We Can Be podcast - The Heinz Endowments

Bridging gap between university & community: The Center for Shared Prosperity (WeCanBeSpecEp)

April 28, 2021

Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab leader Illah Nourbakhsh, Raqueeb Bey, exec. dir. of Black Urban Gardeners & Farmers of Pittsburgh  join host & Endowments Pres. Grant Oliphant as they dive into the fascinating backstory of the new & innovative Center for Shared Prosperity

One of the great anomalies of modern American society is the disconnect between the intellectual capital, innovation, and wealth creation associated with its leading research universities and the persistent challenges and inequality confronting the communities in which those centers of innovation reside.

There is a better way – one in which universities focus their research and problem-solving expertise on those challenges that surrounding communities identify as most urgent. It’s a way that includes deep and long-term partnerships between community representatives, universities and philanthropy.

Funded by The Heinz Endowments with its largest-ever single grant and guided by a committee of community leaders, the newly launched Center for Shared Prosperity at Carnegie Mellon University is creating a template for that better way. 

Illah is the K&L Gates Professor of Ethics and Computational Technologies at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, the author of “Robot Futures,” and co-author of “AI and Humanity,” both from MIT Press. 

In addition to heading Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh, Raqueeb also leads Mama Africa’s Green Scouts, a grassroots organization that works with black youth in underserved communities to encourage awareness of green education, environmental sustainability and social justice.

Illah and Raqueeb share what they believe the Center for Shared Prosperity could mean for both the university and surrounding communities, and how other cities across the nation with major research institutions may use the initiative as a guide for systemic change.

“I see this as the opportunity for all of us to come together in a genuine, long-term way to make  permanent change in the structure of the system,” says Raqueeb.

Illah agrees: “I believe that we can be pioneers for justice together.”

“We Can Be” is hosted by Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant, and produced by the Endowments, Josh Franzos and Tim Murray. Theme music by Josh Slifkin; incidental music by Giuseppe Capolupa. Guest inquiries can be made to Scott Roller at sroller@heinz.org.

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App