MU Students 2016-2018
Carlos Estevez, Colombia
Carlos has a Bachelor in Anthropology and a postgraduate study in Economics from Los Andes University in Bogotá. Formerly, he conducted sociocultural research on economic and livelihood issues of contemporary aboriginal societies in Colombia. Afterward, he became interested in urban and regional development, as he worked in an urban renewal project in Bogotá and conducted an economic cost-benefit analysis about it. He also has experience on resettlement processes and social management consultancy. His current main interests are community development, local income generation and planning for environmental conservation. He’s part of an NGO that contributes to the peace building process in his country.
Dana Mazraani, Lebanon
Dana has a Bachelor of Architecture and a minor in Sociology from the American University of Beirut. She has experience in private large-scale architecture practice, and has worked on different types of projects including educational, healthcare, civic/governmental, transportation, commercial and residential; in addition to experience in master planning. Dana has also carried out urban researches covering public spaces, “Inclusive design and environmental access”, and urban informality in Beirut; She developed the latter into a published ethnography. She decided to join the Mundus Urbano team to gain knowledge and tools in the processes that enable inclusive change-making notably in the areas of her previous research work particularly in urban informality and war-displaced migration. She is further determined to overcome the barriers of merging theory with practice and transcribing knowledge into action.
Sadaf Kotwal, Canada
Born in Montreal, Sadaf graduated from McGill University with a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Sciences, with a focus on ecological determinants of health. Her academic experiences include participating in two field semesters both at home in Montreal, and abroad in Barbados. The latter included a research internship with the Future Centre Trust, an environmental NGO, where she studied the relationship between the country’s waste management system and local businesses. Sadaf has also completed an internship with the Quebec Labrador Foundation in supporting its administrative team in the managing of their conservation programs. From having volunteered with diverse local NGOs, her principal motivations for applying to Mundus were community welfare and environmental justice, in addition to interests in climate change adaptation and mitigation. She aspires to obtain the skills necessary to transform communities into resilient, ecologically sound ones that care and empower the most vulnerable members of society.
Milan Stevanovic, Serbia
Architect & Urban Planner
Milan holds M.Sc. and B.Sc. degrees in architecture and urban planning from the University of Novi Sad (Serbia). Previously, he has worked as an architect and technical consultant on educational buildings, brownfield revitalization and heritage restoration. Milan is currently engaged in several youth groups and citizens’ movements including ‘Europa Nostra’ and ‘Youth Beyond Disasters’ and serves as a programme representative for Mundus Urbano in Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association. His current studies are on urban development and urban resilience, with the special focus in local adaptation measures. His main interest is in capacity building, especially issues regarding the implementation of global policy standards in different development contexts.
Taimaa Almashriki, Syria
Architect & Urban Planner
Taimaa is from Syria, has a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Planning and Environment Sciences from Damascus University. She has experience in private architecture practice, five years of teaching in the Planning and Environment Department of Damascus University. She works as an urban analyst assistant with UN-Habitat Syria, develop with facilitators the written inputs to cities’ profiles; prepare Action Maps for an urban assessment in affected neighborhoods, including inputs regarding project concepts and components; prepare map layouts, presentations and consultation works for the projects and working with the GIS team in the revision of the mapped information received from local authorities, including the validation of the VHR damage assessment layers. She is interested in urban development, green infrastructure management, reconstruction, disaster risk management and capacity building programs for vulnerable groups.
João Figueiredo, Brazil
Architect & Urban Planner
João is a Brazilian architect and urban planner graduated in 2007. His interests in projects in vulnerable areas - slums - comes since college, where he participated in internships focused on planning and analysis of growth and morphology of irregular settlements. As a professional he collaborated on some large scale projects, mostly in slums, with a focus on (re)infrastructure and (re)structuring. He also worked on implementing the reconstruction and rehabilitation of an intermediate city devastated by heavy rains (flooding and landslides). His last work in Brazil was in the Porto Maravilha Project (Rio Olympics 2016) which is a large urban development project. Joining Mundus Urbano is a way to achieve his long-range goal to develop the necessary knowledge and skills, in order to help and to improve the quality of life in communities affected by poverty, conflicts or natural disasters around the world.
Hannah Gonzales, Philippines
Urban Planner & Urban Designer
Hannah is an urban planner and holds a master’s degree in Urban Design from the National University of Singapore as well as a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of the Philippines. Her love of learning about and exploring cities goes hand in hand with her experience of living abroad – growing up in both Manila and Philadelphia, studying in Singapore, working in Dubai, and accomplishing an internship and a fellowship in New York City. Most of her experience has been in physical planning and the built environment. In 2015-2016, Hannah was part of the board of directors for the Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners (PIEP), her country’s accredited professional organization for urban and regional planners. She has worked on numerous urban development projects funded by international agencies (USAID, GIZ, AusAID, ASEAN, etc.) which led to her interest in international cooperation.
Chuma Sineke, South Africa
I am Chuma, born and raised in Mthatha. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Construction Management from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. Prior to joining the MU programme, I moved to Johannesburg where I joined an international consultancy and construction company, working mostly on retail and luxury resorts projects. Coming from a rural background, I had the hope that I would play a part in improving that environment, and hence I decided to get into construction. However, over time, I became aware of many other harsh realities inflicting not only my village but my country and continent as a whole. My initial desires thus evolved to include a better understanding of urban development processes, particularly the politics, governance, and economics behind it all. I joined the MU Programme with the hope of acquiring some of the pieces that contribute to overall urban development puzzle.
Researcher & Urban Planner
Bram is from Bandung, Indonesia. He graduated from Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta with a Bachelor degree in Urban and Regional Planning in 2009. After 1 year worked as a staff in Housing Resource Center (HRC) in Yogyakarta, he joined the Ministry of Public Works and Housing of Indonesia as a researcher in Research Institute for Human Settlements at Medan Office. Since 2011, he was involved in the research projects related to human settlement studies, such as housing provision for low-income peoples, slums, and housing in a rural area (traditional houses). On 2015, he continued his study in the Master of Urban and Regional Development at Diponegoro University in Semarang with a scholarship from Ministry of Public Works and Housing. On 2016, he got an opportunity to follow the double degree program at Technische Universität Darmstadt, at the Mundus Urbano Programme/International Cooperation in Urban Development.
Kaitlyn Dietz, USA
Kaitlyn is from Austin, Texas, USA and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Architectural Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin with a specialization in sustainable building technology. Throughout her studies she was involved in the equitable housing co-operatives movement in Austin as well as with Engineers Without Borders, with whom she had the opportunity to work abroad in partnership with international aid organizations in sustainable development projects. She has conducted urban planning research at the TU Berlin and worked professionally mainly in the field of sustainable architecture, spending the past year since graduation in Santiago, Chile developing green roof energy simulation tools. Her professional interest in the built environment is shifting more and more to a focus on the people, stemming from exposure to many distinct urbanisms and reflection on how good and/or bad design impact the society inhabiting a place. She is excited to explore how sustainable construction and participatory urban development can converge, especially in response to contexts of conflict.
Sergio Dominguez Solorzano, México
Sergio has a Bachelor of Architecture from the Universidad Iberoamericana León. He has worked with Non-governmental organizations which focus on irregular settlements upgrading, poverty alleviation, and local sustainable development. He has worked in private offices of architectonic, landscape and urban design, as well as urban planning. He has also experience in environmental education and strategic planning consultancy. Furthermore, he has worked in governmental agencies responsible for urban and regional planning. He is interested in issues such as disaster risk management and emergency response, urban resilience, socio-ecological relations, and sustainable development.
Paola Vasconcelos, Brazil
Architect, Urban Planner, & Project Manager
Paola comes from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She graduated in Architecture and Urbanism and her final bachelor’s thesis was the design of a model school for children at risk in Brazil using social interactionism theory to develop the architectural concept. By this time, she was working in the urban department of her hometown municipality developing sustainable school projects. In 2011, she joined a multinational company as project manager and worked for 5 years with design & construction projects in Brazil and in the USA. During this time, she obtained an MBA in Project Management from Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV-Rio) in a partnership with The George Washington School of Business. Having started a Social Sciences bachelor but opting to stay and finish only the Architecture and Urban Planning school, the Mundus Urbano Program is the sum of all of her interests. For her it is an opportunity to understand better the complex relations between citizens and cities and to learn innovative urban development strategies for developing countries.
Syamsudin Nggole, Indonesia
Urban & Regional Developer
Syamsudin was born in Tapa, Gorontalo Province, Indonesia. He has been working for the Government of Bitung Municipality, North Sulawesi in the Spatial Planning Department with the main task in Town Planning Evaluation. This led him to study Master of Urban and Regional Planning in Diponegoro University, Central Java on the scholarship scheme from Indonesian Public Works and Housing Ministry. He interested in community participation, green cities development and tourism development which he expects could be improved when studying in Mundus Urbano. Having more contribution to his municipality by producing a better spatial and development planning is one of his wishlists after graduating from Mundus Urbano.
Romina Naydenova, Belgium
Romina Naydenova, born in Bulgaria and raised in Belgium, holds a Master in Architecture from Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium. During her studies, she spent one year at Istanbul Technical University, where she discovered the challenges related to urban development, which lead her to Mundus Urbano. Strongly involved in international volunteering, she worked on several construction projects and completed a one year European Voluntary Service. In Mundus Urbano she sees a step towards an international professional career.
Bianca Antunes, Brazil
She is journalist specialized in architecture and urban planning, with 12 years experience in an architecture magazine in Brazil (seven years as editor-in-chief). She is co-author of Casacadabra, an architecture book for children, result of a successful crowdfunding in 2016; and editor and founder-partner of Pistache Editorial, an independent publishing house that aims to bring the architecture knowledge to a non-specialized public, encouraging the critical view of people from all ages for the built city and its spaces. She has a master's degree (2005-2008) on media studies and gender equality in women's magazines, through a discourse analysis approach. She joined Mundus Urbano in search for new professional routes in urban planning field.
Alemayehu Boku, Ethiopia
Alemayehu is from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. He studied Architecture in his bachelor in Mekelle University, Ethiopia. After graduation, he joined governmental academic institution and worked as an assistant lecturer. Later he has also played administrative role for the department of Architecture in Wollo University. In addition to the academic activities, he has been practicing architecture in his part time. He worked majorly on building design projects and to some extent on urban planning. Having a background in Architecture and urban planning, he is looking forward to upgrade his knowledge and to have an international experience. This is what brings him to Mundus Urbano and he believes that this program will help him fulfill his dream.
Julia Mangione, USA
International Relations & Community Development
Julia Mangione was born and raised in California, and earned her B.A. in International Relations with minors in Spanish and Environmental Studies at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, USA. She entered university with the intention of working on international human rights issues, but now believes that the most impactful work she can do is at a local community level. She served two years with the Public Allies, Los Angeles AmeriCorps program, working on issues of public participation and affordable housing with NGOs in the historically under-served community of South Central Los Angeles. She joined the Mundus Urbano program to gain a theoretical foundation specific to the field of Urban Development and a global, interdisciplinary perspective, and to develop concrete skills and experience to better address development challenges in her own context and in communities around the world. She is passionate about issues of social and environmental justice, and dedicated to learning about and contributing to more equitable, sustainable, community-led, and democratic development.
Sebastian Fritz, Germany
Sebastian started his academic career in the field of European Construction Management | Civil Engineering. He studied for two years at the Paul Verlaine University in Metz, France and the University of Luxembourg before he changed his field and completed his Bachelor of Architecture Studies at the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne. He continued working in different architectural offices and collected experience in the daily work of an architect operating in the field of private housing as well as in international competitions. In the meantime he started a Master’s program in Urban Development in Cologne before he was finally accepted for the Mundus Urbano Program. By becoming part to the Mundus cohort, he wants to find a way to use gained knowledge about the creation of our human environment to serve a process opposing social inequalities in the world and help people building their own healthy and secure environment.
Alper Benli, Turkey
Alper has a Bachelor of Engineering from the Boaziçi University. He has experience in urban participation, ecological resilience, gift economy, recycling and low carbon living. He is interested in development without growth, Degrowth, applying ecological economics to urban planning.
Juan Marin, Colombia
Juan was born in Medellin, Colombia. He studied at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina and at the Pontificia Bolivariana University in Colombia, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture with emphasis in Informal Settlements Upgrade in the Aburra Valley. Moreover, he has studied Public Finances, Urban Law, Sustainability and Construction Supervision. He has worked in the private sector in Interior Design, Construction Supervision and as a researcher on Accessibility to Buildings and Transportation. In the public sector, he worked for the government, developing Housing Projects for disadvantaged people in the region of Antioquia, Colombia.
Issamar Pichardo, México/USA
Issamar has a Bachelor's in Geography with an emphasis in environmental science and a Geographic Information Systems Certificate. She is passionate about making a difference for vulnerable populations. Her interests include natural hazards, gentrification, and urban food deserts and mapping urban issues. Her work experience is related to the topics mentioned before for nonprofits as well she has worked as a research assistant investigation the effect floods had in the Latino population on an event of 2013 in the State of Colorado. She looks forward to continue working with vulnerable populations and help them become more resilient as well as utilize GIS to map urban issues.
Alvaro Manriquez, Chile
I studied Structural Civil Engineering at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Because of my strong interest in infrastructure development, my degree thesis was about floating bridges, an innovative solution to the lack of roads infrastructure in the extreme south of Chile. In the following years, I chose to do my MBA in the School of Economics of the University of Chile, due to its strong focus on strategy and finance, which enabled me to understand the importance of long-term analysis in decision making. My work experience began in 2004 in Banco de Chile, in the Real Estate and Construction Risk Area. On 2007, I started working in Inmobiliaria Aconcagua, the second biggest Real Estate Company in Chile, promoter of more than 60 projects in all over the country. I made a long career there, assuming responsibilities in different areas of the company (management, commercial, planning and project development) and contributing to the progress of many real estate projects, both houses and buildings. The last years, working in houses projects, I comprehended the complexity of “making City", developing, coordinating and implementing the different specialties, as well as interacting with the relevant regulators (municipalities, ministries, superintendents, etc.). Mundus Urbano will complement my multidisciplinary studies, giving me a new perspective of what a city requires for a sustainable development, and will allow me new opportunities of influence in the “decision making process” of a fair city.
Mohammad Rasel Kabir, Bangladesh
Urban & Regional Planner, Researcher
Rasel started his career in Photogrammetry but later he became an Urban Planning & Development Practitioner. He devoted to prepare infrastructural development plans for different small and medium towns in Bangladesh. He has skills in research, documentation, report writing, project proposal writing, monitoring, evaluations, and GIS mapping. Recently, he worked at some JICA-funded projects for developing a local governance development project and a regional development plan in Bangladesh. Rasel has some free-lance consultancy experiences as well in transportation, environment, and private residential development. He also extended his professional interest by holding an honorary position in the Executive Board of Bangladesh Institute of Planners as a Board Member (Academic Affairs). He is a graduate in Urban & Regional Planning and has a MSc. in Management of Technology. Apart from these professional achievements, Rasel sometimes works as an activist and also involves with some voluntary organizations.
Sofeen Salameh, Jordan