Sustainable Futures for the Caribbean:

Critical Interventions and the 2030 Agenda

Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social & Economic Studies (SALISES), 19th Annual Conference

Dr. Claire Nelson, White House Champion of Change

Dr. Claire Nelson is Ideation Leader of The Futures Forum, a research and education consulting practice specializing in bringing the power of strategic foresight, and the discipline of sustainability engineering to challenges facing organizations and communities.  Named one of Top 100 Women Futurists in the ‘Twitterverse’, she serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the World Future Review Journal, and is an active member of the Association of Professional Futurists, and the World Future Studies Federation. A co-author of ‘The Future of Business’, Nelson serves as an Expert Advisor to TECHCAST Global, which specializes in long-view forecasts on Emerging Technologies, Social Trends, Wild Cards, and other strategic forces. She is Producer/Host of the recently launched podcast, “Future Sense Now”, bringing diverse voices to the exploration of our shared future.

Before establishing The Futures Forum, Dr. Nelson held a variety of positions at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), over a thirty-year career. Her experience in strategic program identification, portfolio development, technical feasibility studies and program management spans a variety of sectors including: public sector modernization, private sector development, community development, and trade development.   She was a thought leader in promoting Strategic Foresight in Development, organizing the IDB’s first Latin America 2020 Social Development Futures Seminar Series.   She also pioneered the topic of development with equity at the IDB, helping to build the Bank’s portfolio in Black economic empowerment in Latin America including for example: a supplier diversity program, and the Bank’s Diversity and Inclusion Investment Fund. As a result of her leadership, she was honored with the IDB’s prestigious Ortiz Mena Award in 2010.   

Dr. Nelson is a sought-after speaker, her engagements have included: US Air Force, American Association of Blacks in Energy, Jamaica Stock Exchange, PetroJam, ASME, BET/CENTRIC, Women in Research Engineering Symposium, International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology, Black Engineer of the Year Conference, National Society of Black Engineers Conference, National Association of Security Professionals Conference, Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference, Harvard University Black MBA Conference, Micro-Enterprise Conference, African Development Bank, World Bank African Diaspora Outreach Forum, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States, and FOROMIC-the Micro-Finance Summit of the Americas.

Dr. Nelson has served on numerous boards and committees including:  American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellowship Review Committee; Fundacion UNIPOP, which links Universities serving Black Communities in Central America and the Caribbean to HBCUs; the African American Unity Caucus of the Constituency for Africa; and the US Department of Commerce US/Caribbean Business Development Council.  

As President and Founder of the Institute of Caribbean Studies, the leading Caribbean American advocacy organization, Dr. Nelson, is noted as the visionary leader behind the movement to commemorate June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month.  An award-winning playwright and storyteller, she holds a Bachelors and Masters in Industrial Engineering from the SUNY at Buffalo and Purdue University respectively, and a Doctorate in Engineering Management from the George Washington University. Dr. Nelson is distinguished as the first Jamaican woman to earn a Doctorate in an Engineering discipline, and graduated in the Top Five of her undergraduate class, as the only woman of African descent.   The winner of numerous awards for leadership and contributions to the Caribbean American Community, she has been lauded in the US Congressional Record.  She has also received an Outstanding Alumni Award from Purdue University, School of Industrial Engineering, and was named a White House Champion of Change in 2012.