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The Rockefeller Foundation Announces Thematic Residency on Youth

The Bellagio Center hosts fourteen leading academics, artists, policymakers, and practitioners to advance knowledge and action supporting Youth as Agents of Transformative Change


NEW YORK—The Rockefeller Foundation is pleased to announce a special youth themed residency at The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy. To be held July 24 to August 9, the Thematic Residency on “Youth as Agents of Transformative Change” will include leading academics, artists, policymakers, and practitioners advancing work around youth engagement and leadership.

Around the world, young people are raising their voices to push for systemic and social transformation. They are actively addressing some of the most complex issues worldwide, while often simultaneously finding themselves disproportionally affected by them. This special Bellagio Center Thematic Residency aims to support dialogue, thought leadership, and action to empower, inspire, and leverage youth as leaders of positive change.

The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Residency Program provides time and space for focused work while also allowing for a rich cross-cultural and interdisciplinary experience with a diverse and stimulating community of peers. Thematic Residencies at the Center are held annually and bring together a group of residents around a common topic and shared interest and include both formal and informal opportunities for residents to connect with one another. The first Thematic Residency at the Bellagio Center was held in 2016, and focused on the theme of Human Behavior.

The individuals selected for the Thematic Residency, “Youth as Agents of Transformative Change,” include academics in education, literature, and linguistics; young artists exploring feminism and multiculturalism through music, composition, and fiction; and practitioners and activists interested in youth employment, leadership, and activism. While at the Bellagio Center, residents will work on a range of projects from the the design of new youth apprenticeship models, to the financial sustainability of youth led movements, to the relationship between vernacular dialect and prejudice, and the balance of multiculturalism and assimilation.

“The Bellagio Center Residency Program brings together a range of expertise and perspectives, and it is exciting to be supporting such an exceptional cohort of residents around this important topic,” said Claudia Juech, associate vice president and managing director at The Rockefeller Foundation. “The Foundation is looking forward to learning from these residents as they share their work and ideas with one another over the course of their time together at the Bellagio Center—discussing the opportunities where youth has a critical role to play.”

To design the Thematic Residency the Foundation worked with Dalberg, a strategic advisory dedicated to global development. “The so-called youth bulge is actually a boon. Youth are a huge, often untapped asset. Activating them will catalyze the kind of systemic changes that capital alone cannot,” said Yana Kakar, Global Managing Partner at Dalberg. “We are excited to work with The Foundation on this effort to further explore different ideas on this topic.”

The resident fellows selected for this Thematic Residency include:

  • Monisha Bajaj, University of San Franciso, Academic Writing Resident
  • Aya Chebbi, Afrika Youth Movement, Policy Fellow Resident
  • Henry De Sio, Ashoka, Practitioner Resident
  • Kiran Gandhi, Madame Ghandi LLC, Arts & Literary Arts Resident
  • Maryana Iskander, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, Policy Fellow Resident
  • Ananya Jahanara Kabir, King’s College, Academic Writing Resident
  • Laurentien van Oranje-Nassau, Missing Chapter Foundation, Policy Fellow Resident
  • Khary Lazarre-White, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol, Practitioner Resident
  • Joshua Marquez, Composer, Arts & Literary Arts Resident
  • Mark McCord, Young African Leaders Network, Policy Fellow Resident
  • Anna Penido, Inspirare Institute, Practitioner Resident
  • John R. Rickford, Stanford Unviersity, Academic Writing Resident
  • Esra’a al Shafei,, Practitioner Resident
  • Novuyo Tshuma, University of Houston, Arts & Literary Arts Resident

About The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center
The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, through a combination of conferences and residency programs, supports the work of scholars, artists, thought leaders, policymakers, and practitioners who share in the Foundation’s pioneering mission to promote the well-being of humanity. Convening prominent experts, influencers, and other key stakeholders to advance knowledge, and form new partnerships, financial commitments, and initiatives that support these goals, enables the Bellagio Center to advance the mission of the Foundation as a complement to its grantmaking efforts.

About Dalberg

Dalberg Global Development Advisors is a strategy and policy advisory firm dedicated to global development. Dalberg’s mission is to mobilize effective responses to the world’s most pressing issues. We work with corporations, foundations, NGOs and governments to design policies, programs and partnerships to serve needs and capture opportunities in frontier and emerging markets. For more information, visit