Past Talk Hosts
To date, Dr. Williamson has been hosted by a range of departments at the following universities: American, Augustana, Berea, Brown, California Polytechnic, Carroll, Claremont McKenna, Columbia, Georgetown, Georgia State, Goucher, Kalamazoo, Marquette, McGill, MIT, NYU, Pacific, Pitzer, Pomona, Pratt, Ramapo, Roger Williams, Rutgers, Smith, Stanford, St. Joseph’s, Swarthmore, Syracuse, UCLA, University College London, U. Colorado-Boulder , U. Delaware, U. Maryland, U. Pennsylvania, U. Richmond, U. Wisconsin-Madison, Vanderbilt, Vassar, Villanova, Wellesley, West Chester, Western Michigan, Worcester State, and Yale.
She has also spoken in international forums such as the United Nations, the Ecocity World Summit (Abu Dhabi and Melbourne), and the Conference on World Affairs.
“Theresa Williamson gave a wonderfully comprehensive and insightful talk to our faculty and students about the history of favelas in Rio and the major misconceptions about these neighborhoods. We hope to have her back for another talk and collaborations in the coming year.” — Dr. Marshall C. Eakin, Professor of History, Vanderbilt University
“We had a revealing talk by Theresa and some of the Columbia urban planning students in the group were deeply impressed by her work and vision. I think Theresa is reshaping the role of urban planners in the contemporary city and projecting the profession into the future.” — Jose Luis Vallejo, Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University
“It was a terrific talk. That’s my opinion, as both an academic and an activist. And the feedback from everyone else I talked to has been nothing but superlatives. Everyone thought it was informative, the analysis was complex and nuanced, and it gave us great insights into the political and organizing scenes in Rio and Brazil. I’m very pleased and would definitely recommend her talk to others.” — Dr. Thomas Angotti, CUNY/Hunter College, organizer of the New York Planner’s Network event
"Theresa spoke to a large audience of over 50 Johns Hopkins graduate and undergraduate students, as well as faculty, on the current predicaments facing Rio’s favelas in the midst of multiple political and economic crises in Brazil. She connected past, present, and future struggles in Rio, highlighting effective and inspiring examples of community organizing and resistance. Several students who attended the talk are now motivated to get involved." — Dr. Alessandro Angelini, Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
"The core issues facing Rio de Janeiro--persistent inequality, gentrification, increased risk of climate-induced problems, an out-of-touch political class--are in many ways an intensified microcosm of the issues already facing or likely soon-to-be facing almost every major city in the world. To learn about how Catalytic Communities approaches these issues is to learn about innovative and nuanced strategies for empowering communities and for overcoming these pressing issues." — Eli Nemzer, Northwestern University alum
Quotes By and About Theresa and CatComm
“We are not trying to idealize them, but as an organization we focus on the attributes of favelas, and we’ve been working to highlight the urbanistic qualities that these communities have: they are pedestrian-oriented and child-friendly in the sense that there is a high level of solidarity... We are taking an asset-based approach to their development. As long as these communities are seen as having no value, or as places that shouldn’t exist, or as temporary places, we’re not going to get policies that are really productive, and we haven’t, from the government.” — Theresa Williamson, Guernica Magazine
"Williamson wanted reporters to avoid blanket descriptions of generic favelas and treat them as unique and specific places. She hoped to steer them away from dramatized descriptions of drug trafficking and shanties, which didn’t apply to the vast majority of favela residents. She wanted to make sure the media didn’t ignore the havoc that Olympics projects had wreaked on poor communities. Critically, she wanted reporters to understand that favelas were rooted in a history of slavery, state neglect, and stigma. And she aimed to highlight their often-ignored assets, such as self-organization and solidarity." — The Guardian
“When the word [slum] is used a lot, the subject is linked to a concept, which focused mainly on violence, making violence inherent in the favela for the reader. ‘Lazy’ stories use this type of language. They are those that approach the favela as a place that is already born violent. This is worrisome because it is not based on truth. It tends to be the case that the journalist did not even visit the favela.” — Theresa Williamson, The Knight Center
“People in the favelas now more than ever have an identity and understand their value.” — Theresa Williamson, The Huffington Post
"A recently released study by Rio-based NGO by Catalytic Communities found that coverage of the city's favelas in eight major global news sources increased drastically during Rio's Olympic cycle, from 45 total articles mentioning favelas in 2009, when Rio was named the host city, to 315 in the year leading up to the Olympics. Favelas were increasingly the main subject of those articles. Furthermore, by 2016 favela residents were directly quoted in 16 times as many articles as they had been in 2009. The coverage also became more nuanced, with less emphasis on violence and drugs and more on favelas having a strong sense of community and its residents being active agents of change." — Vice Sports
Check out all our past Media Mentions here.
How to Host a Talk
If your campus is interested in hosting Dr. Williamson in 2017-2018 please contact email@example.com with your enquiry. You should include:
- The name of the institution and department you are inquiring from
- Possible and ideal dates for the visit
- Whether you would like one lecture or a full-day campus visit
- The title/s of the lectures you are interested in hosting
- If there will be any requests for tailoring lectures and themes
- If you would like to schedule a call with Dr. Williamson herself to discuss the possibilities
We will then reply with information for the standard honorarium we suggest to meet your needs. Generally honoraria fall between $2000 and $2500 plus travel from Washington, DC and lodging when necessary. However, exceptions can be made.
All honoraria are paid to Catalytic Communities, a 501[c] nonprofit organization, to further efforts on behalf of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas.