Speakers will be drawn from internationally-renowned experts; academics;  national stakeholders; Implementing Agencies; donors; community members from project locations
Speakers’ profiles are featured below:

Mr. Anurag Srivasta
Director (Finance), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India

After obtaining degrees in engineering and business management, and following a brief stint in the corporate sector, Mr. Anurag Srivastava joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1999. He was posted to India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva where he handled work related to human rights, refugees and trade policy. Upon his return to headquarters, he worked for a year as desk officer in the Division handling India’s relations with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran and then with the spokesperson of the Ministry responsible for its interface with the media for three years. Mr. Anurag Srivastava obtained a post graduate diploma in Diplomatic Studies from the University of Oxford during a sabbatical. In his last overseas assignment, Mr. Srivastava headed the Political Wing at the Indian High Commission in Colombo. Along with his other responsibilities in this position, he was closely involved in formulation and implementation of India’s bilateral assistance projects, including the Indian Housing Project.

Presently as Director (Finance) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Mr. Srivastava heads the finance function which administers the Ministry’s annual budget of USD 2 billion.  As more than half of this budget is directed towards supporting India’s development partnership projects all over the world, he is tasked with not only managing their financial flows, but also their monitoring and oversight.

Auroville Earth Institute

Represented by:
Mr. Satprem Maïni

Satprem Maïni is a French postgraduate architect in earthen architecture and he lives in Auroville, India, since 1989. He is the director of the Auroville Earth Institute, where he works as an architect, builder, consultant, researcher, trainer and lecturer. He has worked in 36 countries for promoting earth architecture. Satprem and his team have trained more than 9,700 people from 78 countries on earth architecture and technology. Satprem is the Representative for Asia of the UNESCO Chair “Earthen Architecture” and he is an occasional consultant of the United Nations. He specialised with building arches, vaults and domes as well as disaster resistance. Satprem has been granted 13 awards: 2 international and 11 Indian Awards.

Ms. Lara Davis
Lara Davis is an architect, structural mason, and faculty member at the Auroville Earth Institute, India, UNESCO Chair of Earthen Architecture.  She holds a BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics and an M.Arch from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she studied structural design for thin-shell masonry vaulting.  She has pursued research in structural masonry and appropriate building technologies at the Institute for Lightweight Structures (Germany), the BLOCK Research Group, ETH Zürich (Switzerland), and the Future Cities Laboratory (Singapore), and has been the recipient of multiple international research awards.  She has worked professionally as a mason, foreman, architect, junior engineer, and project manager, leading constructions and teaching workshops in India, Algeria, Ethiopia, Switzerland, UK, and USA.

Basin-South Asia
Represented by:

Ms Mona Chhabra
Trained as an architect, Mona holds a Bachelor’s degree from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi and a Master’s degree from the Development Planning Unit of University College London.
In the last fifteen years she has worked extensively on various issues in relation to access to quality housing by the rural poor in both development and disaster contexts. She has extensively been engaged in policy research and has contributed towards national policy development for rural housing and habitat in India as part of relevant Working Groups of the Government of India. She is currently pursuing a Doctoral Degree at Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi on “Reducing disaster vulnerability of social housing schemes -a case of rural habitations in India”

Mr. David Evans
Settlements Recovery Unit Leader, Settlements Recovery Unit Leader , UN-Habitat, Nairobi

David Evans is UN-Habitat’s Emergency Director for Syria and the Regional Refugee Crisis in addition to being UN-Habitat’s Settlement Recovery Unit Leader, based at Quarters in Nairobi, Kenya. David has nearly 30 years’ experience in Housing, Human Settlements, Development and Post-Emergency Reconstruction. From 2006 – 2008, as the Chief Technical Advisor for UN-Habitat Sri Lanka, David led the Post-Tsunami Housing Reconstruction Cluster which supported the reconstruction of over 100,000 houses. He was also responsible for the coordination of 500+NGO/INGOs responding to the Tsunami from 2005 – 2006 under the Centre for National Operations and UN-OCHA. From 2009-2012, David Co-Chaired the Shelter and Housing Group on Post-Conflict Reconstruction, which supported housing reconstruction efforts in Sri Lanka’s conflict affected Northern and Eastern Provinces. David holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Housing from the London School of Economics where he also conducted his PhD Research 1997-2005.

Mr.  Disa Weerapana
former Director, Regional Office for Asia Pacific , United Nations Human Settlements Programme

Disa Weerapana is a senior professional counting over 40 years national and international experience in human settlements planning and development.

Prior to his joining the United Nations Human Settlements Programme as a specialist in housing in 1989, he was a senior member of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS), holding positions such as the Commissioner of National Housing, Director, Planning of the Ministry of Housing and Construction and the Secretary, State Ministry of Construction. In these positions he contributed to the conceptual development of the Million Housing Programme, which pioneered a major policy shift from conventional direct delivery to support based housing, de-regularisation of the heavily regulated housing sector, promote private sector housing industry in Sri Lanka and improve the supply of mortgage finance to housing through reorganization of the State Mortgage Bank, and the creation of the Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) replicating the institutional model of the successful HDFC Bombay, India.

In his capacity as a professional staff member of UN-Habitat, he held the positions of Programme Coordinator of Global Support Programme for Development of National Shelter Strategies implemented under the United Nations Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 (GSS), Coordinator of the World Bank/UN-Habitat Housing and Urban Indicators programme for performance measurement of the sector. He was also Head of the Asia and Pacific Unit of the Technical Cooperation Division and thereafter as the Regional Director of UN-Habitat Office for Asia Pacific Office in Japan. In the last two positions, he was responsible for managing the UN-Habitat’s technical cooperation programme, provided technical advisory services and assisted in the formulation of national and regional projects and programmes for addressing key issues of housing and urban development in countries articulating the principles of the Habitat Agenda of the United Nations. Following his retirement in 2002, he has worked as an International consultant providing technical advisory services to UN-Habitat, UNDP, UNICEF, DFID, Asian Development Bank, The World Bank and GTZ in diverse areas of his competence such as project and programme development, monitoring, output to purpose review, urban poverty reduction, institutional development, formulation of national housing policies, and recovery and reconstruction after disasters.

H.E. Mr. David Daly
Ambassador and Head of Delegation, of the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives

H.E. Mr. David Daly is Ambassador and Head of Delegation, of the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Ambassador Daly commenced this role in 2013. Ambassador Daly has worked in the external relations of the EU service for over 20 years including as EU Ambassador to Australia (2009-2013), a posting in Budapest (1996-2000), as a trade negotiator (1991-1996) where, inter alia, he had served on a standing disputes settlement and notification panel at the WTO in Geneva (Textiles Monitoring Body). On joining the European Commission, he worked first in Agricultural policy (1989-1991). Previously, he served in the Irish Diplomatic Service.

Ambassador Daly has obtained a Masters Degree in Economic Science (European Studies) from Trinity College in Dublin University (1987); an Honours degree in Bachelor of Public Administration from University College Dublin (1984), and Graduate Membership of the Institute of Personnel Management, London (1984). He recently followed an Executive Management course in Leadership at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Dr. Dinesh Kanagaratnam
National Director, Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka

Dr. Dinesh has 15 years of senior management experience in corporate and non-profit sectors, including Banking, Finance and Internal Audit, Project Management, Disaster Response, Rehabilitation, and Development. He has worked with Netherlands-headquartered ZOA Refugee Care, Stromme Microfinance Asia Guarantee Limited, backed by Norway’s Stromme Foundation, Rome-headquartered International Development Law Organization, EU Funded Asia Invest Financing Development project, among others. Before joining Habitat for Humanity he was the chief operating officer of VisionFund Lanka where he oversaw 24 project offices.  He holds a PHD in Microfinance.

Under Dinesh’s leadership, HFH Sri Lanka is committed to building communities, homes and hope with families in need.

Ms. Eleanor J Parker
Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF) & Coventry University

El has been a researcher and lecturer in Disaster Management at Coventry University for 14 years, in which time she has undertaken numerous research, consultancy projects and research student supervisions associated with UK emergency management and International disaster risk reduction. Most recently she co-ordinated Coventry University’s contribution to hosting the Building and Social Housing Foundation Conference “Looking Back at Reconstruction: The need for a longer term approach in housing” in January 2014. She is also co-author along with Theo Schilderman of BSHF of the forthcoming book “Still Standing? Looking Back at Reconstruction and Disaster Risk Reduction in Housing” published by Practical Action Publishing.

An engineering geologist by background with a PhD in Climate Change her particular interests are community adaptive resilience to the impacts of acute hazards & climate change particularly the relationship between pre-disaster social capital, preparedness and post disaster recovery. She also has an interest in the development and implementation of effective early warning systems and the associated challenges of risk communication and raising awareness, targeting effectively and developing bespoke information in a participatory way prior to W&I the public. She is currently Associate Head of Department prior to which she was course director for undergraduate and research degrees in disaster management at Coventry. She is a member of the UK Government National Steering Committee for Warning and Informing the Public.

Co-author of this paper, Theo Schilderman is a senior researcher at BSHF, consultant and lecturer. He is a Dutch architect with 40 years of experience in low-income housing and post-disaster reconstruction who has worked for Practical Action, COOPIBO and the IHS in the past, both in developing countries and in management. He was the editor, with Michal Lyons, of Building Back Better in 2010.

Field Perspectives: Housing Reconstruction in a Post-Emergency Setting
Five participants from the Northern Province offer different perspectives on housing reconstruction in a post-emergency setting. The participants are: Mr. N Vedanayahan, District Secretary, Mullativu, Sinnavan Susi Homeowner, Sinnarasa Sivakunalan and Sivakunalan Thevajini both homeowners and A.H.M. Jezeer, Deputy Project Manager, UN-Habitat, Sri Lanka

N Vedanayahan,
District Secretary, Mullativu

Mr N Vedanayahan joined the Sri Lankan administrative service in 1991. He served as Assistant Government Agent at the Divisional Secretariat, Jaffna for more than 10 years.  He has also served as Additional District Secretary and Government Agent in Kilinochchi District for more than 6 years. He was appointed to the Divisional Secretary, Mannar as Government Agent for ten months before he was appointed to Mullaitivu Divisional Secretary, where he is serving now. Mr N Vedanayahan has completed his SLAS (Special Grade), BSc (Jaffna) and MPA (Sri Jayawardanapura).

Ms. Sinnavan Susi
Homeowner from the ‘Support to Conflict Affected People through Housing’ Project, Mulliwaikal East, Mullaitivu

Susi is a household head and has three children. Her family was displaced in 2009 and lived in Manik Farm until 2010. Her family resettled in May 2010 back to their own village. The family’s main source of income is selling dry fish. She was assisted with a permanent house by UN-Habitat in March 2013.

Mr. Sinnarasa Sivakunalan and Mrs. Sivakunalan Thevajini,
Homeowners from Akkaraayanklam Centre, Kilinochchi

Sinnarasa Sivakunalan and Sivakunalan Thevajen’s family of 5 consists of three children under the age of 12 all of whom are attending school. The family was displaced in June 2008 and was resettled in May 2010. Sinnarasa Sivakunalan works as a labourer and Sivakunalan Thevajen is involved in home gardening.

Mr. A H M Jezeer,
Deputy Project Manager, UN-Habitat, Sri Lanka

Jezeer has 10 years of experience in the humanitarian and development sectors in Sri Lanka. Jezeer has first-hand experience in the application of the owner-driven approach in housing projects in both post-tsunami and post-conflict humanitarian intervention. This includes designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating donor funded projects. He has conducted two academic research papers titled ‘Disputes Arising out of Permanent Housing Project in the context of Post-Tsunami resettlement in the Ampara District’ and ‘Multi Level Factors that affects Livelihood Diversification in the Post-War Setting’. He holds a MA in Development Studies and Public Policy, PGD in Conflict Resolution and Peace Preparedness from University of Bradford and BA in Sociology from South Eastern University of Sri Lanka.

Mr. Guido de Vries
Country Director, ZOA

Guido J. de Vries is the country director of ZOA, Sri Lanka. His experience in the NGO sector includes three years as Manager General Affairs, ZOA South Sudan and six years as Country Director, ZOA Uganda. He started his career in the private sector in the international automotive sector before a career change to the international development field.
Mr. H. M. Dayananda
General Manager, Real Estate Exchange Pvt. Ltd.

Mr. Dayananda is an Urban Planner by profession, practicing in housing and human settlement sector who has over 25 years’ experience. He has specialized in the area of urban housing and community development.

He has served in government sector agencies including the Urban Development Authority and National Housing Development Authority, as well as on Urban Settlement Improvement Project as a senior official. He is presently the General Manager of the Real Estate Exchange (Pvt) Ltd under the Ministry of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities.

Hina Zaidi
Senior Architect, Heritage Foundation, Pakistan

Architect Hina Zaidi is a Senior Architect at Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, where she has been working since June 2012. Heritage Foundation is a non-for-profit social and cultural entrepreneur organization. At Heritage Foundation like all its employees she has been engaged in research, publication and training for heritage management and DRR-compliant methodologies.

She was also the project coordinator for HF-IOM “Women centered Community Based Disaster Risk Management Strategy”. A 7-Village pilot project, where a committee of women was trained in several aspects of Disaster Preparedness. She has been involved in the HF’s ParhoPakistan Program. This program is a word recognition program to create an interest in literacy for Village children, in order for them to continue their education in Government Schools. At Heritage Management she has played a vital role in the Cataloguing and Recording of the Heritage Assets of World Heritage Site, Makli Necropolis.

Hina Zaidi holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from National College of Arts, Lahore. For her working in the development sector has shown a side of architecture practice that was not taught in college. Her work experience has taught her that an architect is truly a builder, a builder of hopes and homes, lives and livelihoods while keeping the morale and spirits high.

Institute of Construction Training and Development (ICTAD)

Anura Dassanayake

Dhammika Gunawardene
Director/Industrial Training

Plnr. I. S. Weerasoori
DRR Project Manager, UN-Habitat, Sri Lanka

I.S Weerasoori is an Urban Planner with thirty years of experience with the Urban Development Authority, where she was the Deputy Director General (Planning). Ms Weerasoori ’s experience includes preparation of development plans and working on town planning projects across Sri Lanka. Ms Weerasoori joined UN-Habitat in 2012 as the Project Manager, Disaster Risk Reduction and has overseen the development of this unit to roll out the resilient city Programme across three districts. Ms Weerasoori is a Fellow Member and President Elect of the Institute of Town Planners Sri Lanka.  Ms Weeraoori has been appointed as a member of the advisory committee of the Cities and Climate Change Initiative (CCCI), UN-Habitat and she is also visiting lecture and Faculty Member of the University of Moratuwa. Ms Weerasoori has a M.Sc in Urban Development from the University of London.

Mr. Jaime Royo-Olid
Programme Manager – Infrastructure and Reconstruction, European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Jaime Royo-Olid has been Programme Manager for Infrastructure and Reconstruction at European Union Delegations since 2006. In Sri Lanka he oversees EU-funded ‘Home-Owner Driven’ programmes amounting to 10,000 housing units implemented by UN-Habitat and by INGOs Arbeiter Samariter Bund and ZOA, as well as social infrastructure projects with UNOPS. In Eritrea (2009-12), he supervised construction of a referral hospital for IDPs through UNDP and of 200 rural educational buildings implemented through the World Bank some built with local stone and mud mortar; at the EU-Delegation to Cape Verde (2006-08) he managed water and sanitation programmes, health centres and road construction with line ministries and private contractors, social housing (using soil-cement bricks) and slum-upgrading with NGOs.

Royo-Olid is a qualified architect (University of Cambridge) specialised in urban design (MIT School of Planning exchange), bioclimatic and low-cost incremental housing (CEPT University exchange), and a Technical Specialist in Human Settlements (UPM UNESCO Chair, ETSAM). He completed an MPhil in Development Studies while a research assistant on Sustainable Humane Habitat in Developing Contexts (University of Cambridge). His development career began in 2004 as volunteer coordinator of Architecture Sans Frontières-International and, thereafter, with NGO Architecture & Dévelopement as project architect for post-tsunami housing reconstruction with local appropriate technologies for a Dalit village in South India, which enabled owner-led incremental growth of houses. He founded Cambridge University European Union Society (1999-2012), Architecture Sans Frontières-UK (2003), and contributed to establishing of the Cambridge Humanitarian Centre (2006).

Mr. Jan Meeuwissen
Senior Manager, UN-Habitat HQ – Nairobi, Kenya

Mr Jan Meeuwissen is the Senior Manager, UN-Habitat Nairobi. He has also been the Senior Human Settlements Officers at the UN-Habitat Fukuoka Office, which is the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. He has had responsibility for the coordination for UN-Habitat development projects in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar Timor-Leste. Mr Meeuwissen has worked for UN-Habitat since 1982.  He is from the Netherlands and has a Master’s Degree in Architecture and Urban Planning at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands.

Khyati Halani
All India Disaster Management Institute, Ahmedabad

Mr. Kirtee Shah

Dr. Kirtee Shah is a founder director of Ahmedabad Study Action Group (ASAG) a public charitable trust, for past 35 years. He was the president of Habitat International Coalition, worlds largest coalition of Habitat Professionals working on issues of housing rights and sustainable urban development, for 10 years; founder President of India Habitat Forum (INHAF) with over 200 members across the country; one of the founders of Ashoka Innovator for the public, which now works in 45 countries of the world. He is an active member in Asian Coalition of Housing Rights (ACHR) in Thailand and CityNet in Japan. He is a founder Chairman of HOLSAA – Home Losers’ Service Association in Ahmedabad, following the Gujarat Earthquake. He has written several papers on people’s rights on housing, Earthquake Policy and Riverfront Development in Ahmedabad. He is also a practicing architect and Chairman of KSA Design Planning Services P. Ltd.

Mr. Lalith Lankatilleke
Senior Human Settlements Officer, UN-Habitat

Lalith Lankatilleke is an Architect-Planner by profession, with over 38 years of experience in the fields of people’s development. He has been with UN-Habitat for 34 years working in several countries in Africa and Asia. He is credited with championing the People’s Process of development through innovative approaches placing people at the centre of decision making in planning and development. In Sri Lanka (1984-89), he was responsible for the design of the Urban Housing Sub-programme of the world renowned Million Houses Programme. He developed community decision-making methods like, Community Action Planning, Community Building Guidelines and Rules, Community Contracting and many others. In Namibia, (1992), he designed the Build Together National Housing Programme. He introduced the People’s Process of Housing to South Africa in 1995. Since then he has worked for UN-Habitat in Bangladesh and Afghanistan as the head of the agency. In 2005 following the Indian Ocean tsunami, he played a pivotal role to empower the affected people to rebuild their lives and housing. Since 2006 he has been serving as Senior Human Settlement Officer in the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific of UN-Habitat in Fukuoka, Japan and is responsible for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He has also been teaching at major universities of the world.

Mr. Laxman Perera
Deputy Country Programme Manager /Human Settlement Officer, UN-Habitat– Myanmar

Laxman Perera is a Human Settlement Officer and the Deputy Country Manager to UN Habitat Myanmar office. He has served five years as the Habitat Programme Manager for Sri Lanka. Prior to joining UN Habitat, he has served more than 22 years in the civil service of Sri Lanka and has held various senior positions in the development sectors in particularly urban sector. His Interest areas are Urban Planning, Urban Land Legislation and Governance, Urban Basic Services, Housing, Housing Finance and Slum Upgrading, Water and Sanitation, Disaster Risk Reduction, Post Disaster Recovery and Rehabilitation, Urban Economy, Research and Capacity Development. He holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations.

Dr. Matthew Barac
Architecture Programme Research Leader, London South Bank University and Chair – Board Of Architecture Sans Frontieres – UK

Matthew Barac is a senior lecturer in architecture at London South Bank University where he is the Architecture School’s research leader, a member of the Medical Architecture Research Unit, and an associate member of IDEARS: International Development, Emergency and Refugee Studies. He chairs the board of Architecture Sans Frontières, a UK charity that enhances the built environment sector’s contribution to humanitarian and development goals through education and debate. Drawing on a professional background in architecture which includes the delivery of public infrastructure in the context of poverty, his research explores the interplay between urban experience and development practice to consider new ways of theorising, designing, and constructing the built environment. A member of the editorial advisory board of Architecture & Culture, he regularly contributes to academic journals and books as well as writing for mainstream publications, and until recently was pedagogy correspondent for the Architectural Review. His PhD from Cambridge University won the RIBA President’s Award for Research (2007) and the International Bauhaus Award (2004).

Mr. Mihir R. Bhatt
All India Disaster Management Institute, Ahmedabad

Mohammad Rahman
National Project Manager, UN-Habitat, Afghanistan

Mr. Nandasiri Gamage
Women’s Bank

Mr. Peter Dalglish
Senior Advisor in Afghanistan, UN-Habitat

Peter Dalglish is the founder of Street Kids International, and is a leading authority on working children, street children, and war-affected children. He serves as the Country Representative for UN-Habitat in Afghanistan, leading a dedicated team of national and international staff to address some of the nation’s most urgent urban challenges.  Peter Dalglish graduated from Stanford University and Dalhousie Law School, Peter Dalglish organized an airlift of food and medical supplies from Canada, and then returned to Canada from Ethiopia to give up his profession to pursue a career alongside some of the world’s poorest children. He worked along Sudan’s border with Chad, with humanitarian relief for women and children displaced by drought and famine. In Khartoum in 1986, Peter Dalglish began the Sudan’s first vocational training school for street children, funded by Bob Geldof of Band Aid. In 1988 Peter Dalglish was selected by Junior Chamber International as one of the ten outstanding young people of the world. Inspired by the tenacity and ingenuity of kids society had written off, Peter Dalglish returned to Canada in 1987 to found Street Kids International. Between 1988 and 1990 Street Kids International in cooperation with the National Film Board of Canada developed Karate Kids, an animated film about HIV prevention; today the cartoon is in distribution in 25 languages and in over 100 countries, making it one of the largest initiatives for street children anywhere in the world. On account of the success of Karate Kids, in 1994 Street Kids International received the coveted Peter F. Drucker Award for Non-Profit Innovation.  In 1994 he was appointed as the first director of Youth Service Canada, the Government of Canada’s civilian volunteer youth corps. Peter Dalglish has served between 2002 and 2010 as the Chief Technical Adviser for the UN’s child labour program in Nepal, and the Executive Director of the South Asia Children’s Fund. He is a founding board Member of the Board of Directors of Ashoka Canada, and is the recipient of three honorary doctorate degrees, the Fellowship of Man Award, and the Dalhousie Law School Weldon Award for Public Service.

Piyal Ganepola
Deputy Project Manager, Programmes, UN-Habitat, Sri Lanka

Mr Ganepola is chartered Civil Engineer by profession, with a strong professional background and experience in the housing sector. He served as General Manager – National Housing Development Authority, Senior Consultant- Moratuwa University, Project Manager/Coordinator- German Development Corporation GiZ and The Asia Foundation and Member of Technical Advisory Committee of Disaster Management Center. He was a pioneering personality in the introduction of alternative technology concepts in Sri Lanka.

Practical Action
Represented by:    

Mr. Vasant Pullenayegem – Housing Consultant, Integrated Housing Services –Janathakshan
Practical Action/ Janathakshan in the past 25 years has gained much experience and wide expertise in responsible development including sustainable approaches to construction by its work in urban and rural contexts in Sri Lanka and South Asia. The organization embraced the adoption of appropriate construction technology in tropical Asia in 2003 with a pilot project in Nikaweratiya (North central province) adopting rat trap bond masonry and filler slab reinforced concrete roofs that had been widely used in south India. The resettlement of persons displaced by the tsunami was Practical Action’s initial experience in integratedbhousing resettlement using owner-driven participatory approaches.

P S M Charles
District Secretary, Baticaloa

Ms P S M Charles has a long and distinguished career in the Government with her two most recent appointments being the Government Agent and District Secretary for Vavuniya.

followed by her current position as the Government Agent and District Secretary for Batticaloa.  Whilst at both of these District Councils she has overseen significant changes and challenges. During her time in Vavuniya, the bulk of the internally displaced persons were located in that district.  More recently in Batticaloa she has overseen significant investment, growth and development. To demonstrate the breadth of her work, she has been involved from large scale investment projects through to livelihood assistance to war widows. P S M Charles has a keen interest in disaster risk reduction and improving the living environment for the citizens. P S M Charles has received many awards and recognition during her career.

Ms Rasika Mendis
Senior Research Specialist, World Vision

Rasika Mendis is a legal consultant specialising in socio-economic rights and rights-based policy development. Her post-graduate specialisation is in ‘Law and Development’ from the University of Warwick. In the recent past she has engaged in high-level analysis of legal and policy issues impacting key socio-economic sectors (such as housing, land, water and sanitation), and has contributed to key policy level forums for the formulation of rights based policy. She has previously worked as consultant to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and as a Senior Programme Officer at the Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions (previously Geneva based). She is currently Senior Research Specialist at World Vision Lanka (WVL), where she heads a research unit. The scope of her current work extends to both grass-roots development work and policy level challenges in the development sector, and the integration of appropriate responses through evidence-based research, advocacy and strategic partnerships with both government and non-governmental sectors.

Ms Sandra D’Urzo
Architect and Senior Officer of the Shelter Department,  IFRC, Geneva

Sandra D’Urzo is a Senior Officer with the Shelter and Settlements Department of the IFRC based in Geneva. She is the Focal Person for Shelter Risk Reduction and Recovery as well as being supporting post-disaster operations and shelter programmes in the Americas.

She is an architect whose work aims to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable. Prior to her humanitarian and development work, she collaborated with the international office of Mecanoo in the Netherlands to develop sustainable architecture and planning projects and ecologically sound building technologies. After completing her MA in Barcelona in 2001, she brought her skills to INGOs such as Architecture& Développement in El Salvador, East Timor, the Philippines, Afghanistan and Palestine as well as leading the shelter/housing response of Oxfam GB and GIZ in post-tsunami reconstruction in Sri Lanka. She is a much demanded lecturer by MIT, Harvard and universities in Paris, Rome and Barcelona and has extensively written on post-disaster reconstruction, architecture and human dignity.

Dr. Shailaja Fennell
Lecturer, Centre of Development Studies, University of Cambridge

Shailaja Fennell is a University Lecturer in Development Studies, at the University of Cambridge, based at the Centre of Development Studies, and a Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. She was awarded her degrees of BA, MA and MPhil in Economics from the University of Delhi, and then went on to read for her MPhil and PhD at the Faculty of Economics and Politics, University of Cambridge. Her earliest research work examined the long-term trends in cereal production in China and India. She was subsequently an international team leader researching public private partnerships in education as part of a DFID funded research consortium on educational outcomes and poverty (RECOUP) from 2005-10. Shailaja’s research interests include institutional reform, agricultural trends, gender and household dynamics, kinship and ethnicity, and comparative economic development. Her recent publications include Rules, rubrics and riches: the relationship between legal reform, institutional change and international development (2010) and Gender Education and Development: conceptual frameworks, engagements and agendas (2008).

Ms. Somsook Boonyabancha
Secretary-General of Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, Thailand

Somsook Boonyabancha, Secretary general of Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, a coalition of organizations working on urban poor housing development in Asia. She was former Director of Community Organizations Development Institute in Thailand. She was born in 1951 in Thailand and have her background study in Architecture from Chulalongkirn University in Thailand and from the Housing and Urbanization Course in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1978.

She has been working on urban poor housing development and slum upgrading in Thailand and in countries in Asia in the past 30 years (since 1977). Her particular experiences on community led housing development in the urban and in other community-led rural, development activities and disaster rehabilitation. During her CODI years, she implemented the national city-wide community upgrading implementing in almost 300 cities using community finance mechanism.

At present, she is working on ACHR’s current regional program on Asian Coalition for Community Action to support city-wide community-led upgrading and development in 165 Asian cities in 19 countries

Sri Lanka Women’s Development Services Cooperative Society Ltd (WOMEN’S COOP)

Rupa Manel Silva

Anoma Lalani Jayasinghe

Dr. Susil Sirivardena
Former Chairperson of the Housing Authority and Writer

Dr Sirivardana played key roles in the Million Houses Programme and the National Poverty Alleviation Programme (1980s and early 1990s). Dr Sirivardana has written extensively on Participatory Development Paradigm, critically reflecting on the success.

Dr. Vagisha Gunasekera              
CEPA (Centre for Poverty Analysis)

Vagisha Gunasekera received her PhD in political science from Purdue University, USA.  Her doctoral research focused on women’s empowerment in post-war settings. She has more than 8 years of research experience on post-conflict reconstruction, women and citizenship, and comparative social policy.  In the past 10 years, she has also worked on programme designing, project implementation, policy development and independent consultancies on issues of violence against women, reproductive rights of women, men, and youth, and women’s economic and legal empowerment, with non-governmental organizations and multilateral agencies.  At the Center for Poverty Analysis, she spearheads the Reimagining Development initiative and the post-conflict thematic.

Dr. Vijayaraghavan M Chariar
Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

Dr Vijayaraghavan M Chariar is a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. While Dr Chariar’s training is in experimental material science, he has over the last decade worked on diverse areas such as Wisdom-based Leadership, Design for Sustainability, Traditional Knowledge Systems, Appropriate Housing and Ecological Sanitation. He was awarded the Teaching Excellence Award by IIT Delhi in 2011 and the Fulbright Visiting Professorship 2012-13 as part of which he affiliated with the College of Technology and Innovation, Arizona State University, USA. He has authored several patents, publications and design registrations to on innovative technologies.

He also serves as Chairman of the IIT Delhi start up company Ekam Eco Solutions.

Mr. Yoshinobu Fukasawa
Director, UN-Habitat Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Mr. Yoshinobu Fukasawa , Joined Japanese Government in 1982, National Land Agency of the Prime Minister’s Office (later transformed to Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport); seconded to UN-Habitat Nairobi and to UNOCHA Geneva.

Joined UN-Habitat ROAP in January 2012 and assumed the position of Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific in June 2013. He has worked in regional development projects, national/regional spatial development planning/policies, land policy, water resources development, disaster risk reduction and emergency management. Engaged in reconstruction from the 1995 Kobe Earthquake; several international bilateral cooperation projects, including dispatch of Japan’s international emergency rescue team and JICA technical cooperation in disaster management/reduction. Mr Fukasawa, worked in UN-Habitat HQ from 1985 to 1988 in Settlement Policies Section, Research and Development Division. Re-joined UN-Habitat, ROAP in January 2012. In addition he also worked in UNOCHA Geneva from 1995 to 1997 as Asia Desk in Relief Coordination Branch. Undertook UNDAC (United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination) mission to the floods in Yemen, 1996.

Conference partners