2017 Global Student Delegation

The Global Student Delegation is comprised of graduate students from the world’s leading research universities. In addition to special programming for the delegation, these students act as full forum delegates and have the opportunity to convene with the world's leading thinkers to raise and answer provocative questions, develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges, and leave inspired with ideas to advance their cities. We are excited to introduce this year's selection of students.

Saeb Ahsan is pursuing a MPP at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.  Saeb is a fellow with the Pearson Institute for the Study of Resolution of Global Conflict and his research focuses on global city collaboration.  He holds a BSc in finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed a Fulbright Fellowship at Koç University in Turkey. He is also a founding member of the Chicago Steering Committee for the Muslim Public Affairs Council and an associate editor and secretary for the Interfaith Dialogue at the University of Chicago.

Olawale Akogun is pursuing a PhD in urban and regional planning at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria.  His research focuses on the influence of road infrastructure and taxi driver behavior on road crashes in Ibadan.  He holds a MSc in sustainable planning and transport from the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom and a BSc in geography from the University of Ibadan. Most recently he worked as a project analyst, focusing on economic development at the Kwara Public Private Partnership Bureau.

Omar Almahdy is pursuing a PhD in architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology.  His research focuses on walkability and urban design in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with the goal of understanding how roads, infrastructure, and automobile systems have influence the shape of the modern urban patter of the city. He holds a MArch from the University of Waterloo in Canada and a BSc in architecture from the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia.
Inna Amesheva is pursuing a PhD in law at The University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong.  Her research focuses on examining the interconnection between climate change, sustainable development, and poverty alleviation in light of newly-concluded international treaties on the topic. She holds a Law LLB from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom and also works as an associate at SuperCharger FinTech Accelerator in Hong Kong.

Mustafa Kemal Baran is pursuing a PhD in archaeology and history of art at Koç University in Turkey.  His thesis, “Between Place, Archaeology, and Memory: Heritage of Classical Antiquity in Turkey,” explores the history of archaeological practice and the development of heritage in classical Turkish antiquity. He holds a MA in classical archaeology from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom as well as a MA in history of architecture and a BSc in industrial design from the Middle East Technical University in Turkey.

Pasinee Bhavilai is pursuing a MBA at the Liautaud Graduat School of Business at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on the expansion of medical expertise and innovation throughout international markets for improved healthcare outcomes and efficacy.  Specifically she looks at the growth of international demand for innovative medical products in South America. She holds a double BSc in marketing and Spanish from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Godwin Festival Boateng is pursuing a PhD in urban studies at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University in Australia.  His research explores the socio-political-economic causes of urban vulnerability to incidents of building collapse and seeks to contribute to building safe and sustainable cities. He holds a MSc in global studies and international develoment from Roskilde University in Denmark and a BA in sociology and social work from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana.

Rachel Brain is pursuing a MSc in city design and social science at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom.  Her research focuses on the interdisciplinary study of city design and development, with a focus on environmentally sustainable cities and a dissertation topic related to sustainable urban food policies.  She holds a BArts Sc (honours) from McMaster University in Canada where her senior thesis explored the intersection of politics and power dynamics within architecture and urban planning.

Hector Carcel Villanova is pursuing a PhD in economics at the University of Navarra in Spain and he is also a researcher at the Navarra Center for International Development.  His research focuses on macroeconomic stability and economic growth in developing regions.  He holds a MSc in economics and finance as well as a BSc in economics also from the University of Navarra. He has worked with economist SØren Johansen at Copenhagen University as a visiting scholar and completed an internship at the International Monetary Fund.

Ronel Constantin is pursuing a MArch at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  His research focuses on the de-territorialization of urban polity to promote social equity and ecnomic sustainabiltiy.  He holds a BFA in interior design from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida.

Mariamawit Fikreselassie is pursuing a MA in public managment and policy at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.  Her research focuses on public sector investement for the development of small enterprises in urban centers. She holds a BA in public administration and develoment management from Addis Ababa University as well -where she currently acts as an assistant lecturuer teaching urban governance, itnernaitonal relations, public policy, and public management.

Heinrich Jacques Geldenhuys is pursuing a PhD in industrial engineering at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.  His research focuses on sustainable transitioning of socio-technical infrastructure networks in South African cities.  He holds a MEng in engineering management and a BEng in civil engineering both from Stellenbosch as well.  He is an accredited professional with the Green Building Council of South Africa.
Ori Gershon is pursuing a MA in urban planning at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.  Her research focuses on the politics behind the community gardens of Ethiopian immigrants to Israel.  She holds a BS in geography and environmental development also from Ben Gurion.

Catherine Gilbert is pursuing a PhD in urban planning at the University of Sydney in Australia.  Her research focuses on how regulatory processes governing land use and development impact rates, patterns, quality, and affordability of new housing.  She holds a MURP from the University of Sydney, a MA from King’s College London, and a BA from Queen’s University in the Canada.

Jascha Grübel is pursuing a MSc in science, technology and policy at ETH Zürich in Switzerland.  His research focuses on how spatial cognition knowledge can be used in policy-making processes, specifically in the development of the former Tanjong Pagar Port into a core urban district of Singapore. He holds a MSc and BSc in computer science from ETH Zürich as well.

Zoë Henderson is pursuing a PhD in science, technology, engineering, and public policy at University College London in the United Kingdom.  Her research focuses on the implementation of circular economy strategies in the built environment. She explores how businesses need to adapt and improve in order to demonstrate the cost benefits of more sustainable, long term, and potentially unorthodox propositions. They will then capture values such as diversity, health, and happiness in public commissions.  She holds a MEng in civil engineering from the University of Bath.
Anan Maalouf is pursuing a MA regional and urban planning studies at the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) in Israel.  His research focuses on exploring the typologies of the urban virtual form of the contemporary digitized order.  He holds a BA degree in political science from Haifa University in Israel and is the co-founder of “Nazareth the Magical City,” a local social project connecting young people and civic administrators in Nazareth.

Javiera F Macaya is pursuing a MS in public administration and government at Fundação Getulio Vargas in Brazil.  Her research focuses on the agenda-setting process in smart cities through an analysis of multilateral agency funding. In her work she looked specifically at a smart city in Brazil participating in the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative funded by the Inter-American Development Bank. She holds a BA in public policy management from the University of São Paulo in Brazil. 

Nishtha Manocha is pursuing a PhD in civil and environmental engineering at the National University of Singapore in Singapore.  Her research focuses on integrating sustainble practices into the framework of urban development in the water, energy, and climate domain, specifically under uncertainty.  Specifically she aims to bridge the gap between highly uncertain and long-term climate change and short-term decision-making horizons of urban planning and development.  She holds a MSc in hydraulic engineering and water resource management from the National University of Singapore as well as a BSc in chemical engineering from the Manipal Institute of Technology in India.

Matias Murillo Gutiérrez is pursuing a MBA in strategic corporate finance at the EGADE Business School at Tecnológico de Monterrey in México.  His interest in global cities relates to how immigration and diversity in global cities will bring changes in the economy, policies, and other areas that will need to be adapted to meet new demands for inclusivity.  He holds a BSc in civil and industrial engineering with a concentration in transportation from Pontifical Catholic University in Chile.

Purity Muthoni is pursuing a PhD in environmental sustainability at Kenyatta University in Kenya.  Her research focuses on the environmental sustainability of urban upgrading programs in Kenyan cities. The rationale of the study is that urban upgrading programs provide a resourceful space where sustainability of cities can be realized. She holds a MSc and BSc in environmental planning and management from Kenyatta University as well.

Magnus Pang is pursuing a MSc in international political economy at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.  His research focuses on the political economy of e-commerce in ASEAN countries. In particular, he explores the proper management of expectations regarding increasing urbanization especially related to rising affluence to lessen the chances of social tension developing and eventually disrupting economic growth. He holds a BA in communication studies from Nanyang Technological University as well.

Sasha Pierson is pursuing a MSc in economics and policy analysis at DePaul University.  Her research focuses on financial empowerment initiatives for low-income groups as a pathway out of poverty in order to create thriving urban economies. She works at the Social IMPACT Reseach Center, a branch of the non-profit Heartland Alliance.  She holds a double BA in ecnomics as well as sociology and french language and literature from the University of Washington. 
Sarah Rhee is pursuing a PhD in international studies at Seoul National University in Korea. Her research seeks to identify the effect of economic inequality on levels of social mobility between generations as well as intergenerational mobility. Specifically, her work looks at the effects of intergenerational inequality on political participation. She holds a MA in international studies from Seoul National University and a BA in international relations and political science from the University of British Columbia. 
Côme Salvaire is pursuing a PhD in political science with a focus on comparative political sociology at Sciences Po in France.  His research focuses on solid waste and the architecture of public action in Lagos, Mexico City, and Paris.  Specifically his work explores how the accumulation of waste and the ensuing implementation and development of management structures and innovative technologies has transformed institutional and political structures. He holds a MS degree in governing the large metropolis as well as a BA from Sciences Po as well.

Mathijs Schoenmakers is pursuing a MS in construction management and engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology in Netherlands.  His research focuses on smart cities, urban development, and smart mobility. His thesis specifically explores autonomous vehicles and infrastructure for the Dutch Road Authority. He is simultaneously pursuing a MS in urban studies and territorial management at the Instituto Superior Tecnico in Portugal. He holds a BSc in architecture, urbanism, and building engineering with a specialization in urban science and systems from Eindhoven University of Technology as well.

Michael Schumacher is pursuing a PhD in global politics at Loyola University Chicago.  His thesis, “Why They Fight: Comparing the Origins of Foreigners Fighting for the Islamic State” explores why ordinary people travel abroad to fight and potentially die for foreign causes and has implications for security in global cities. He holds a MA in politics and government and a double BS in both history and politics as well as government from the Illinois State University.

Qiujie Shi is pursuing a MS in human geography at Peking University in China.  Her research focuses on social inequalities in global cities and the distinctiveness of Chinese global cities. Specifically her work is a comparative study of social inequalities in global cities worldwide and the roles that central authorities can play to reduce these inequalities. She holds a double BA in urban planning and economics from Peking University as well.

Kadek Wara Urwasi is pursuing a PhD in sociology at Northwestern University.  Her research focuses on constructing a global “right to the city” and the cultural power and diffusion as an urban development model. Her work spans urban, cultural, and transnational sociology.  She holds a MArch in urban design from the School of Planning and Architecture in India and a BArch from the University of Udayana in Indonesia.

Beatrice Walthall is pursuing a PhD in urban geography at Humboldt-Universität Berlin in Germany.  Her research focuses on revealing civic actions in changing urban food governance with the aim of meeting a growing demand for food as well as inclusion in times of burgeoning urbanization. She holds a MA in urban geography from Humboldt-Universität Berlin as well as a BSc in human geography and sociology from the University of Postdam in Germany.

Mingpu Xiao is pursuing a MS of law in political science at Nanjing University in China.  His research focuses on comparative political culture and democratic transition and in particular the protection of disadvantaged groups’ rights to personal property and real estate. He holds a graduate certificate in international studies from the Johns Hopkins University – Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies as well as a BA of economics from the Beijing Institute of Technology in China.

Maria Xylia is pursuing a PhD in energy technology at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.  Her research focuses on the introduction of electric buses into public transport systems for cost-efficiency and decreased emissions and energy consumption. She holds a MSc in sustainable energy engineering from KTH Royal Institute of Technology as well as a MSc in mechanical engineering from the University of Patras in Greece.