Dr. Claire Nelson

Dr. Claire NelsonDr. Claire Nelson – Founder of Caribbean American Heritage Month

Dr. Claire Nelson is the architect of the successful Campaign to declare June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month in the U.S. and the visionary behind such flagship events as the White House Caribbean American Community Briefings; the Annual Legislative Forum on Capitol Hill; Invest Caribbean; and the Caribbean American Heritage Awards.

She has achieved these major accomplishments for the Caribbean Diaspora in the U.S. as founder and President of the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS). Under her leadership the non-profit community think/do-tank, founded in 1993, has become known as the leading Caribbean American advocacy group in Washington DC, and has succeeded in placing the Caribbean American agenda on the national policy stage.   More recently, ICS has launched Ignite Caribbean: Let All Ideas Contend as a space for gathering emerging thought leaders and inter-generational dialogue on the future of the Caribbean.

Dr. Claire A. Nelson is also the Ideation Leader of The Futures Forum, which employs the disciplines of strategic foresight and sustainability engineering to effect sustainable design, planning and management of projects and policies across a variety of sectors.

Dr. Nelson has enjoyed over thirty years career in international development, and was the trailblazer for placing the topic of social exclusion due to race and ethnicity on the agenda of the Washington international finance institutions. She pioneered the IDB’s work on development with equity and as a result of her pioneering leadership, was honored with the prestigious Ortiz Mena Award at the Inter-American Development Bank in 2010.

Dr. Nelson holds a Bachelors and Masters in Industrial Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo and Purdue University, and a Doctorate in Engineering Management from the George Washington University, and is an inductee in several Engineering Honor Societies. She was named an Outstanding Alumni of Purdue University School of Industrial Engineering in 2013. A winner of several awards and honors, Dr. Nelson has received several commendations for leadership in the US Congressional Record and was named a WHITE HOUSE CHAMPION OF CHANGE in 2012.

Contributed by Carole Boyce-Davies