Washington, DC – On Friday, July 27th, the White House, along with the U.S. State Department and U.S. AID, honored Dr. Claire Nelson, founder and president of the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) as a Champion of Change.
Champions of Change are leaders who have exemplified extraordinary successes and efforts toward the development of – and diplomacy with – their countries or communities of origin.
"The nine Champions of Change we honor today highlight the power of proximity. These members of the Latin American Diaspora remind us that geography matters, that being a good neighbor is both good manners and a good investment. The Champions that we recognize today have helped their countries and communities of origin, and in doing so have bettered our region as a whole," said Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson.
"These exceptional individuals, with their work in sports and community development, in education and financial inclusion, inspire others by their example. In a region with such profound human links between our societies, ideas and inspiration spread quickly to the benefit of people all over the Americas and the Caribbean."
Dr. Nelson will be recognized for her work with the Caribbean American Diaspora and among other things advancing exchanges and partnerships with both the US public and private sector. ICS has planned forums and conferences, mentored Caribbean American leaders and organizations around the country and served as a National Profile Partner for Census 2010. She has also been instrumental in encouraging Caribbean American civic engagement and promoting the engagement of the Caribbean Diaspora in the development agenda of the Caribbean region.
An international development expert with over thirty years of experience, Dr. Nelson has used her passion and acumen to open doors for the disadvantaged and excluded across the Americas.
She is also an accomplished playwright and Caribbean folkloric performer, 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.
The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama's Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.