Annika Freudenberger’s dedication to urban equity and resilience stems from her childhood growing up in Fianarantsoa, Madagascar. Her early curiosity in how cities can become more equitable and livable for all strengthened in her teenage years as she dove into local government in Burlington, Vermont, where her family moved when she was 12 years old. She received her bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Barnard College in 2018, where she conducted original research and wrote her senior thesis on issues of informality, governance, and public space in Fianarantsoa’s outdoor second-hand clothes markets. Annika’s commitment to developing more economically and socially just cities intersects with her interest in climate resilience. At Meridian Institute, a non-profit consultancy she joined upon graduation, Annika has delved into issues of climate change mitigation, resilience, land use, and renewable energy. She has provided strategic advice and designed collaborative processes to help governments, foundations, the private sector, and civil society develop and implement solutions to these complex and often controversial issues.
Prior to Meridian, outside of her studies, Annika’s experience centered in political advocacy, facilitation, and participatory training. She has worked on youth leadership and reproductive health education with Projet Jeune Leader in Madagascar, and in the United States, Annika has worked on affordable housing policy at Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future and on criminal justice issues at the Drug Policy Alliance and for Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Annika is a 2017 Truman Scholar from Vermont and received a Davis Projects for Peace grant in 2015. She hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in urban planning and focus her career on building climate resilience and adaptation in rapidly growing, developing cities.