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The IHSAI Urban Professional Awards 2018

Updated: Oct 29, 2019


The IHS Alumni International Urban Professional Awards Ceremony took place during the Empowering Cities and Citizens conference, an event which celebrated the 60th anniversary of IHS, on November 6th, in Rotterdam.

These awards are a form of recognising and honouring individuals and institutions who contribute to urban management and development, through outstanding initiatives and innovative practices anywhere in the world.


The jury, consisting of Carley Pennink, Emiel Wegelin and Claudio Acioly carefully selected the winners and runner-ups in the categories Urban Professional and Youth Urban Professional.


The ceremony was opened by Charmae Pyl Wissink Nercua, Alumni Relations Officer and member of the Alumni International board. She introduced the concept of the awards to the audience. Further, the president of the board, Mansi Jasuja took the word and invited all urban professionals to take the Urban Pledge, while highlighting the importance of networks. Afterwards, William Cobbett, the director of Cities Alliance, took over as the Master of Ceremony. To start, he presented some of his thoughts on the future of cities and the challenges we are facing, before moving on to introduce the award winners and runner-ups. 

William Cobbett, Director of Cities Alliance

He started with the winners of the Youth Urban Professional Awards, the Ukrainian NGO Urban Curators, represented by co-founder Andrew Shulyar

The NGO’s mission is to create and revitalize urban space for public benefit, involving all stakeholders. Since its foundation, there were conducted several projects, including Map me happy which is a user generated map for collecting and sharing information about positive experiences in public spaces. This project’s objective is to preserve, improve and diversify urban spaces.

Urban Curators also contributed to the concept for the Kyiv bicycle infrastructure that aims to raise the share of daily cycling commuters. Especially innovative is their use of gamification tools for participatory urban development. In addition to their other work, the NGO also frequently organizes lectures and panel discussions about urgent urban development topics in Ukraine.

Andrew Shulyar representing Urban Curators, Winner of the Youth Urban Professional Awards 2018

"It’s not a secret that Ukraine is not famous for having good cities, comfortable cities or successful cities. It does not mean that we don’t have talented urban designers or dedicated policy makers, but we have a lack of a culture of city making which involves various stakeholders and actors. What we have found through our work is the missing link between these actors." 

- Andrew Shulyar


Afterwards, Henry Takunda Gurajena, a young Real Estate Manager from Zimbabwe and founder of the construction company Solinfra Zimbabwe Private Ltd. was honored as the runner-up in the same category. 

His company seeks to improve the standards of living for local residents by addressing the Sustainable Development Goal number 11. Solinfra Zimbabwe is refurbishing and extending dilapidated housing structures on credit to low income earners. Their special financial modelling technique enables participants to contribute to a fund that will be used to combine resources for the benefit of all participants. Henry also frequently writes articles for real estate journals and book chapters. 

Henry Takunda Gurajena, Runner-Up of the Youth Urban Professional Awards 2018

"I also have a dream. That one day we will have eliminated all slums, all the informal and the dilapidated structures on this planet. And it is possible." 

- Henry Takunda Gurajena

Moving on to the category Urban Professional, Enkhbayar Tsedendorj from Mongolia, founder of Urban Development Resource Centre was awarded as the winner.

In 2005, Enkhbayar established the NGO which aims to reduce poverty by improving the living environment of Ger district’s residents with their active participation. As a chairperson, Enkhbayar is responsible for the overall coordination and management. The center strives to create a reliable, comfortable and safe living environment based on Ger district residents' participation, their collaboration and initiatives via developing community surveys, mapping, small upgrading initiatives, trainings and meetings.

Enkhbayar Tsedendorj, Winner of the Urban Professional Awards 2018

"The bottom-up and top-down planning approaches should go towards each other. Make both approaches meet."

 - Enkhbayar Tsedendorj 

Jennifer Semakula Musisi from Uganda, the Executive Director of the Kampala Capital City Authority, was then honored as one of the runner-ups for the award. 

In 2011, Jennifer was appointed as the first Executive Director of the Kampala City Director by the President of Uganda. In this position, she has been able to play an immense role in the restauration of Kampala City. Her achievements include the introductions of a city bus service, solid waste management practices, the promotion of urban farming and an overall increased migration to Kampala City among many others. 

Jenifer Semakula Musisi, Runner-Up of the Urban Professional Awards 2018

"I came in because I wanted to make a difference, for the people of Kampala and for my country. To make Ugandans proud to call Kampala their capital city. And over the last seven years we have worked very hard under very difficult circumstances with very limited resources and coming against all kinds of resistance to turn around the direction of the capital city. "

- Jennifer Semakula Musisi

The second runner-up, Yahia Shawkat from Egypt, received his recognition afterwards.

Yahia co-founded 10 Tooba, an organization that conducts applied research on the built environment. As 10 Tooba’s research coordinator he is dedicated to the production and accessibility of knowledge about housing and the built environment. Through his initiative, Yahia has shed a light on many urban challenges in Egypt.

Yahia Shawkat, Runner-Up of the Urban Professional Awards 2018

"Reaching urban housing equity isn’t about neatness, isn’t about order, isn’t about smart solutions, isn’t the spark on its own, it can be something much simpler than that like an income paper.

 - Yahia Shawkat


Yanu Ramirez Rivera, the Vice-President of the IHSAI board closed the ceremony by thanking the organizers of the conference IHS, the Vital Cities and Citizens initiative from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Citymar Consultancy,The Erasmus Trust Fund and The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations

Yanu Ramirez Rivera, Vice-President of the IHSAI board

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