The concept of "Cultural Agents" emerged from a number of programs and conferences promoted by the Social Science Research Council to develop arts-based projects with individuals concerned with the well-being of underserved populations in the Americas. In January 2000 with Ford Foundation support, the Social Science Research Council convened the first conference on cultural agency in Bellagio, Italy. This conference resulted in the book, Cultural Agency in the Americas (Duke University Press, 2006) edited by Professor Doris Sommer, Ira Jewell Williams, Jr., Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Professor Sommer is recognized as one of the world's leading developers of the concept of cultural agency.