Trustees Without Borders (TWB) is a podcast series produced by the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance (IPG) and the Community Change Collaborative (CCC). TWB features leading practitioners, thinkers, and designers working to reframe and strengthen communities, doing so without borders or limits on their ideas and aspirations, without borders on what they think is possible, without borders concerning with whom they will work and without constraints on their dreams for a more just and inclusive community.
Ariel Otruba: Using Photovoice To Grapple With Displacement
Podcast Interview with Dr. Ariel Otruba
In this episode, we talk with Dr. Ariel Otruba about her work that centers around peacebuilding, borders, and the politics of displacement. She discusses her photovoice exhibit "Violent Infrastructure: Ecologies of Decay & Displacement," which captures the feelings and experiences of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Republic of Georgia. Along the way, she shares about the politics of Georgia and displacement more broadly. Lastly, Dr. Otruba delves into her approach to qualitative research and how she thinks about what it is that she is doing.
Ariel Otruba, PhD is a feminist political geographer and conflict resolution practitioner, who specializes in the study of violent geographies in the South Caucasus. Her research interests include critical geopolitics, border and migration studies, and posthumanist approaches to political ecology. She currently teaches in the International Peace and Conflict Resolution program at Arcadia University. Prior to this role, she was the InFocus War and Peace Scholar-in-Residence at Moravian University. Her publications have appeared in several edited volumes and Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space.
Interviewers: Amin Farzaneh & Brad Stephens, PhD Students in Planning, Governance, and Globalization
Made possible with the support of the Institute for Policy and Governance, the Center for European Union, Transatlantic, and Trans-European Space Studies, the Center for Refugee, Migrant, and Displacement Studies, and the Community Change Collaborative in partnership with Newman Library.
Khishi Enkhbayer: Fostering Youth Engagement In Mongolia & Beyond
Podcast Interview with Khishi Enkhbayer
In this episode, Khishi Enkhbayer shares her experiences working to empower the young people of Mongolia and build the capacity for international collaboration. She shares how she has navigated and come to understand working in Mongolia's unique context and why she is drawn to this youth-driven work so important. She also talks about leadership more broadly and how she understands the role of international NGOs.
Khishigjargal (Khishi) Enkhbayar is a consultant on youth engagement at UNICEF in Mongolia. Previously, Khishi was a desk officer at the Office of the President of Mongolia, working on environmental issues. She co-founded the United Nations Association of Mongolia, which conducts various programs for youth empowerment. She is also engaged in the United Nations Futures dialogues on Northeast Asian peace and security as part of the co-design team and has co-authored several articles on the subject, including a policy brief on regional narrative building. Khishi graduated from Tsinghua University with a Masters in Global Affairs and was a UNESCO Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore.
Interviewers: Yugasha Bakshi, Ph.D. student in Planning, Governance, and Globalization; Brad Stephens, Ph.D. student in Planning, Governance, and Globalization.
Doug Jackson: Exploring The Importance of Process & Reflection
Podcast Interview with Doug Jackson, Virginia DHCD & City of Roanoke
On this episode, Doug talks about how he approaches facilitation and how it can play an essential role in building community capacity. He makes it clear that establishing good processes in a community can go a long way to building efficacy and improving outcomes. He goes on to discuss the connection he sees between his work with the arts and process facilitation, highlighting the way these seemingly disparate fields work are closer than we might think.
Doug is a capacity development specialist with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), where he provides facilitation and strategic support to Virginia communities and their placemaking partners. Additionally, for the past 15 years, he has served in leadership roles with Roanoke, virginia’s Arts Commission and co-chaired that community’s first arts and cultural plan. He currently serves as the City of Roanoke’s arts and culture coordinator, providing staff support and leadership for civic arts initiatives, including the City’s public art program, creative placemaking strategies, and municipal arts funding.
Interviewers: Brad Stephens, Ph.D. Student in Planning, Governance, & Globablization
Mark Valdez: The Role of Civic Imagination and Hope in Social Change
Podcast Interview with Mark Valdez, Mixed Blood Theater
As the problems facing our communities grow bigger, our collective imagination for solutions seems to only get smaller. This is where art and creativity come into play. On this episode of Trustees Without Borders, Mark Valdez explores his work sparking civic imagination with the communities in which he works to support people in seeing solutions and success.
Mark Valdez is a director, writer, and cultural organizer who partners with communities, organizations, civic institutions, and others, using theater and creative tools to address community needs and to lift up community voices and stories. His work has been seen at community venues and professional theaters across California, from a tomato field in Grayson to a de-commissioned Catholic cathedral in downtown LA; from the stages in La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley to the stages of the Ricardo Montalban Theater/CTG in Hollywood.
Interviewers: Sarah E. Plummer, a recovering journalist, a proud Appalachian, and a PhD candidate at Virginia Tech researching the way Bread and Puppet Theater mobilizes performing objects within their performance styles and spaces, and C. Meranda Flachs-Surmanek, artist, cultural organizer, and master’s degree candidate at Virginia Tech in the Urban & Regional Planning and Theatre: Directing & Public Dialogue programs.
In partnership with the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts.
Michelle Ramos: Nonprofit Futures and Philanthropy Reimagined - How Cultural Workers are Changing the Field
Podcast Interview with Dr. Michelle Ramos, Alternate ROOTS
Dr. Michelle Ramos, Executive Director and Vision Keeper of Alternate ROOTS, discusses the legacy of activism that energizes her work, and shares tangible examples of her work disrupting long standing white supremacist structures and systems.
Dr. Michelle Ramos, Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS and founder of Ramos Coaching. Dr. Michelle Ramos applies critical race theory and lived experiences to disrupt long standing white supremacist structures and systems. A licensed attorney with a PhD in Psychology, she has significant organizing experience and has committed her career to serving communities and individuals adversely impacted by issues of race, gender, disability, class, socioeconomics, inequitable laws and systemic oppression. She has consulted for over 20 years nationally and internationally with expertise in non-profit consulting, DEI work and mediation.
Interviewers: Nicole Nunoo, a PhD candidate in Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural Leadership and Community Education, a food justice enthusiast by heart and a community development analyst by profession, and C. Meranda Flachs-Surmanek, an artist, cultural organizer, and master’s degree candidate in Virginia Tech’s Urban & Regional Planning and Theatre’s: Directing & Public Dialogue programs
In partnership with the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts.
Michael Carter, Jr. & Josephus Thompson III: Roots of the Work - Poetry, Agriculture and Social Change
Podcast Interview with Michael Carter, Jr. (Carter Farms) & Josephus Thompson III (The Poetry Project)
On this episode of Trustees Without Borders we are joined by Josephus Thompson III, poet and creator of the Poetry Cafe, and Michael Carter Jr., 11th generation farmer and owner of Carter Farms in Orange, Virginia. Josephus and Michael discuss creativity, the rhythm of poetry, and nature as embedded in liberation work.
As a teacher and lecturer, Josephus Thompson founded, The Poetry Project, where he works in the educational and corporate setting focusing on “Education through Correlation”. Josephus uses poetry as a catalyst for literacy, leadership, and service. The Host of 90.1FM’s The Poetry Café, his voice is heard weekly over the airwaves as he showcases talented artists from all over the world in the genres of poetry, hip-hop, and R&B to name a few. He has performed for Oprah, opened for Kanye West and Floetry, shared stages with The Last Poets, traveled to Australia, London, Seoul, and South Africa as well as back and forth across the United States sharing his gift.
Michael Carter Jr. is an 11th-generation American/farmer and is the 5th generation to farm on, Carter Farms, his family's century farm in Orange County, Virginia where he gives workshops on how to grow and market ethnic vegetables. With Virginia State University, he is the Small Farm Resource Center Coordinator for the Small Farm Outreach Program. As a cliometrician, curriculum developer, and program coordinator for his educational, cultural, and vocational platforms, Hen Asem (Our Story) and Africulture, he teaches and expounds on the contributions of Africans and African Americans to agriculture worldwide and trains students, educators, and professionals in African cultural understanding, empathy, and implicit bias recognition.
Interviewers: Justice Madden, community architect, graduate student in Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural Leadership, and C. Meranda Flachs-Surmanek, an artist, cultural organizer, and master’s degree candidate in Virginia Tech’s Urban & Regional Planning and Theatre’s: Directing & Public Dialogue programs
In Partnership with the Center for Food Systems & Community Transformation at Virginia Tech