About us

Amandine Toussaint

Amandine is a master student in her second year of the Graduate Program of International Affairs, specializing in Cities and Social Justice. Upon the completion of a first Master in Business and Administration she earned from Grenoble Management School in France, and Otago University in New Zealand, she worked in Media and Communication for the World Association of Newspapers in Singapore, and in Business Development in Beijing. After almost three years spent in the Asian Pacific region doing Asian studies and working in business, she found a new interest for urban development, infrastructure and urban space. She worked for Slum Dwellers International in Bolivia where she did on housing issues and land tenure in slums. Part of the 2014 IFP in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she will do research within Aysa, the public water company, on access to water and sanitation services in socially fragmented communities. She is also writing her master’s thesis on the role of transportation in the evolution of urban space in Buenos Aires, focusing on the appearance of socio-spatial fragmentation at a micro level.

Maria Carrizosa

Colombian Architect and Philosopher with graduate studies in Geography, an MS in International Affairs (2014), and starting a PhD in Urban Public Policy at The New School, where she has also joined the Observatory of Latin America. She has professional experience with international organizations (UNDP, IFC-WB, OCHA and Cities Alliance), national government (Architecture National Council), NGOs (Colombian Architects Society and CYTED –Science and Technology for Development in Latin American-), and as undergraduate teacher. She is most passionate and stubbornly optimist about the prevalence urban informality.

Brian Longin

Brian served as United States Peace Corps Volunteer on the small island nation of Dominica where his assignment was institutional development. Upon completion of his service Brian worked as Program Director for Hands Across the Sea, the largest literacy development non-profit organization working in the Eastern Caribbean. In the summer of 2013, while living in Kampala, Uganda, Brian assisted in determining the financial feasibility of a program aimed at providing affordable housing while creating a partnership between the community, social impact organizations and entrepreneurs in order to redevelop and invigorate an informal settlement. Brian is finishing his Master’s thesis and will graduate from New School University’s Graduate Program for International Affairs in May, 2014 where he focuses on urban economics and the issues of providing public services and infrastructure to emerging-market nations.

Lena Simet

Lena (MA in International Affairs, The New School) is a doctoral candidate in Urban and Public Policy at The New School. She received her B.A. in Munich, Germany, where she was born and raised. Her interests and work experience are firmly grounded in community planning, politics, and economic development. During the 2013 International Field Program (IFP) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she worked in collaboration with UNDAV University on a controversial human rights case, investigating the fulfillment of the Supreme-Court-ensured ‘right to participation’ of residents in their forced process of relocation.  She focused her Master Thesis on The Correlation of Urban Development and Rising Socio-spatial Inequalities, with a special focus on the impact of social housing policies on divided societies within the cities of New York and Buenos Aires. Lena works as a Assistant Program Coordinator for the International Field Program in Buenos Aires, and serves as a Teaching Assistant for Professor Robert Buckley and Professor Michael Cohen.

Laura Wainer

Laura Wainer is an architect, graduated from the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urbanism (FADU) of the University of Buenos Aires. Since 2008, she has worked as an urban planner for various technical consultancies within the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area, the Argentinean Provinces of Chubut and Corrientes, the Bi-national Entity Yacyretá-Hydroelectric in Paraguay, the city of Montevideo-Uruguay and other institutions as the World Bank Group, Cities Alliance and the Interamerican Development Bank. In parallel, she taught in the Urban Planning course directed by Prof. Alfredo Garay in the FADU; having previous experiences in Architectural and Urban Morphology. She has published several articles in Café de las Ciudades and Land Lines, and participated in research activities for the University of Buenos Aires and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. During 2010 and 2011 she undertook a postgraduate specialization in Local Development in Urban Regions at the General Sarmiento National University. In 2012, Laura was granted a Fulbright Scholarship, the Delta Kappa Gamma International Fellowship and the President’s Scholarship from the New School University  to pursue her graduate studies in International Affairs with concentration in Development.

Achilles Kallergis

Achilles Kallergis (MA in International Affairs, The New School) is a doctoral candidate in Public and Urban Policy at the New School. His research interests evolve around the question of informal settlements and urban policy. More specifically, he is interested at the role of community groups and their contribution mechanisms in the provision of housing and basic services such as water and sanitation. Achilles has consulted for the Gates Foundation and the World Bank and has collaborated with community networks such as Slum Dwellers International and the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights. Currently, he is coordinating the African Cities International Field Program offered by the Graduate Program in International Affairs. He is teaching a class on Slums and Urban Development and a class on Urban Development in Africa.

Aaron Leaf

Aaron is a second year International Affairs MA student with a background in journalism. He’s lived and worked in Zambia and Liberia in media and development. His masters thesis is on forced evictions and those who resist them in Monrovia, Liberia. He is currently a researcher on housing policy at the New School.

Alissa Chisholm

Alissa is a Master’s candidate in the Graduate Program of International Affairs at the New School. She was born in Colorado and received her Bachelors degree in Communications from the University of Colorado Boulder where she focused on Intercultural and Interpersonal communication. During her time at the New School she has actively pursued the use geo-spatial technologies as a tool to improve community engagement, policy communication, and urban planning. In addition to her studies, she has worked as a research assistant for the economist and professor, Robert Buckley on an analysis of New York city’s housing stock and served the New School for Public Engagement representative on the 2013-2014 University Student Senate where she sat on the executive board. She spent the past summer in Kampala, Uganda working with the city authority (KCCA) in their GIS department within the Physical Planning Directorate where she worked to build public-private-philantropic partnerships within the geo-spatial community.


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