The faculty/staff team shown on this page is a sample of the individuals who may lead your specific program. Faculty and coordinators are subject to change to accommodate each program’s unique schedule and locations.
Tabitha Decker, PhD, Program Director
Tabitha is a sociologist with extensive experience conducting comparative research on cities. She earned a BA with honors in international relations from Wellesley College and a PhD in sociology from Yale University.
Tabitha’s recent research and publications focus on interrelated aspects of social and spatial change, and she is particularly interested in urban transportation. Her dissertation, completed with fieldwork support from a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship and the Social Science Research Council, investigates the planning and realization of the Dubai Metro. This project uses the metro, specifically why and how it was created, as a probe into Dubai’s transnational boom-time social and economic foundations.
Research and study have taken her to several cities in the Middle East, including Dubai, Damascus, and Sana'a. A former Thomas J. Watson fellow, Tabitha conducted an ethnographic study of female taxi drivers in Cape Town, Dubai, Melbourne, and Kuala Lumpur. Her urban research trajectory was launched on an SIT Study Abroad program (Gender and Development in India) where she completed an independent study of an all-female police station in Mysore. She returned to SIT as a traveling faculty member on IHP Cities in 2012. Tabitha resides in Brooklyn, New York, and is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Glenda de la Fuente, MA, Country Coordinator, Brazil
Glenda de la Fuente holds a bachelor’s degree in translation and a postgraduate degree from King’s College, University of London, in applied linguistics and English language teaching. She was a professor for and coordinator of the extracurricular English program at the University of Buenos Aires, where she was in charge of teacher training courses. Since 1987, she has been a member of the Humanist Movement, an international volunteer organization engaged in the promotion of equity and human rights worldwide; through this work, she has served as a lecturer and promoter of grassroots groups committed to the principles of nonviolence and nondiscrimination in Argentina, Paraguay, Spain, and Brazil. Born in Argentina, for the last nine years she has lived in São Paulo, where she currently works as a freelance conference interpreter and translator. She also promotes humanist education programs with community-based groups. She has been the country coordinator of the SIT Study Abroad/IHP Cities program since 2008, and since 2010 she has also coordinated the SIT Study Abroad/IHP Health and Community program in São Paulo.
Mia Goldblatt, Country Coordinator, South Africa
Mia has travelled extensively and has visited, among others, beautiful countries like New Zealand, Scotland, Norway, Australia, Botswana, Wales, Sweden, Namibia, and Israel. She has lived in Cape Town, Johannesburg, London, Melbourne, and Jerusalem and has finally come home to roost in Cape Town, where she was born. She has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and a diploma in public relations from the London School of Public Relations. However, her passion has always been within the tourism and hospitality industries, and she has worked in hotels, on a cruise ship, and within event management and corporate relocation. She currently runs her own lifestyle management business, where she assists busy people and small businesses with organizing their chaos. Mia loves the outdoors and hiking in the mountains of Cape Town. Mia has been involved with the Cities in the 21st Century program since 2010 as an assistant country coordinator.
Sonal Mehta, Country Coordinator, India
Trained as a space scientist and technologist, Sonal Mehta has a master’s degree in physics and a postgraduate diploma in space sciences. She worked as a space scientist at the Indian Space Research Organization in her early career. She then worked in the field of science education, developing creative and activity-based learning for science education programs and national science textbooks. She was engaged in the science and environment movement and conducted research on science policy and philosophy. She has been a human rights and women’s rights activist for more than twenty-five years. As a grassroots activist she has worked with several national and state movements to improve the social, political, and economic rights of marginalized, indigenous, and untouchable communities in India. She has travelled extensively in India, Canada, Europe, and Asia. She has participated in and coordinated the World Social Forum process at regional, national, and international levels. She is also actively involved with the International Women’s Movement of rank-and-file women. A founder of Eklavya Foundation, she is currently working on sustainable development alternatives for an indigenous community of forest dwellers and bamboo workers in the state of Gujarat in western India.
Sally Frankental, PhD, Traveling Faculty
Sally Frankental is a sociocultural anthropologist who taught at the University of Cape Town for many years. She directed the university’s Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research from 1980 to 1992. Her current research interests are in the areas of migration, identity, ethnicity, and citizenship. Her association with the SIT Study Abroad/IHP Cities program (since 1999) has been facilitated by her teaching of anthropology of development and applied anthropology, her supervision of a wide variety of graduate students’ research projects conducted locally, and the consultancy work she has done for the city of Cape Town. Her book South Africa’s Diverse Peoples (with Dr. Owen Sichone), commissioned as part of a series specifically for American university and public libraries, was published by ABC-CLIO in 2005. She was a founding member of the anti-apartheid organization Jews for Justice
Nick Allen, Trustees Fellow
Nick Allen is an urbanization and global environmental change researcher in the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. His research uses archival, geospatial, and ethnographic methods to understand the political economy of infrastructure development and land-use change in fast-urbanizing regions of South and Southeast Asia. He is interested in the incongruity of planning ideologies and everyday urban growth. Nick was a student on IHP Cities three years ago and received a BA from Yale University.