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Farouk Y. Seif, Ph.D., AIA
Selected Affiliations
Mission statement:

To create a
learning experience
for individuals
and organizations
that increases
their capacity for
innovation and
productivity through
a sense of wholeness
of being.

Farouk Y. Seif is Professor Emeritus of Whole Systems Design Graduate Program, a co-founder of the Center for Creative Change at Antioch University Seattle, and Visiting Faculty at Organization Systems Renewal, Seattle University.

He is a registered architect, a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and design consultant. Dr. Seif is also founding Director of Isis Institute; the cross-cultural and environmental study in Egypt, where Journey into the Dawn of Time is one example of the institute’s professional activities.

Dr. Seif was born and raised in Egypt with a Coptic background, a descendent of ancient Egyptians. He immigrated to the USA in 1977 and became an American citizen in 1987. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1990. His doctoral dissertation — “Semiotics and Urban Morphogenesis: Metaphysical Aspects of Ancient Egyptian Monumentality as a Theoretical Approach to Urban Form” — is a transdisciplinary inquiry designed to reinterpret the ancient Egyptian experience for thoughtful reflections on modernity and postmodernity.

Earlier Dr. Seif received a Master of Architecture from Kent State University, Ohio, and graduated with distinction from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University in Cairo, Egypt, under the auspice of the influential school École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He has the fortune of learning first hand from the renewal Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy, as well as the French architect and philosopher Le Corbusier’s disciples.

As an educator, architect, and artist, Dr. Seif has taught, presented, and lectured on design approach to social and cultural change, creative thinking, and visual communication in several universities and international conferences in Asia (China), Canada (Montreal and Vancouver), Europe (Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Spain, and Turkey), and in numerous cities in North America (USA and Canada). Notable is his contributions to semiotic conferences where Dr. Seif rubs elbows with many influential scholars, such as John Deely, Winfried Nöth, Eero Tarasti, to name a few.

In addition to Ancient-Egyptian wisdom and Coptic tradition, Dr. Seif has been influenced by the philosophical work of Christopher Alexander, Gregory Bateson, Jean Baudrillard, Umberto Eco, Jean Gebser, Humberto Maturana, Charles S. Peirce, and Thomas A. Sebeok. His main interests are the metaphysics of design, wholeness, semiotics, and advanced design communication.


Leanna Mix




Leanna Mix, M.A. in Whole Systems Design

Leanna Mix serves as the anchor for Cross Cultural Travel with the Isis Institute.  She holds a Master’s in Whole Systems Design from Antioch University Seattle and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Montana State University.  Throughout a career in the food and beverage industry, Leanna has focused on designing products, processes and spaces that evolve one of the most shared human experiences – good food.  Based in Madison, Wisconsin, she directs specialized business development for a global flavor and ingredient company.

Leanna made her first journey with the Isis Institute in 2005, and in subsequent years has witnessed the endless potential of cross-cultural connection to inspire and transform. 


Whole systems design is neither
a discipline nor a profession but
an intentional way of being and
acting in an unpredictable and
paradoxical world.

Farouk Y. Seif

Copyright © 2009-2012, Farouk Y. Seif, Ph.D., AIA. All rights reserved.