The Forbes list of female futurists was compiled in recognition of the fact that futurists are increasingly being hired by businesses to provide visions of how the future might unfold. Women in particular provide unique experiences and perspectives to consideration of the future and have become more influential in this sector over time, and Jamaica’s Dr. Claire Nelson represents an excellent example of this trend.
Jamaican Claire A. Nelson, futurist, sustainability engineer, social engineer, and storyteller, is the founder and president of the Institute of Caribbean Studies. Nelson has been included in the Forbes magazine list of the 59 most influential female futurists in 2020. Nelson, a Ph.D. attended St. Hughs School for Girls in Jamaica.
Dr. Nelson is the first Jamaican woman to attain a Ph.D. in an engineering discipline, and she was the only black person in her graduating class. Among her advanced degrees are the Industrial Engineering Degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo, Purdue University, and a Doctorate in Engineering Management from George Washington University. Dr. Nelson has worked in the field of international development for over 25 years, specializing in project development and management. Her special focus centers on private-sector development. Her extensive service on boards and committees includes the US Department of Commerce US/Caribbean Business Development Council Advisory Board; Black Leadership Forum; DC Caribbean Carnival Association; International Think Tank Commission on Pan-African Affairs, Office of the Prime Minister of Barbados; African-American Unity Caucus; National Democratic Institute/Carter Center Election Observer Mission to the Dominican Republic; Black Professionals in International Affairs; and the International Committee of the National Society of Black Engineers-Alumni Extension.
Dr. Nelson was also recognized as a White House champion for Change and is much in demand as a speaker on topics relevant to economic development, globalization, and issues concerning the nations and peoples of the Caribbean. She is a leading proponent of discussing a the topics of social exclusion and diversity at multinational development aid institutions. In recognition of her pioneering efforts, she received an invitation to the Salzburg Seminar as a Fellow in 1997 and 1999 of the Seminars on Race and Ethnicity, in 2000 and 2003 to the Fetzer Institute Advisory Group on Moral, Ethical and Spiritual Leadership; and as Faculty at the Seminar on Leadership Across Geographic Borders and Cultural Boundaries. She is Ideation Leader of The Futures Forum and Sagient Futures LLC, which provides strategic foresight and development futures consulting practice. She is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the World Futures Society, and an emerging voice as a Black Futurist.
As a writer and performance artist, Dr. Nelson has been featured by numerous media outlets, including Morning Edition, National Public Radio; WEAA FM and WHUR FM; and CaribNation TV.