ÖZLEM O. VAROGLU, Abu Dhabi & Istanbul


IREM AYAN, Vancouver



Inna Branzburg, Tel Aviv

Inna Branzburg is a Master Candidate in City and Regional Planning at Pratt institute. Her research areas and interests focused on community-based planning, economic development, urban design, and integration of refugees in urban areas. Inna participated in the Community Planning Fellowship program of the Fund for the City of New York (FCNY) and worked at Brooklyn Community Board 8 on community and economic development issues, identifying strategies to prevent businesses displacement and promote sustainable growth and neighborhood revitalization. Inna holds a Bachelor Degree in Interior, Building, and Environment Design from Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel. After her graduation, she was hired as a project manager under the supervision of the CEO. In her work, she practiced interior design and managed several constructions projects. Inna is passionate about social justice and equality issues and has a background in community organizing through her experiences as the chairwoman of the Student Union at her College and as a board member of The National Union of Israeli Students.


Sarah Watling, Washington, DC

Sarah Watling works at Perkins Eastman DC Architects in Washington, DC, on The Wharf, a large-scale project designed to achieve LEED Neighborhood Design certification. Before joining this project, Sarah practiced research, development and design both domestically and internationally for over 15 years. Her training in art history, environmental policy and planning, and landscape architecture enable a unique big-picture perspective. Passionate about sustainability, her projects have included master planning ecotourism infrastructure in Central and South America, regional sustainable economic policy modeling and implementation, research and evidence-based sustainable land reclamation in sub-Saharan Africa, therapeutic landscapes , and sustainable revitalization of fragmented urban cores. Her interest areas are the prioritization of community-based strategies in sustainable urbanization, specifically resiliency; building rural-urban linkages in response to economic, environmental and population pressures; and the power of public art as mediator between ecology, economics and society. She has presented her work to the Federal Appalachian Regional Commission and the International Federation of Landscape Architects World Congress and volunteers regularly with AIA Women in Architecture, the District Architecture Center and on various public art installations.


Feyzan Erkip, Munich

Feyzan Erkip received her Ph.D. from the Department of City and Regional Planning, METU. Her professional experience includes appointments as research assistant at the Department of Building Science and Environmental Design, METU, as researcher, at the Building Research Institute, TUBITAK before joining the Department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design of Bilkent University where she worked between 1990 and 2013. Her publications appeared in various journals including Environment and Planning A, Cities, European Urban and Regional Research, Environment and Behavior, Jr. of Environmental Psychology and Third World Planning Review. She is a member of the editorial board of Cities. She carried out research at NYU-Poly during 2011-2012 and at Tilburg University during 2003-2004 academic years as a visiting professor. She received URBAN-NET, Middle East Research Competition and TUBITAK research awards.


Roxana Zyman, Rotterdam

Roxana Zyman, PhD, has been employed by the National School of Public Administration of Poland since 2010. She conducted and supervised international projects, training programs and studies on public administration issues. She was a consultant to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, where she worked on sustainable urbanization and development. She was instrumental in the preparation of the UN Forum on Sustainable Urbanization in the Information Age (New York, 2008) and she was part of teams who organized other UN conferences in New York, Kuala Lumpur and Geneva. She co-edited the United Nations book "Sustainable Urbanization in the Information Age" (2008) and contributed to other UN books. She was an expert in international affairs for the Office of the President of Romania, working as a civil servant, and also served as a diplomat of Romania to the United Nations in New York. Roxana Zyman holds a Master in Public Administration from the State University of New York, Albany, NY, USA, a Master in International Relations from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Bucharest, Romania. She was a recipient of a Ron Brown Fellowship (US Department of State).


Leylac Naqvi, Singapore

Leylac Naqvi has worked with nonprofit organizations in Kenya, Pakistan, and Singapore, where she is currently based. Her professional experience has been to a large extent international and cross-cultural in nature, involving collaboration and coordination with diverse groups of stakeholders. She has worked to develop and support programs in the areas of human rights and gender, and in several other areas. She holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a B.A. magna cum laude in International Relations from Mount Holyoke College. Living in Asia for nearly a decade has exposed her to the rapid processes of urbanization and the direct impact these have on people’s quality of life.


Anamaria Vrabie, Bucharest

Anamaria Vrabie is an urban economist and local development professional. In the past 8 years Anamaria consolidated organizations and new modes of action for urban and regional development practice in Romania, acting as co-founder for the Creative Room NGO and the start-up MKBT: Make Better. Her work has led to urban development plans, concepts and frameworks for urban regeneration, educational programmes and new funding mechanisms for the cultural sector. She holds a BA from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest and an MA in International Affairs as a Fulbright Scholar at The New School New York. She is a member of several international networks, including Global Shapers of the World Economic Forum and BUILD of the German Marshall Fund.


Özlem Oktar Varoğlu, Abu Dhabi & Istanbul

Özlem Oktar Varoğlu has a bachelor degree in City and Regional Planning in Middle East Technical University in Turkey and started her Master Studies in San Jose State University and received Master of Science in Urban Planning from Middle East Technical University. After graduation, her work and interests focused on urban living, and integration of culture in urbanized areas. Between 1988-1994 Oktar-Varoglu has worked for the Municipality of Ankara as an Arts and Cultural Director of the city where she has directed many events and supported different forms of art. Between 1995 and 2003 She has worked at Strateji-Mori Research Company, as an Director of Urban Strategies and Large Scale Research Projects including studies on women, housing and youth. Her interest in music, organization and corporate communications led her to found Jazz Society of Turkey in 1995. She has been organizing events and festivals where she curates and makes the communication plans of the events. She is dividing her time in US, UAE and Turkey and helping in preparing and executing Corporate Communications plan for Consortium of Sustainable Urbanization.


Javiera Rubio Botto, Chile

Javiera Rubio holds a Master of Public Administration and Policy, specializing in International Development Policy and Management, from New York University and a professional degree in Geography from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Her research interests focus on local governance, segregation and inequality, and sustainable development in Latin American cities. In 2018, she collaborated with UN-Habitat’s New York Liaison office as a programme assistant intern and with the United Nations Capital Development Fund as a graduate consultant to evaluate the role of local governments as means of implementation in promoting, accelerating and localizing the 2030 Agenda. In Chile, between 2012-2017, she worked as a research consultant and project coordinator for research centers at universities.


Irem Ayan, Vancouver

Irem Ayan is volunteering at CSU where she has gained invaluable experience. As a freelance conference interpreter, she is undertaking tasks in local governance, city planning and urbanization-related issues. Currently course-complete, she is pursuing her Ph.D. Degree in Translation Studies as a Fulbright Scholar at State University of New York at Binghamton where she is also teaching French and lecturing on theories of translation. Her Ph.D. research is focused on the intersection between translation and Gender Studies. She has majored in French Language and Literature at Hacettepe University (Turkey), mastered in Conference Interpretation (English-French-Turkish) at Institut Libre Marie Haps in Brussels, and undergone extensive training within a number of international organizations such as the UN, NATO, EU and Eurocontrol. She has previously worked as a staff interpreter within the Foreign Relations Department of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality as well as a freelancer for the UN and the EU.