Transnational Economic Democracy Mel King Fellows, 2016-2017

Transnational Mel King Community Fellows and CoLab staff in Medellín, Colombia. Photo credit: Unknown.

Transnational Mel King Community Fellows and CoLab staff in Medellín, Colombia. Photo credit: Unknown.

The 2016-2017 Transnational Mel King Community Fellowship brings together diverse leaders, activists, and practitioners in CoLab’s networks across the Americas to explore innovative models and frameworks for advancing economic democracy and self-determination.

Increasingly, globalization and the interdependence of our political economies demand a transnational perspective in efforts to democratize ownership of the economy and build shared wealth. Rising trends of local experimentation with economic democracy – from efforts to build worker centers and cooperative networks to community banks and solidarity economies – create key opportunities to learn, connect, and build across place.

The Fellows

The Transnational MKCF cohort brings together a strategic group of rising leaders nominated by CoLab partners for their work advancing economic democracy and self-determination in their communities. Fellows come from Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Panama, and various parts of the United States, including New York and the US South, among others.

The Program

As part of the program, fellows participate in convenings to learn about innovative models of economic democracy in the Americas, as well as to build relationships and transnational collaborations with each other. These include:

  • Medellín, Colombia (Fall 2016), where fellows built a foundation for the learning network and explored “social urbanism” interventions and innovation spaces across the city.

  • Fortaleza, Brazil (Spring 2017), where fellows visited Instituto Banco Palmas to learn about powerful social and finance initiatives focused on shared wealth creation and economic democracy.

  • Mississippi, United States (Fall 2017), where fellows will explore the intersections of Black struggle and shared wealth building in the US South.

Emerging Outcomes

Through these collective learning spaces, Fellows and CoLab staff are developing a framework for economic democracy in the Americas to serve as a dynamic conceptual and practical resource for advancing thinking and practice in the field. Additionally, fellows are beginning to build transnational collaborations in areas between their organizations and institutions.

About the Mel King Community Fellowship Program

Dedicated to the legacy of activist and scholar Mel King, the Mel King Community Fellows (MKCF) program builds upon a 40-year-old tradition of bridging practice-based knowledge and the academy. The program creates a learning network among the fellows, who are recognized leaders with experience in a range of social justice pursuits. The program’s goal is to create a dispersed learning network among the fellows for co-creating knowledge, deepening their leadership capacities, and advancing their work.



Juan Constain

Lawrence Barriner II