Female Faces in Sustainable Places: Malaysian Women Promoting Sustainable Development

This exhibition explores the ways in which women policymakers and social entrepreneurs are contributing to sustainable development in Malaysia. Malaysia, a country of 30 million people, is much farther along in crafting sustainable development policies than many other countries. It is in the process of transforming itself from a developing to a developed nation. At the same time, it is trying to find ways to balance environmental protection, social well-being and economic growth. Women in Malaysia play key roles in formulating and implementing sustainable development policies. At the highest levels of government and in the private sector, female leaders and managers are defining what sustainability means. At the community level, "unsung heroines" from many backgrounds are bringing sustainability to life, often through social entrepreneurship of various kinds. This exhibition documents the work of the MIT-UTM Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program (MSCP) - a five-year collaboration between the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) and the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). With support from the Malaysian Ministry of Education, the MSCP is documenting and assessing sustainable city development efforts in Malaysia. In the process we are learning about the important roles that women play as change agents in Malaysia's major cities and challenging some of the current stereotypes about the impact of Islam on women's freedom, autonomy, professionalism, and power.

The Female Faces exhibition is part of the MIT-UTM Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program (MSCP) organized by MIT Professor Larry Susskind, UTM Professor Mohd Hamdan bin Ahmad and Bettina Urcuioli, MSCP Program Manager, with the support of the Community Innovator’s Lab (CoLab) in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning. The exhibition was produced by Leslie Tuttle, key photographer with the assistance of DUSP student videographers/photographers Ellen Chen and Libbie Cohen. DUSP students in the 2014 and 2015 Malaysia Practicums contributed many of the photographs and text. Exhibit design provided by Peter Agoos (Agoos D-zines), with curatorial assistance from Gary Van Zante (Director of Wolk Gallery), Leslie Tuttle and Bettina Urcuioli. The exhibit is supported through grants from the Council for the Arts at MIT and the Malaysia Ministry of Education, with additional funding by SA+P, the Committee on Race and Diversity at MIT, and the MSCP. After its appearance at MIT, the exhibition will travel to the Petronas Gallery in the iconic Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.