Who We Are

Atlas Cultural Foundation Board

Cloe Medina Erickson, Founder & President ACF. Erickson earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design and Master of Architecture from Montana State University in 2000.  From 2001 until 2006 Erickson gained extensive experience working with local, state and federal government bodies as the co-chair of the Livingston Historic Preservation Commission.  During this time she studied Modern Standard Arabic, an educational pursuit that took her to Morocco, Egypt, and Yemen. Erickson has continually pushed the traditional limits of the architecture profession believing that the historic built environment has a profound impact on our health, productivity and cultural cohesion. In 2006, she began working in Zawiya Ahansal, a remote region of Morocco’s Central High Atlas Mountains.  Individually, Erickson built partnerships with the local tribes, associations, and the Moroccan government resulting in the restoration of a 350 year-old fortified granary into the region’s first library and community center.  This project led to recognition and partnership for future projects by the Moroccan Ministry of Culture.  Erickson is also the founder and coordinator of the Montana State University sponsored program, Morocco: Sustainable Community Development, a mould breaking, hands-on graduate study abroad program. In 2010, Erickson founded the Atlas Cultural Foundation (ACF), a US non-profit with the mission of helping underserved Moroccans, especially women and children, improve their quality of life through locally determined development projects.

Bill Rea, ACF Board Member Mr. Rea First visited Morocco during Ramadan in the fall of 2004. Since that trip he has been hooked. He will return to Morocco this spring (2011) for his fourth trip with university students. Although Bill was born and raised in the western US, his family has always had strong ties with the Middle East including his mother who was born and raised in Beirut Lebanon. Growing up in Wyoming he was raised on moose meat and tabouli. Bill is currently a board member of the Atlas Cultural Foundation and the CH Dodge foundation which has been a long term supporter of the Near East foundation. Mr. Rea is the MSU faculty member connection for the restoration and sustainable development work in Zawaya Ahansal, Morocco. He is also a full time adjunct professor at the School of Architecture at Montana State University. Prior to teaching he worked as a set designer and art director on numerous feature films, including TitanicTrue Lies and Ali. He is a licensed architect in Montana and a member of the American Institute of Architects, NCARB and a long term member to the City of Bozeman’s Design Review Board. His free time is spent with his two daughters and wife in Bozeman Montana.

Joanne EricksonDr. Joanne Erickson, ACF Board Member Dr. Joanne Erickson is senior faculty in Educational Leadership and Director of Funded Research for the College of Education, Health and Human Development at Montana State University.  She has received the MSU Cox Family Excellence Award given in recognition of creative scholarship and distinctive performances in teaching (2012) and the MSU Wiley Award for Meritorious Research and Creativity (2005) which recognizes faculty members who have made a significant research achievement that is the product of extensive, mature research activity.  Additionally, Erickson has been nominated 3 times for the most prestigious teaching awards at Montana State University.  She has garnered more than 13 million dollars in funded research, published a number of articles and monographs, and has presented her research extensively nationally and internationally. She was recently awarded the Montana Rural Education Association Outstanding Partnership award (2011) for her outreach to rural communities in Montana.  Her current research interests are investigating leadership among indigenous people and collective efficacy as organizational theory to practice.

Leigh TaggartLeigh Taggart, ACF Board Member Leigh Taggart has a B.S. in Nutrition from the University of Vermont, a B.S.N. in Nursing from Westminster College of Salt Lake City, and recently a Masters in Public Health from the University of Montana, with an emphasis in International Health.  Leigh has worked in critical care for nearly 20 years in the ICU and Emergency Department.  She also works as the project leader in injury prevention for the State of Montana.  For the past four years, Leigh has been working in Uganda on a public health project that focuses on post-war recovery and empowerment for families and specifically women displaced by the war in Northern Uganda.


Atlas Cultural Foundation Advisory Board

Mustapha El Qadery, Advisory Board Member Recently, El Qadery was a Fulbright Scholar in Residence at Virginia State University in Virginia.  In Morocco, he works at the National Library of the Moroccan Kingdom and in the Faculty of Law at Rabat University. El Qadery has published over 30 papers on his field work which focuses on Colonial and Postcolonial Political Systems in Africa and the Middle East. El Qadery’s latest paper, published in France in December 2010, is titled “Did Africa Lose the North?” El Qadery is now finishing a book, written in Arabic and French, titled Nationalism of the Self-hate, including a specific text about the end of Franco Salazar’s rule in Tunisia. Also a documentary film producer, he was recently awarded two Moroccan film awards regarding his work on the history of the Colonial Conquest in the Eastern Moroccan Sahara. For the past five years, El Qadery has worked closely with Cloe Erickson, MSU alumni and the founder of the Atlas Cultural Foundation, on community development work and an MSU study abroad program in a remote region of Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains. In addition, El Qadery has been a guest scholar for the Livingston, MT-based travel company Bella Treks.

Dr. ChabotDr. Genevieve Chabot, Advisory Board Member Dr. Genevieve Chabot co-founded Iqra Fund in 2011 with her husband, Doug Chabot. She lives in Bozeman, Montana and has earned a doctorate in Education, Curriculum and Instruction with an international educational development focus. Genevieve also earned degrees in elementary education, and secondary science education. In 2006 she began her graduate research through Montana State University in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. Coupled with her field-based research and educational program development, Genevieve consulted for Central Asia Institute in Pakistan and Afghanistan for three years. Her work and studies focus on girls’ education, international education initiatives, service learning, community development and rural school development. In Pakistan and Afghanistan Genevieve developed teacher trainings and student scholarships to improve the quality of education and long-term sustainability of rural girls’ schools. She also developed and maintained programs to monitor and evaluate community needs, programming effects, and overall educational development impact. In regions where natural disasters or crises occurred Genevieve established libraries and temporary education programs . In addition to Genevieve’s international educational development work, she maintains a part-time adjunct faculty position at Montana State University teaching courses in the Department of Education and the Masters of Science in Science Education program. These courses include: Social Justice Issues, Global Issues in International Development in Afghanistan, Graduate Statistics for Educational Research, Planning for Program Assessment and Evaluation, and Action Research for Science Educators. In 2010 she was a founding board member for the Global Midwife Education Foundation (GMEF). She currently serves and supports GMEF programs as the director of education. In 2011 Iqra Fund was founded to commit to the educational needs in the communities that she and partnering organizations have served.

Heidi RogersHeidi Rogers, Advisory Board Member Heidi first visited Zawiya Ahansal as a Montana State University architecture student in the Morocco: Sustainable Community Development International Service Learning program in 2010.  Heidi felt a deep connection with the region and the people of Zawiya Ahansal and continued her work with ACF in 2011, returning for a second year in the program.  Excited about pushing architectural design beyond aesthetics, Heidi is interested in the way ACF is holistically and sustainably improving people’s lives.  She continuously pursues academic excellence and was recently awarded the Gutterson Traveling Scholarship and the NAWIC Founders’ Scholarship; both based on her dedication to architecture and international service learning.  Heidi will graduate with a degree in Environmental Design in 2012 and plans to continue on to pursue a graduate degree in architecture.  Raised in Alaska, Heidi had adventuresome parents that did their best to introduce her to the world both in and outside their state.  She has traveled across Alaska, the United States, Central America, Europe and Morocco.

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