Selection Committee

Suad Amiry

Suad Amiry is a conservation architect, writer, and political and social activist living between New York City and Ramallah, Palestine. Amiry studied architecture at the American University of Beirut Lebanon, and earned a master’s of urban planning from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Amiry, who taught architecture at the University of Jordan and Birzeit University, is the author of numerous architectural books and articles. She is the founder of Riwaq: Centre for Architecture Conservation, a cultural heritage NGO based in Ramallah. Riwaq has succeeded in transforming the concept and process of urban renewal, rehabilitation, and gentrification of historic neighborhoods into a vehicle of poverty elevation, job creation, and social and economic development for marginalized groups (women and children) in rural Palestine: “Public Spaces for Social Change,” as Amiry calls it. Riwaq has so far revitalized more than 100 community and cultural centers, and 15 historic centers for the use and benefit of impoverished rural communities. Riwaq has won numerous international awards including: the Prince Clause Award, the Carry Stone Social Design Prize, and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014 ( Suad Amiry is the author of the internationally acclaimed memoir: “Sharon and My Mother in Law” (Random House, 2005), which uses humor and irony to describe the absurdity and cruelty of living under prolonged Israeli Occupation. The book has been translated into 20 languages and has won the prestigious Italian Literary Award “Premio Viareggio” 2004. Amiry is the author of “Nothing to Lose But Your Life: an 18 hour Journey with Murad” (Bloomsbury, 2010). Her latest book “Golda Slept Here” (Bloomsbury 2015), which describes what it means to lose one's home and not to “feel at home” ever again, won the Italian Nonino Prize (2014).

Barbara Armand

Barbara Armand is president of Professional Women in Construction, a nonprofit organization committed to advancing professional, entrepreneurial, and managerial opportunities for women and other “non-traditional” populations in construction and related industries. With four chapters and over 1,000 members, PWC serves a constituency of close to 15,000, representing a broad spectrum of the industry. As its mission, PWC encourages and advances the goals and interests of woman and minority owned businesses. Barbara is also president and CEO of Armand Corporation (WBE/MBE/DBE), which she founded in 1991. The firm provides Construction Management services. Under Barbara’s leadership, Armand Corporation has undergone tremendous growth over the years, mostly in public sector work. Some of the contracts that the firm has either primed or acted as sub-consultant include: American Airlines International Terminal, JFK Airport; Brigantine Connector project (Atlantic City); and the Philadelphia School District Capital Improvement Program. Barbara received a B.A. degree (mathematics) from Thomas Edison State College. Barbara has been honored with numerous awards for her achievements.

Maura Bairley

Maura is a social change facilitator, consultant, and coach. Her approach to transformative leadership development is rooted in her 20-year commitment to anti-violence and social justice movements. She has worked with myriad projects and organizations, including Move to End Violence, Core Align, the NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, and the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Program at Barnard/Columbia. She helps individuals and groups step more powerfully into their own leadership, hold complexity, and work across difference. Maura holds a master’s degree in Social-Organizational Psychology from Teacher’s College, where she is also an advanced doctoral student whose research interests include group dynamics, emotional intelligence, and racial equity. A native San Franciscan, Maura makes her home in Flatbush, Brooklyn with her partner, teenaged son, and chosen family.

Caledonia Curry

Working under the artist name Swoon, Callie is a classically trained visual artist and printmaker who has spent the last 13 years exploring the relationship between people and their built environment. Her first interventions in the urban landscape took the form of wheat-pasting portraits to the walls of cities around the world, a project that is still evolving. From 2006 to 2009, she constructed and navigated a flotilla of sculptural rafts made from recycled materials down the Mississippi and Hudson rivers, and across the Adriatic Sea to Venice. Since 2008, Callie has been working in collaboration with the collective Transformazium on a revitalization project in the town of Braddock, Pennsylvania, giving a century-old church new life as an arts center and ceramics guild. In 2010 she cofounded Konbit Shelter and built a community center and two homes in earthquake-devastated Haiti, integrating her creative process into a sustainable reconstruction effort. Callie is currently working toward the construction of a musical house – entitled Dithyrambalina – in New Orleans, collaborating with arts initiative New Orleans Airlift. Alongside her place-based work, she has a studio practice of drawing, printmaking, architectural sculpture, and installations. Callie’s work has been collected and shown internationally at galleries and museums, including the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, and the Sao Paolo Museum of Art.

Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu is a world-renowned painter, born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1970. She moved to the United States when she was 7, and now lives and works in New York City and Berlin. She received a master’s of fine art with honors from The Rhode Island School of Design in 1997. Mehretu is a recipient of many awards, including the The MacArthur Award (2005), the Berlin Prize: Guna S. Mundheim Fellowship at The American Academy in Berlin, Germany (2007), the Barnett and Annalee Newman Award (2013), and the US Department of State Medal of Arts Award (2015). She has shown extensively in international and national exhibitions. Recent solo shows include Julie Mehretu: The Mathematics of Droves, White Cube, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Julie Mehretu: Half a Shadow, carlier|gebauer, Berlin, Germany; Liminal Squared, Marian Goodman Gallery, NYC (2013), White Cube, London (2013); Julie Mehretu: Grey Area, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin & Soloman R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2009). Mehretu's recent group exhibitions include The Forever Now; Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World, MoMA, New York, NY (2015); Sharjah Biennial 12, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (2015); The International Biennial of Contemporary Art Foundation of Cartagena, Cartagena, Columbia (2014); 5th Moscow Biennale, Moscow, Russia (2013); documenta (13), Kassel, Germany (2012). Selected public collections include The Broad Art Foundation, Los Angeles; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Foundation Sorigué, Lleida, Spain; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Kupserstichkabinett, Berlin; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Hummelbaek, Denmark; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Studio Museum of Harlem, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Rusti Miller-Hill

Russelle Miller-Hill, affectionately known as Rusti, is a longtime advocate and HIV survivor. Her philosophy is simple: “I found that in order to help myself, I need to help other women.” She’s been doing so since she learned she was HIV positive in 1991. Currently employed as New Hour’s reentry services program coordinator and the primary educational facilitator in the Riverhead Correctional Facility, she provides instruction in health and wellness, re-entry into the community, and parenting. Rusti has been a community advocate, motivational speaker, and consultant on topics of addiction, reentry, housing, correctional health, and the needs of women impacted by these issues. Rusti graduated from Metropolitan College of New York with a bachelor’s degree in human services, and is a Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor Trainee (CASAC-T) and State Certified Recovery Peer Advocate (CRPA). Rusti has been a tireless community organizer and advocate for women who have no voice. While incarcerated at Albion Correctional Facility in New York, she was one of the earliest beneficiaries of the AIDS Counseling and Education program – a prison based peer initiative – and became a Resource Education and AIDS Counseling Health (REACH) peer educator. She then went on to become the Deputy of HIV Prison Programs at Path Stone Corporation as an advocate, providing transitional services, HIV testing, and peer education. She also co-chaired the Correctional Association Women in Prison Project’s Conditions on the Inside Committee, which in 2008 led advocacy to pass landmark New York State legislation to create oversight of NYS Correction’s HIV and Hepatitis C programs by the State Department of Health. Rusti has been featured in a wide variety of publications, videos, and documentaries, including in The New York Times, Ebony Magazine, POZ magazine, The House on Fire, Sisters Keepers, and Rusti’s Story. Rusti’s sources of inspiration are her husband, children, and grandchildren.

Meri Tepper

Meri Tepper is a Registered Architect in Wisconsin and New York and is a member of the American Institute of Architects and the Madison Area Builder’s Association. Her practice is located in Madison, Wisconsin, and she has worked with the NYC office of Ryall Porter Sheridan Architects since 2004. Meri is an equally talented creative and technical architect. As a LEED AP and Certified Passive House Designer, Meri endeavors to develop designs based on current building science and energy efficient construction techniques. Meri received her Master of Architecture Degree from the University of Virginia in 2004. Having also completed her undergraduate architectural studies at UVA, she proudly serves on the UVA Architecture Young Alumni Council. Meri’s career began with 18 months in Europe working for the Danish Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen. She planned and guided architectural study tours throughout Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland, and France. During this time, she developed an academic interest in alternative housing typologies, energy efficient building construction, and the modern Scandinavian style. Meri’s master’s thesis, titled Sited in the Setback, proposed doubling the density of first ring suburbs like Levittown, NY, with the use of prefabricated accessory dwelling units. Her thesis work received awards in the 2010 Build a Better Burb Competition sponsored by the Long Island Index and the 2005 Boston Society of Architects In Pursuit of Housing Competition. Committed to leadership development and mentoring, Meri was the 2011 recipient of the Women in Architecture AIA NY Committee Recognition Award.

Scheherazade Tillet

Scheherazade Tillet is a social documentary photographer, an art therapist, and the executive director of A Long Walk Home, Inc., a Chicago-based national nonprofit that uses art to educate, engage, and empower young people to end violence against girls and women. Scheherazade earned a Master of Art Therapy degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005 and her B.A. from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 2000. She has been the recipient of the Facing History and Ourselves “Upstanders” award, the Moxie Award for Excellence and Creativity from the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Chicago Foundation for Women’s Impact Awards and most recently, Bright Promises Foundation’s Ed Marciniak Bright Star Award, and the Chicago NOW Women Who Dared Award. Along with her sister, Salamishah Tillet, she was a finalist for Glamour’s “Woman of the Year Award” in 2010. In 2014, she was named Chicago’s 100 Women of Inspiration by Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine. Scheherazade was part of the second Move to End Violence cohort – a 10-year initiative by the NoVo Foundation designed to strengthen the collective capacity to end violence against girls and women in the United States. She is the artistic director and photographer of the “Story Of A Rape Survivor,” an award-winning multimedia performance based on her 15-year documentation of her sister’s recovery from sexual assault and is currently working on national photography project about Black Girlhood.