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17 Rooms Secretariat

In late 2020, a formal secretariat team was established within the Center for Sustainable Development at Brookings to support the overall 17 Rooms initiative, working in close day-to-day collaboration with partners in the Innovation team at The Rockefeller Foundation (RF) and the rest of the 17 Rooms network.


John McArthur (17 Rooms co-chair) is senior fellow and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Brookings.

Alexandra Bracken is the assistant director for the Center for Sustainable Development. She serves as the overall focal point for Brookings-RF coordination on the 17 Rooms initiative and has day-to-day responsibility for successful overall execution of the flagship process. Alexandra comes to CSD with a decade of experience in sustainable development. Her past work experience includes research on gender equity in Central Asia as a consultant with the World Bank; managing the International Youth Foundation’s Mozambique portfolio, which included education and youth livelihoods initiatives; and working as a secondary school teacher in Cabo Verde and Mozambique as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer. Alexandra has an M.S. in global human development from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Jacob Taylor is a senior project manager for innovation and learning. He is a cognitive anthropologist by training with a research focus on collective intelligence and social cohesion in human systems and high-performing teams. Jacob is the secretariat’s lead on the 17 Rooms-X initiative and is responsible for codification of insights and innovations across both the 17 Rooms-X and global flagship tracks of the initiative. Before joining the 17 Rooms Secretariat, he worked to apply his research to several contexts, including most recently as a research fellow at the Asian Bureau of Economic Research at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, and as a consulting scientist to a DARPA research program for developing technology for social and team intelligence and team performance. Jacob has a regional research focus on China, having spent several years studying, working, and conducting ethnographic research in Beijing with the local Chinese sports community. He himself has a background in professional team sport, representing his native country of Australia in Rugby 7s, 2009-2013. Jacob received a B.A. (Honors) from the University of Sydney and an M.Sc. in cognitive and evolutionary anthropology and D.Phil. (Ph.D.) in anthropology from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

Shrijana Khanal is a project coordinator. She supports all aspects of the 17 Rooms flagship and the 17 Rooms-X implementation processes. Shrijana also provides administrative and research support to the Center director. She is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where she completed her bachelor’s degree in economics (Honors). While at UMBC, Shrijana co-founded TEDxUMBC, which focused on sharing community stories through the TED platform, and was a member of the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program. Shrijana is passionate about creating positive social impact, especially for gender equality, through pragmatic avenues such as design, data and research.

The Rockefeller Foundation

Zia Khan (17 Rooms co-chair) is senior vice president for innovation at The Rockefeller Foundation.

Sarah Geisenheimer

Nathalia dos Santos

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