As director of Extreme Heat Initiatives at the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, Kurt Shickman is leading and expanding the center’s global work to protect people and livelihoods from the growing risks and impacts of climate-driven extreme heat. Leading the Extreme Heat Resilience Alliance and working with other key Arsht-Rock colleagues and strategic partners, Kurt’s portfolio includes delivering financial solutions, public engagement through technology, policy development, and on-the-ground implementation. He joined the center in October 2021.
Kurt comes to the center from the Global Cool Cities Alliance, where he was executive director, and is the former director of research for the Energy and Climate Team at the United Nations Foundation. Kurt launched the Global Cool Cities Alliance in 2011 and built it into a global network of over 70 cities focused on implementing passive cooling solutions to combat rising urban heat. He has led projects for the World Bank, the U.S. Department of Energy, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Clean Energy Ministerial. Kurt helped develop the Million Cool Roofs Challenge, which established local champions, markets, policy, and awareness for passive cooling solutions in 10 countries facing an acute lack of access to cooling. Between 2019 and 2021, those teams deployed over 1.1 million square meters of cool roofs and laid the foundation for the future growth of passive cooling. He is the lead author of Primer for Cool Cities: Reducing Excessive Urban Heat, a publication of the Energy Sector Management Program and Global Platform for Sustainable Cities practices at the World Bank. In his prior role at the United Nations Foundation, Kurt focused on US federal policy to promote energy-efficient buildings and expedited electrical transmission development for renewable energy.
He holds an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a BA from Wake Forest University.