Xavier de Souza Briggs

Xavier de Souza Briggs

On January 22, 2015 at 12 p.m. in the Brown Hall Lounge, Xavier de Souza Briggs, vice president of the Ford Foundation's Economic Opportunity and Assets program talked about "Toward a Just and Inclusive America."

Briggs is a leading authority on economic opportunity, racial and ethnic diversity, and innovation in urban areas within the United States and around the globe. He is on leave from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to serve as vice president for the Ford Foundation’s Economic Opportunity and Assets division.

Briggs is renowned for his groundbreaking research as a sociologist and urban planner as well as for his ability to develop innovative, practical solutions to address many of our societal ills.

-Michael Sherraden, PhD, the George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor and founder and director of the Center for Social Development at Washington University

“An early funder of CSD, the Ford Foundation is a unique resource for innovative people and institutions worldwide, and has made major contributions toward reducing poverty and injustice, promoting asset development strategies, and fostering democratic values and international cooperation,” Sherraden said.

Briggs’ books have won many awards in the social sciences fields. His most recent publication, “Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty,” (2010) won best book of the year from the National Academy of Public Administration. His earlier works include “Democracy and Problem Solving: Civic Capacity in Communities across the Globe,” (2008) and “The Geography of Opportunity: Race and Housing Choice in Metropolitan America,” (2005).

This is Briggs’ second leave from MIT to serve the public. In 2009, he was tapped as President Barack Obama’s associate director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, where he was responsible for setting policy and making budget/management decisions for several cabinet-level agencies.

Briggs earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Stanford University; a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University; and a doctorate in sociology and education from Columbia University.