Twin Cities.
  • Panelist, “Institutional Investment in Civic Agency: Experience from the Field” Civic Agency Initiative Kick-off Institute, 6 November 2008, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota.
  • Presenter, “Somalia– Diaspora to Partnership” The U.S. Institute of Peace’s Identity and Global conflict: Implications for the 21st Century Conference, 20 April 2007, Northern Virginia Community College.
  • Panelist, “Public Achievement and Civic Engagement: The Public Work of Higher Education”, Mnscu/CTL Realizing Student Potential Conference, 27 February 2004, Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
  • Panelist, “Public Work as Institutional Change,” Public Work in Higher Education: Theory and Practice of Civic Engagement, 19 March 2004, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota.
  • “Immigration, Corporations and Democracy.” Presented at Vanishing Democracy: Challenging Corporate Power Conference, 29 March 2003, First Universalist Church, Minneapolis, MN.
    “Closing the Floodgates: the discourse of migration, security and race in Britain.” Presented at Race, Ethnicity, and Migration: the United States in a Global Context, 16-18 November 2000, University of Minnesota.
  • “Anti-racism and Diversity Politics in Western Europe.” Presented at Discourse and Racism: an issue for Critical Discourse Analysis, 14-16 May 1998, University of Vienna.
  • “The EU and National Discourses on Immigration.” Presented at Space and Identity: Borders, margins, migration in late Twentieth-Century Europe, 20-21 February 1998, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • “An analysis of public opinion on immigration in Western Europe.” Presented at International Governance in an Era of Change, 26-29 June 1995, University of Tübingen.


  • “Foreigner and Asylum policies in Western Europe: an overview of the political systems and laws on immigration and asylum in six EU states.” Racism at the Top: Parliamentary Discourses on Ethnic Issues in Six European States. Teun A. Van Dijk and Ruth Wodak (Eds.). Klagenfurt: Drava Verlag, 2000.
  • “Immigration and Parliamentary Discourse in Great Britain: an analysis of the debates related to 1996 Asylum and Immigration Act.” Racism at the Top: Parliamentary Discourses on Ethnic Issues in Six European States. Teun A. Van Dijk and Ruth Wodak (Eds.). Klagenfurt: Drava Verlag, 2000.
  • Author of Instructor’s Manual for W. Phillips Shively’s Power and Choice: an introduction to political science, 8th , 9th and 10th Editions (McGraw-Hill, 2002, 2004, 2006)

Lucy Carver

Program Assistant
New Zealand

Lucy Carver (she/her/hers) is a passionate community organizer with a background in designing and leading alternative education programs. Lucy is co-founder of Orientation Aotearoa, an 8 month holistic and immersive education program for New Zealanders (aged 18-25) that ran its pilot year in 2015. She also has a deep interest in regenerative agriculture and earth stewardship, and currently coordinates permaculture courses in the Otaki area. Previously, Lucy has worked with Summer of Soil (Sweden) and the International Youth Initiative Program. She enjoys poetry, turning compost and connecting with people around their visions.

Marcus Young

Program Director, Art for Social Change

Marcus Young 楊墨 (he/him/his or any) is a behavioral and social practice artist making work for the stage, museums, and the public realm. He is artist-in-residence with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, currently the only such position in the country, where he works on equity and land acknowledgment issues. He is the founding artist for Don’t You Feel It Too?—an ongoing participatory street dance practice of social healing and inner-life liberation. From 2006 to 2015, he was City Artist in St. Paul, where he helped redefine the role of the artist in government as daily collaborator. His project Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk transformed the city’s sidewalk maintenance program into a publishing entity for poetry. In his work With Nothing to Give, I Give Myself Young lived ten days around-the-clock at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to foster the understanding that people are the great overlooked works of art.

Young has a BA in music from Carleton College and an MFA in theater from the University of Minnesota. He is a recipient of awards from the McKnight, Bush, and Jerome Foundations, and he received the 2016 Forecast Public Art Mid-Career Grant, given to one artist a year. Recently, Young was in residence at UC Irvine and St. Olaf College, and he is currently an artist in the creative collaborations program at the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota. He is ongoing stage director for Ananya Dance Theatre, a contemporary Indian dance company working in the social justice movement. Born in Hong Kong, Young grew up mostly in the Midwest, and has been in the Twin Cities area for more than three decades.

Marcus on teaching, learning and partnership with HECUA students.

Why is art an important practice of social change? Art is a place to dream with freedom and to make those dreams real. Art making is dream making is life making is community making. We will exercise our individual and collective imaginations to make challenging and daring art in the context of community. In our dramatically changing society it is our imaginations that help us live beautifully.

I believe your liberation is tied to my liberation, your justice is my justice. I believe my ability to understand myself deeply is connected to my ability to work joyfully and effectively in community and within broader society. I believe we are all artists.”

What I bring to the Art for Social Change program is more than a decade of practicing the connection between inside and outside, practicing the vital connection between personal awareness and social change. The cultivation of a liberated, fully present individual self is essentially connected to the hard and beautiful work of making our just, meaningful collective lives. This is particularly pertinent in a time when students face growing stresses and anxiety, and in a world that seems to be changing quickly and in great need of better civic and community involvement.

To create art in community, you need to learn how to build authentic relationships and partnerships. The opportunity to work with people and their lives, distinct from a materials-based practice or studio practice, requires empathy, clear values, and a spirit of co-creation. At its best art by this definition is not just art in community but art woven inextricably into and becoming community.

Perhaps it has always been the young people who lead the way in setting the bar of inclusivity and equity. I was in college when I first awakened to and claimed my gay identity, and right after college I found Asian American arts nonprofits in the Twin Cities the community that provided me a way to be more myself. Nowadays, whether gender identity, issues around physical access, immigrant rights, Indigenous rights, or a myriad of other worthy issues, the Art for Social Change program can encourage students to discover and speak their truth, learn the perspectives of others, and find common power in the intersections of resistance and resilience.

Teaching is part of a cycle: spending time with students is giving and receiving. Teaching is an opportunity to deepen my practice and to learn from and with the amazing young people in this program of distinctive freedom and relevance.

María Andrade Chalán

Instructor, Community Internships in Latin America

María Vicenta Andrade Chalán (she/her/hers) holds a Master’s in Local Development, with concentration in Social Movements from the Salesian University in Quito (2009); Diploma in Political Participation, Management and Development in the Local Area at the University of Valencia (2007); Degree in Management for Sustainable Local Development (2002). She serves as instructor for the Political and Development Seminar in Ecuador. She has also worked as a trainer in adult education to various social organizations and indigenous and rural women. Topics of her interest are related to indigenous peoples, social movements, multinationality, interculturality, gender and women’s human rights and social research. She has worked as a consultant with governmental institutions (including the United Nations), local governments, international cooperations and NGOs. María speaks Spanish, Kichwa, and English.

Martha Moscoso

Program Director, Ecuador ProgramsPortrait of Martha Moscoso
Institute for Ecuadorian Studies

Martha Moscoso (she/her/hers)  is a sociologist and historian, with an advanced degree in Sociology of Development from the Sorbonne University in Paris, France, and a master’s degree in Andean History from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), Quito. In addition to leading the Ecuador program site for HECUA, Martha is a professor in the Human Sciences faculty at Quito’s Catholic University. She has done extensive research in women’s studies and gender studies and in indigenous communities’ history. Martha has participated in numerous academic conferences and has published many articles on history in Ecuadorian and Latin American books and journals. Recently she has done research on education in Ecuador, sponsored by the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and the International Bureau of Education – UNESCO (IBE). This research was conducted within the framework of an international program for the construction of political dialogue in the field of education. Martha is member of the Institute of Ecuadorian Studies (IEE), a nonprofit organization that works in local development and citizen formation. She participates actively in a Citizen Assembly that aims at active participation at very local levels by people seeking social change. She is also a member of the Atelier of Historical Studies (TEHIS).

Martha on teaching, learning and partnership with HECUA students.

The era in which I came of age was a time full of ideals and idealism, encouraged by the winds of different world revolutions and by fights against meaningless wars. It was informed by a variety of ideas put forward by the “hippie” generation, by artists, by the Latin American “boom” in literature and music created on this continent by singers like Victor Jara, Violeta Parra, Mercedes Sosa and many others. It was a time of fighting against the horrors of dictatorships and of supporting all those Latin American people forced to leave their countries. All of these experiences contributed to my hopes for a different world, a more human world.

At the beginning of my commitment to HECUA, at the end of 1998, I did not know that working with HECUA would be one of the most enriching and fruitful experiences I have ever had. At the start I had doubts about how important it was to bring foreign students to come to live in Ecuador, and I worried that while some would truly observe reality in Ecuador, others would just be tourists. That fear was based on what I knew about other programs for foreign students in this country. With all this in mind, I visited HECUA for the first time and met the people working there. As the days passed, and I learned more and more about the work of the organization and the commitment of those who worked there, I changed my mind and I realized that working with HECUA was the best decision I could take. I am more and more convinced of that.

Working with students is an innovative, committed, and shared educational experience. Our teaching methodology is not a traditional one. We teachers and students are engaged together in a learning process to construct knowledge, to learn about a concrete reality, the Ecuadorian reality This is a mutual learning process in which students and teachers have roles as apprentices and instructors, each of us with our own knowledge, our own life experiences, and our own abilities and perceptions in search of a common goal. This mutuality is one of the most enriching aspects for me and the team that builds and carries out this program.

For me teaching, then, is a process in which academics and politics are combined in order to help form citizens who are conscious of the challenges they have to face to overcome inequalities in society. Teaching is a process oriented to defending life, achieving autonomy, with responsibility and ethics, for one’s own life and the lives of those around us.

My participation in CILA goes far beyond the academic sphere, for among my tasks is that of preparing the right conditions for the students’ integrated learning. This includes finding organizations for internships, families with whom the students will live, topics of interest to be analyzed, and creating orientations so that students’ stay in Quito is safe, but at the same time enjoyable. In CILA, we analyze the situation of Ecuador, its democracy, its economy and restricted benefits, as well as the ongoing crises that come about from the economic model in place. But above all we put emphasis on the study of alternatives put forward by different social sectors for ways to change Ecuadorian society. Thanks to internships and field visits, the students have the opportunity to obtain first-hand knowledge about some of these alternatives, and participate in efforts to bring about change.
As the situation in Ecuador is always changing, so too is the content of the CILA program. We introduce in each program new ideas, new possibilities for internships, and new field visits. These constant changes allow us to offer many possibilities for reflection. Ecuador is a country that changes, a country that suffers, that opens itself to the outside or that falls back searching for its own identity, that opens its arms, but that is also rebellious.

Martha’s Research and Current Projects

My academic background is in history and sociology, and my experience as a teacher and researcher has mainly developed in these two areas. Both in my work on the past and on the present, my axes of interest have been the indigenous community in the Andes in the south of Ecuador, especially women, young people, and children. Within my research and publications on historical topics are analyses of gender roles in the first Ecuadorian novel written about a woman (La Emancipada [The Emancipated]). Other projects are on women and education, indigenous women and the “mestizaje” process in the cities, women and family, domestic violence, the legal system, and the roles and images of women. My work on the indigenous community includes publications exploring the systems of state and indigenous authority, tributes and contributions, forms of work, land ownership systems, and social uprising and conflicts. My research on the present-day has to do with the work of women and girls, secondary education in Ecuador, and experiential education. I have published numerous pieces on these topics, and have participated in many academic congresses, conferences, and seminars.

Presentations and Publications


  • Dynamiques du développement de l’Education Secondaire et Transfert de modèles éducatifs en Equateur durant les XIXe et XXe siècles. Actes du Seminar Secondary Education Worldwide: Assessments and Perspectives, Geneva, International Bureau of Education (IBE-UNESCO), the University of Geneva and the Service de la Recherche en Education de Genève (SRED), 2005.
  • “Imágenes y roles de género en ‘La Emancipada’. Primera novela ecuatoriana, 1863. Women and Gender History Seminar, Lima, CENDOC-MUJER, 2006.


  • Ecuadorian Congress of History, Ibarra-Ecuador, July 12 – 15, 2006. Presented paper: From the religious to the liberal moral. Women as teachers.
    Third meeting of the Ecuadorian Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), FLACSO, Quito, June 29 – July 1, 2006. Presented paper: Women and work, social representations at the beginning of the XX Century.
  • International Meeting on History of the regional education and the actual prospective in the Andean America, sponsored by the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Frensh Institute of Andean Studies, Universidad Salesiana and the TEHIS, Quito, May 10-12, 2006. Presented paper: Preparing Women for Work through Education at the beginning of the 20th Century.
  • Ecuador: introducing internships to local and international social justice and social service organizations. Challenges and best practices. “Developing Culturally Appropriate Models for International Internships”, NSEE/ICEL Annual Conference, Miami, October 2004.
  • Preliminary seminar of the International Conference on Education (ICE), sponsored by the International Bureau of Education (IBE-UNESCO), the University of Geneva and the Service de la Recherche en Education de Genève (SRED), Geneva, September 5 – 7, 2004.
  • Presented paper: “Dynamiques du développement de l’Education Secondaire et Transfert de modèles éducatifs en Equateur durant les XIXe et XXe siècles.”
    Women and Gender History Seminar, Lima, November 2003.
  • Presented paper: “Imágenes y roles de género en ‘La Emancipada’ Primera novela ecuatoriana, 1863.”
  • Seminar: The transference of models of secondary education. Sponsored by the International Bureau of Education (IBE-UNESCO), the University of Geneva, the Université d’été des droits de l’homme de Genève, Geneva, September 25 -27, 2003. This seminar was held to present the results of research done in Ecuador.

Michelle Garvey

Photo of MichelleProgram Director, Environmental Sustainability

Dr. Michelle Garvey (she/her/hers) is an interdisciplinary scholar-activist, specializing in environmental justice (EJ) theory, history, and activism. Incorporating its interconnected fields—climate justice, food justice, reproductive justice, and queer ecology among them—Michelle educates through community-engaged projects that channel student scholarship into the EJ movement. She has collaborated with several EJ partners, including Tamales y Bicicletas, Project Sweetie Pie, The Women’s Environmental Institute, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Mashkiikii Gitigan Urban Farm, Center for Earth, Energy, and Democracy, Urban  Roots, and MN State Congresspeople. Garvey also mentors the UMN student group Voices for Environmental Justice, and as an Institute on the Environment Educator, works across UMN colleges to promote EJ research and community partnerships.

In addition to directing HECUA’s Environmental Sustainability program, Michelle is an Environmental Justice teaching specialist at the University of Minnesota and Macalester College, and a food justice curriculum writer for Minnesota Youth Story Squad. She holds a Ph.D. in Feminist Studies from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, an M.A. in Women’s Studies from San Diego State University, and a B.A. in Philosophy from the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University.

Outside of the classroom and field sites, Michelle loves organizing for food, enviro, and climate justice; camping with her partner and “kiddos” Finn (human) and Huckleberry (canine); fretting over local politics; getting her hands dirty gardening, landscaping, and restoring; baking (then eating) sweet things; gaining inspiration from designers and artists on Instagram; seeing dogs run free in dog parks; and playing guitar duets with Finn. Upon retirement a few decades down the line, Michelle plans to start a 90s/indie-style rock band.


Co-Program Director, New ZealandPortrait of Ngarangi

Ngārangi is a native speaker of Te Reo, the first language of Aotearoa (New Zealand), and a practitioner of traditional Maori lore raised by his elders. He has been involved in Maori education, research, TV, film, theatre and music for over 20 years and has lectured in Maori philosophy, theology, history, language, curriculum development, environmental resource management, education and arts from Waikato, Canterbury, Otago and Auckland Universities. Ngārangi received additional credentials through various Maori Educational Institutes such as Te Whare Wananga o Raukawa (Otaki), Te Whare Wananga o Awanui-a-rangi (Whakatane), and Te Whare Wananga o Aotearoa (Te Awa Mutu); as well as a number of Polytechnics schools throughout Aotearoa. He is currently an independent researcher and educationist focusing on historical and contemporary Waitangi Tribunal Claims, traditional Maori environment indicators, bird relocation, environmental monitoring, Iwi monitoring, Iwi development strategies, Taonga relocation and education. Ngārangi’s interests include the retention and revitalisation of traditional lore, language, culture, storytelling, games, arts, and music.

Nigel Glenny

Program Director, Peace, Conflict, and Transition in Northern IrelandPortrait of Nigel Glenny
INCORE, University of Ulster

Nigel Glenny (he/him/his) is a graduate of Stranmillis University College (Queens University Belfast) with a First Class Honours degree in Education (Religious Studies, History). He began his career as a history teacher, then moved into local government as an education officer, where he designed and taught a wide range of experiential learning programs for schools, colleges, youth and community groups. Much of this work used elements of Irish cultural traditions to foster cross-community contact between Protestant and Catholic groups from divided communities within Northern Ireland. Nigel most recently worked several years at a leading non-governmental organization engaged in peace and capacity-building initiatives throughout the island of Ireland. At that organization, he developed an international Citizenship Action Project that reached across communities in Northern Ireland, across the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and across the Atlantic to the United States. He created materials for learning about peace and reconciliation, led programs in how to facilitate student engagement, and trained teachers and youth workers throughout Ireland and the United States.

Nigel on teaching, learning and partnership with HECUA students.

A man from Guatemala once told me “You will always need to return home. When you have a child you will want them to know the place that made you who you are.” I could understand why he thought Northern Ireland was important to me–we were attending an international conference and had just delivered passionate presentations on issues relating to young people and civic participation in our respective countries. But, I was not as sure “home” meant so much to me–at the end of the conference I was flying back to Northern Ireland only to pack my bags and get as far away from the place as possible. My entire life had been shaped by the conflict in Northern Ireland: relationships, education, and now work. Having tried to “make a difference,” I wondered if it was time to just “move on.”

Seven years after the conversation with my Guatemalan colleague, I am back “home” having just completed my fourth semester as Programme Director for the Northern Ireland Conflict, Peace, and Transition programme. So what happened?

Well I did find time to get away. My wife and I traveled around the world and experienced as much of it as we could. Being away from Northern Ireland I embraced new spaces but I also gained something unexpected–many of these new places, people and events challenged my understanding of the issues presented at home. These experiences caused me to deeply reflect on a number of things for the first time. I returned to Northern Ireland with more questions than ever. I was also much more critical of some of the “answers” I had been offering before I left.

To question is to be in good company–“Anyone who isn’t confused here doesn’t really understand what is going on” is a quote often used to illustrate the complexities of understanding life in Northern Ireland. Yet understanding Northern Ireland, its violent past and the potential for a peaceful future is the incredible task HECUA students engage in.

Conflict, Peace, and Transition in Northern Ireland, like all HECUA programs, is about “real world” learning. Students who come here engage in real problems and work in relationship with real people who are attempting to affect real social change.

The community is our classroom and it is here that we develop knowledge together.

So, as someone who came “home” wanting to understand more, it is easy to see why I find working with HECUA students incredibly rewarding. The students teach those who work with them so much. Their perspective and insight into life in Northern Ireland is exceptionally valuable. The importance of this cannot be overstated, especially for the context in which I work. Key to the success of attempts being made to move out of violent conflict and into peace, is learning how to listen to and value “the other’s” view.

Have I any other motivations to stay here and teach? One week after I was offered the position of Program Director our first child was born–it would appear my Guatemalan friend was right after all!

Nigel’s Research and Current Projects

In addition to my role as Programme Director for the Northern Ireland HECUA programme, I am Lecturer in INCORE, the International Conflict Research Institute on the University’s Magee campus.

Combining research, education and comparative analysis, INCORE addresses the causes and consequences of conflict in Northern Ireland and internationally and promotes conflict resolution management strategies. It aims to influence policymakers and practitioners involved in peace, conflict and reconciliation issues while enhancing international conflict research. I do work on these themes through teaching and research that contributes to the HECUA program in a number of ways. I am currently working on projects that are deepening work with community partners and developing international connections.

I am interested in civic engagement, understandings of this, and initiatives designed facilitate it. With particular reference to Northern Ireland, I am interested in the civic mission of universities, the public, community and faith sectors, and how local-global connections could be utilized to facilitate civic engagement and good community relations.

Peter Horsley

Community Faculty, New Zealand

Peter Horsley (he/him/his) is both a lawyer and a specialist in environmental management. Since the 1980s, he has been affiliated with Massey University’s School of Resource and Environmental Planning as a lecturer and research fellow teaching environmental law, environmental planning, natural resource planning, and conservation policy and supervising numerous graduate students. He is also a professional teaching fellow in the University of Auckland’s Planning Department teaching undergraduate and graduate courses and is an associate at the University of Auckland’s New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law. His instructional concentrations include environmental policy and governance; culture, identity, and place; knowledge systems and ways of knowing; and comparative social movements.

Horsley is an active advocate, researcher, and consultant on collaborative management strategies between Māori and the New Zealand government and has served as a consultant to Māori in the design and implementation of management plans for land and sites that are sacred or represent cultural heritage.

In addition to teaching, consulting, and participating in New Zealand civic life, Horsley has extensive experience with U.S. undergraduates. He has taught in four different programs with the International Honors Program (IHP) study-abroad multi-site programs: Rethinking Globalization, Indigenous Perspectives, Cities in the 21st Century, and Nations and Identities.

Among Horsley’s publications:

  • Horsley, P. (2011). He Taura Whiri – Weaving relationships of peace in Aotearoa New Zealand. In Dietrich, W. (2011). The Palgrave international handbook of peace studies: A cultural perspective. Houndsmill, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Horsley, P. (2011). Property rights viewed from emerging relational perspectives. In Grinlinton, D. P., Taylor, P., & New Zealand Law Foundation. Property rights and sustainability: The evolution of property rights to meet ecological challenges. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.
  • Horsley, P. (2001). Collaborative management: Pre-conditions and prospects. In Howard, M. L. & H. Moller (Eds.) He Minenga Whakat Hua o Te Ao, Murihiku Marae 25 – 27 August 2000. Online at: http://www.otago.ac.nz/titi/hui/Main/Talks2/PHorsley.htm

Phil Sandro

Professor EmeritusPortrait of Phil Sandro

Phil Sandro (he/him/his) taught experiential urban studies programs for over 30 years, including the Inequality in America program, which he directed from 1994 (under its former name Metro Urban Studies Term/MUST) to 2020. His background also includes community organizing in Chicago and the Twin Cities.

Sandro has an impressive record of involvement in urban public policy including serving in a policy making position for the City of Chicago under reform mayor Harold Washington. He has served on numerous boards of nonprofit community development corporations and has been active in educational reform issues. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the New School for Social Research with emphasis on urban and regional economics, political economy and economic history. Besides teaching, Sandro has done research in conjunction with the Carnegie Foundation for Teaching and Learning’s “Political Engagement Project.” He has served as the Vice President of the Board at the East Side Neighborhood Development Company, was an active member of the East Side Prosperity Campaign and served on the Beacon Bluff Advisory Board as well as the District 5 Planning Council in St. Paul.

Phil on teaching, learning and partnership with HECUA students.

I can still picture the day my high school sociology teacher handed me a copy of Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. It was Chicago, 1970. There had been insurrections on the West Side two years earlier after Dr. King was murdered. I had participated in anti-war demonstrations outside the 1968 Democratic Convention (held in Chicago that year). The Vietnam War was raging and I would soon face the military draft and therefore I had some serious decisions to make. And most of my teachers weren’t saying a word about any of this!

This particular teacher was the one exception and this teacher changed my life. I didn’t know then that the way he taught would later be called “experiential education.” Looking back I don’t figure he did either. But this was almost the only class where I found myself staying up until two a.m. night after night poring over books and writing. The Freire book he gave helped me understand why his course was so riveting. In a sentence, he connected what he taught to my deepest values, passions and concerns. I was hooked! I understood that education could empower me to understand and change the world. I also knew from that time on that I wanted to be a teacher and facilitate the same for others. I wanted to be the kind of teacher who didn’t just talk about theory in an abstract way, but rather, helped students ground, test and apply theory to make the world a better place.

I also wanted to be a teacher who actually practiced what they taught about. As a result I’ve been involved in community organizing, have worked as a policymaker in city government, participated on the boards of community development corporations and consulted for many community groups. I’ve developed an anti-racism program for a New York City public school and I have worked with a restorative justice program. I’ve worked on numerous electoral campaigns and have regularly lobbied elected officials. I love teaching at HECUA because I get to keep my feet in both academia and activism. The Inequality in America: Policy, Community, and the Politics of Empowerment program bridges these two arenas. I also believe that the most rigorous learning happens when students are challenged with real life problems in the community where they have an authentic role to play. This is what happens in the Inequality in America program.

Our students have been instrumental in accomplishing numerous policy changes as part of their internships and many are now leaders in social justice organizations in the Twin Cities and elsewhere. In the program we encourage critical habits of mind as students make meaning of the real work they do in the community. We critically examine alternative theories and social change strategies for their usefulness and impacts. I passionately believe that students bring powerful experiences and knowledge to the study of poverty, inequality and social change. In this sense students can be teachers as well as learners. I like a lively, engaged and exciting classroom where all participants co-create knowledge. My students bring amazing energy and talent to their internships and they bring this knowledge back into the classroom. I learn a lot from them. I love learning and if this ever changes it would be the day I stop teaching.

When I am not thinking about all of this heavy stuff I enjoy following the Chicago Cubs baseball team, fly fishing, nature photography, wildflower gardening, hanging out with friends and playing music (to the consternation of my neighbors).

Phil’s Research and Current Projects

Because the Inequality in America program is interdisciplinary I read widely. Recently I have read The Crisis of Vision in Modern Economics by Robert Heilbronner, No Shame in My Game by Katherine Newman, The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkenson and Kate Pickett, Neighborhood Power: Building Community the Seattle Way by Jim Diers, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins and The History of God by Karen Armstrong. I also have a love for fiction.

My research has focused mainly on economic justice issues and teaching for social change. My Ph.D. dissertation focused on urban import substitution, which is basically when an area (local or even a nation) produces and or buys locally what had previously been imported. On the surface this doesn’t sound real exciting. But it can be a very powerful and explosive way to create and sustain jobs whether in U.S. cities or in lesser-developed nations.

I am very interested in development theory and have witnessed the increasing control over underdeveloped countries exercised by mega-corporations, the World Trade Organization, the IMF and treaties such as NAFTA and CAFTA. My recent research has focused on partial de-coupling strategies, that is, ways in which lesser-developed countries can forge development strategies in which they are less vulnerable to these powerful international entities. Import substitution is one of these strategies, but is very much out of favor with most economists and institutions like the IMF. Done properly, however, this is a very promising strategy.

I have also participated in a 3-year research project with the Carnegie Institute for Teaching and Learning studying courses and programs around the country selected by Carnegie as being highly effective in fostering thoughtful political engagement among college students. The Inequality in America program that I direct was included in this study (under its former name Metro Urban Studies Term). Carnegie has developed a major website with tools and curriculum from these courses and programs.


My own publications include;

“Job Impact Analysis: The Chicago Model for Bridging the Gap Between Economic Development and Employment and Training Programs” in The Partnership Journal (1989),

“The Employment Outcomes of Public Sector Import-Substitution Programs in Chicago” in The Journal of Public Administration (1994),

“The Entrepreneurial Gloss: The Myth of Small Business Job Growth” in Tales of the State: Narrative in Contemporary U.S. Politics and Public Policy (1997)

“An Organizing Approach to Teaching: From Silos to Public Work and Engaged Scholarship” in the Higher Education Exchange (2003).

Riccardo Simoncini

Program Co-Director, Italy Program

Riccardo Simoncini (he/him/his) teaches the course “Economics of Sustainable Food Production in Contemporary Europe” in HECUA’s Sustainable Agriculture, Food, and Justice in Italy course. He holds a Ph.D. in agricultural and environmental economics from the University of Parma, and has carried out research and taught agricultural and environmental policy at the University of Florence, Economic Sciences Department. He has been a lead researcher on many projects on rural development and agricultural and environmental economics for governmenetal and non-governmental organizations in Italy and the European Union. Some of those projects and organizations include the International Union for Conservation of Nature (http://www.iucn.org/), the European Union project “Definition of a Common European Analytical Framework for the Development of Local Agri-environmental Programmes for Biodiversity and Landscape Conservation,” and the EU project on Governance and Ecosystem Management for Biodiversity Conservation.

Za'Nia Coleman

Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) Faculty, Media and Movements

Za’Nia (she/her/hers) is an interdisciplinary artist and Co-Organizer of the Tangible collective. At SPNN, she works as the Media Center Coordinator & Youth Program Facilitator. Her primary medium is film focusing on documentary and oral history.  She has been holding spaces and creating experiences that center black thought and expression in the Twin Cities for over three years. Along with her cultural work she works with textiles in theatre and teaches community sewing classes. The root of her work is sustaining traditional and historical practices around love, pleasure, cultural expression and community building.

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