urban decoder bios
Alice Junqueira – Sao Paulo, Brazil
Alice loves to travel and discover new places and cultures. Brazil, her motherland, is her inspiration, an infinite source of knowledge, culture and landscapes, as she likes to stress. Also, a place filled with challenges and learning, and her connection to the world. Her personal interests have always led her professional endeavors. So, traditional manifestations, music, art, dance, cinema and literature, steered her to start her career working with cultural projects. After planning and coordinating national and international exhibitions, festivals, shows and performs, she decided to change track and started working with sustainable development as she ended up discovering the amazing beneficences of social participation. She’s a true believer of everything that starts with co – co-peration, co-llaboration, co-existence! She holds a Bachelor degree in Social Communication and is about to finish her post graduation in Culture and Globalization. She’s also done an exchange in Madrid, Spain, and studied Systems Thinking at Schumacher College in Totnes, United Kingdom. Collaborating with the development and institutional structuring of NGOs and social movements is one of her passions. The ones she’s currently involved are Engajamundo, Brazilian youth engagement with UN negotiations; Inspired Generation, international youth empowerment and Escola de Governo, active citizenship and political teaching. For the past two years she’s been engaged in youth movements and initiatives such as the organization of the UN Youth Conference for Rio + 20 and the current collaborative processes led by civil society to help constructing the Post 2015 global agenda. To immerse more and more in the exciting and challenging world of youth she joined YouthfulCities to be São Paulo’s, Brazil, Urban Decoder.
Diego Padilla – Lima, Peru
Aged 23, Diego is a passionate young entrepreneur. Born in Lima, has always been involved in the youth-led movement around the city. Realizing how important is young involvement in social issues just before finishing school, it all started to change when getting in contact with the opportunities and difficulties youth faces nearby. Diego has been a National Delegate in the 21st Ship for World Youth Program (Japan, Vanuatu, Tonga, New Zealand), the 5th World Youth Congress (Turkey), the LearnLiveLove Project (Venezuela) and the 6th Americas Summit (Colombia), and has also participated as delegate and/or organizer in different Peruvian events (Political Essay National Contest, Young Environmental Volunteers National Summit, 2nd National Youth Congress, and so on). Majoring in Biology, focusing in Ecology, he’s now a truly believer that youth actions can improve the way we live in our world by fitting our activities into a well integrated nature-human system, aiming to satisfy social needs as a priority, using multidisciplinary approach, scientific research, resilience and complex system as axes of general work. Currently, he’s leading the non-profit organization Proyecto Lomas (based in Lima) that aims to achieve the conservation of a Peruvian endemic urban ecosystem by involving local communities, connecting them throughout management tools based on social and ecological criteria. His project has already been awarded as one of the best eco-initiatives in the Americas in 2012 by the Young Americas Business Trust (OAS – PepsiCo). Liking photography, indoor sports, meeting new people and dreaming, he’s now part of the YouthfulCities Family setting it up in Lima!
Daniela Gutiérrez – Bogota, Colombia
Daniela is an environmental engineering student who is conscious that the term environment includes ecologic, economic and social dimensions, and also, that to accomplish sustainability there must be searched equilibrium between these dimensions by taking the accurate decisions through technical tools. As well, thinks that human being is part of the nature and that is why humans must be aware of the way it has developed not only culturally but economically, this is why there must be a sensitizing concerning preservation, conservation and rational use of natural resources. She is Bogotá’s theme coordinator of Environmental National Youth Network (Red Nacional de Jóvenes de Ambiente), under this coordination it is supported and promoted the youth participation in different environmental areas, with the objective of formulating and implementing projects according to the environmental topics that result interesting to young people. Currently, she is part of the team of Bogota’s Urban Decoders and is willing to decode the youthfulness of the city, in order to have indicators that will help raising the awareness of the limitations and to potentiating the city advantages. She highly believes that young people can turn around the bad decisions that have been made in the world, by thinking globally but acting locally, with lots of effort and conviction.
Regina Portilla – Mexico City, Mexico
A restless story-hunter and a firm believer in the power of multicultural knowledge, Regina left her home in Mexico City to study Journalism in Spain. During her time in Madrid she worked for private companies and volunteered for a variety of environmental and social NGOs. From research, reporting, marketing to organizing campaigns, she developed different capacities to cover their diverse necessities. She discovered her passion for protecting human rights and vulnerable groups while doing an internship for UNHCR-Madrid and organizing a mayor campaign-trip to the Refugee-camps in Western Sahara. Her desire to better livelihoods through alternative solutions led her to study a Masters in Peace and Security Studies in Hamburg, where she specialized in civil and migrant organizations active in development and humanitarian work. After having studied and worked in six different cities, her last job in Quito reignited her love for Latin America and she returned to her birth city. Regina joined Youthful Cities as an Urban Decoder not only to provide information, but also in the hopes of motivating young people to take action and become part of the transformations that can better their futures.
Francis Anyaegbu – Lagos, Nigeria
Francis is a Development Consultant with extensive experience in creating; managing and facilitating youth led projects. He is Founder and Director of a youth led organization-Youth Pioneers for Development and currently seats on the board of a number of non-profit organizations. Francis has been privileged to have brought his wealth of experience to bear in different capacities with a number of local and International organizations including the British Council, World Bank Institute, Action Aid Nigeria, and UN-HABITAT amongst others. With an academic background in Environmental Biology, and couple of professional certification in development work, Francis is a development trainer with vast facilitation competencies. Based on all of the experiences he has garnered over the years and even in his role as the inaugural Chief whip of the Nigerian National Childrens’ Parliament, Francis has been privileged to have shared best practices and delivered presentations in a number of international meetings on six continents till date. He was a nominee for the Best Use of Advocacy at one of Nigeria’s prestigious Awards- The Future Awards 2011 and a winner of the 2009 Annual Nigerian Youth Leadership Awards by Leap Africa, International Youth Foundation and Nokia. Francis was recently selected as a 2012 New Leader of Tomorrow by the Swiss based Crans Montana Forum and currently serves as Africa’s Representative on the UN-HABITAT Youth Advisory Board.
Jane G.A Lumumba – Nairobi, Kenya
Jane holds a BA (Honors) in Sociology from the University of Toronto, a MSc. (Honors) in Urban Management and Development with a specialization in Urban Finance and a Diploma in Infrastructure and Energy Management from the Erasmus University Rotterdam. The model she created on trade complementarity in the EAC and her thesis on Territorial Competitiveness: Exploring City Competitiveness and Complementarity in East Africa have made her an invaluable member of the Transitional Authority under the Kenyan Government. She serves as a technical assistant, assessing the fiscal implications for both national and sub-national governments, policy development and implementation in response to devolved government functions under the new devolution framework in Kenya. In addition, she has produced detailed county profiles for all 47 counties for the Transitional Authority. These profiles will facilitate the propagation of existing and future county functions and streamline competency assignments across the different counties. Jane is currently pursuing her PhD in Urban and Regional Planning specializing in economic geography at the University of Nairobi while awaiting publication of her paper on city competitiveness and complementarity in the EAC region.
Liliana Mayer – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, into a German- Jewish family. Like most of Argentineans, Lili –as everyone calls her- was born in a cross cultural atmosphere, surrounded by different traditions, languages and cultures. Once finished her secondary school, she entered University of Buenos Aires to start her studies in sociology, university she never left. After her undergraduate degree, she became a postgraduate research scholar, going on with her studies, first within the Master in Social Sciences Research and later on, with her Ph. D. for both instances, her research and dissertations versed on youth issues: first, on the relation between youth and politics, and then regarding secondary schooling youth inclusion. Her Ph. D work led her to Berlin, for a research stay, where besides researching and working there, she reencountered herself with her roots. Besides her scholastic work, Lili leaded many NGO projects regarding youth and education, and is an Associate Professor at University. Lili is convinced that a prior are of study and work are youth people, in order to get more equalitarian societies, and for that, NGOs, government and enterprises should combine efforts.
Eugene Sosing – Manila, Philippines
Eugene is a development worker whose passion is in youth development with sustainable approach. He worked previously as researcher of World Wildlife Fund for Nature for a climate change mitigation project. He provided technical inputs on research and assessment to equipped relevant stakeholders a more practical basis to craft adaptation policies and actions to reduce and eliminate preventable losses brought about by the recent climate changes. The Cabinet Office of Japan selected him as the Facilitator of Ship for South East Asian Youth Program, a cultural and educational exchange program where he supervised youth leaders from South East Asian countries and Japan. Mr. Sosing volunteers as a Youth Advisor of Philippine Junior Jaycees, a nationwide youth leadership training and community development organization. He serves as consultant to the national board officials in developing training modules and inter-chapter endeavors. As a volunteer advocate, he was involved as a coordinator of an NGO where he provided technical support to more than 300 international volunteers in implementing community development projects at their respective placement. Eug, as he fondly called, considers the service to humanity as the best work of life.
Selimcan Azizoglu – Istanbul, Turkey
Mostly known as ‘ jack of all trades’ among his friends and colleagues, Selimcan, tries to find the golden mean between his emotional side and his straight rationality. He received his B.S and M.S. in Chemical & Biological Engineering at Koc University. He is now exploring Sociology of M.A at Istanbul Sehir University, as a research assistant in Center for Urban Studies, Istanbul. In addition to being a Cancer (just having it as an astrological sign), he studies Sociology of Cancer (yes, this is the illness one), mainly focusing on socio-spatial analysis of cancer incidences. He is the founder of Sehir Volunteer Society. Also today he professionally (quite emotionally!) works for Doctors Worldwide as the project manager of various medical aid programs in Africa and Arabian Peninsula. He loves children and having three of them is among his future dreams (as Prime Minister Erdoğan, strongly suggested!). Trusting on his critical observations rather than the books, he loves to experience (and google) different academic fields (areas) such as sociology of sports, social complexity, neuroscience, body-mind-society relations, and urban data analysis. He is interested in football to the extent that he studies it both theoretically and practically. He used to focus on socio-historical shifts of Istanbul stadiums from modern to post-modern era. What’s more, he is a fan of Besiktas J.K, one of the oldest football clubs of Istanbul, Turkey. To sum up, he has joined “Youthful Cities” project, strongly believing that Istanbul has an extremely exciting potential waiting to be discovered by the youth of the world.
Jeremy Tran – Shanghai, China
Born in Vietnam to a Chinese family and brought up in the U.S., Jeremy believes that advocating cross-cultural awareness is part of his life calling. He enjoys interlacing various disciplines into his way of working to deliver well-rounded results. He is an intransigent advocate for inclusive community development. In Portland, Oregon – a Steering Committee Member at World Affairs Council of Oregon, a Community Organizer at Center for Intercultural Organizing, Visioning Committee Member at City of Beaverton, Oregon. In Costa Rica, he worked with Municipality of San Jose to organize Arts for the City project and Community Cleaning Day. Along with holding a series of community leadership positions, he also has possessed experience in coordinating programs at UNESCO – Vietnam and developed part of an agency-wide initiative at Mercy Corps. During his studies at University College London, he conducted in-depth research on London, Mekelle – Ethiopia, and Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam, exploring ways to improve their urban development strategies. He believes the YouthfulCities Initiative is opportune to enabling Shanghai to become a better city.