Xavier (Xav) de Souza Briggs is vice president of the foundation's Economic Opportunity and Markets program. He leads Ford’s work promoting economic fairness, advancing sustainable development, and building just and inclusive cities in the United States, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. He also oversees the foundation’s regional programming in China; Indonesia; and India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
Previously, Xav was a professor of sociology and urban planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also served as head of MIT’s Housing, Community, and Economic Development Group. An award-winning author, commentator, and educator, he has led groundbreaking research in economic opportunity, democracy and governance, segregation, and racial and ethnic diversity in cities and metropolitan regions. Xav's books include The Geography of Opportunity: Race and Housing Choice in Metropolitan America (Brookings, 2005) and Democracy as Problem Solving: Civic Capacity in Communities across the Globe (MIT Press, 2008), which examines efforts in the US and other democracies—Brazil, India, and South Africa—to lead change at the local level. His latest book is Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty (Oxford University Press, 2010).
From January 2009 to August 2011, while on public service leave from MIT, Xav served as associate director of the Office of Management and Budget in the White House. There he oversaw a wide array of policy, budget and management issues for roughly half of the cabinet agencies of the federal government. Earlier in his career, Xav served as a community planner in the South Bronx, a policy adviser and R&D director at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and a faculty member in public policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He holds an engineering degree from Stanford University, an MPA from Harvard University, and a PhD in sociology and education from Columbia University.