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Director Creation Care Task Force


Chris Elisara, Ph.D.

Leading the taskforce is Dr. Chris Elisara who brings to his role 20 years of experience working in the creation care movement. After growing up in New Zealand Dr. Elisara moved to the United States to undertake graduate studies at Eastern University (MBA) and Biola University (Ph.D.), where in 1995 he and his wife Tricia founded the first Christian undergraduate environmental study abroad program, entitled the Creation Care Study Program (CCSP), with campuses in Belize and New Zealand.  In 2010 Dr. Elisara founded the Center for Environmental Leadership before being invited in 2012 to start the WEA’s CCTF.

Global Urbanism Leadership Team 


Ash Barker, Ph.D,

After 25 years of urban mission in Melbourne and Bangkok, Ash Barker, his wife Anji, and their son Aiden moved to Winson Green, Birmingham, UK in 2014 to help found and lead the Newbigin House ministry. Ash was the founding director of Urban Neighbours of Hope (1993-2013), Surrender Conferences (2003-2009) and is the current director of Micah Global’s International Society for Urban Mission (ISUM). An inspiring speaker and lecturer, Ash is also the author of eight books including Make Poverty Personal, Slum Life Rising, and Risky Compassion. He completed his Ph.D. addressing a Christian response to the rise of urban slums.


Joshua J. Yates, Ph.D

Joshua J. Yates is Research Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia and Director of the Program on Culture, Capitalism, and Global Change at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. Professor Yates is a sociologist specializing in the study of culture and cultural change in the late modern world, with an emphasis on moral and ethical life.


He is currently working on two separate, but related lines of research. The first is a book project on the moral and ethical dimensions of contemporary globalization, entitled: The Problem of ‘the Good’ World: Global Culture and Our Changing Moral Imaginaries. The second is “The Thriving Cities Project,” a multi-year, interdisciplinary initiative to create a new form of community assessment based on a holistic understanding of “thriving” in twenty-first century cities.


Katharine Hayhoe, Ph.D.

Named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2014, Katharine is an atmospheric scientist who studies climate change, and consults on how cities can best respond to the challenges therein. Katharine’s work has been featured on the Emmy award-winning documentary series “Years of Living Dangerously” and “The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers.” In 2012, she was named by Christianity Today as one of their “50 Women to Watch,” while in 2014 she was awarded the American Geophysical Union’s Climate Communication Prize, and named as one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers. Katharine is married to Pastor Andrew Farley and they live in Lubbock, Texas and have one child.

Michael Mata, M.A., M.Div

Michael A. Mata has engaged community-based programs for over 30 years, particularly in regards to community development, organizational and leadership development and community youth development. Recently appointed to direct Azusa Pacific Seminary’s Transformational Urban Leadership Program in Los Angeles, he is also the Community Transformation Specialist with Compassion Creates Change, Inc. and an affiliated faculty at Fuller Theological Seminary. Prior to his current assignments he was the Urban Development Director for World Vision U.S. Program where he was responsible for guiding the department’s implementation of its Signature Program (community transformation focused on community youth development). Mata held the Mildred M. Hutchinson chair in Urban Ministry and was Director of the Urban Leadership Institute at the Claremont School of Theology. He holds the degree of Master in City Planning from the University of California at Berkeley as well as has completed doctoral studies in Policy, Planning and Development at the University of Southern California.

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