4-7 September 2017, Hong Kong


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Program design and delivery of the 6th Asia-Pacific Housing Forum has been steered by a multi-stakeholder group providing strategic guidance. Representing various organizations with the common desire to communicate, lead and facilitate change in offering innovative solutions for the provision of affordable housing in Asia-Pacific, we are honored to have the following members on the steering committee:

Charlie Ayco
Managing Director and CEO
Habitat for Humanity Philippines
Charlie Ayco holds the following academic degrees: Bachelor’s in Philosophy with distinction, Master’s in Theology, Ph.D. in Social Psychology, and a Master’s in Development Management with distinction from the Asian Institute of Management. Charlie was formerly an Associate Professor at Ateneo de Manila University where he was teaching until the mid-80s. In 1986, he joined politics and became mayor of his hometown of Sevilla, Bohol, Philippines from 1986 to 1992.

In 1999, he joined Habitat for Humanity Philippines as Chief Operating Officer in the Philippines. In 2004, he became the Director of Regional Programs for Asia-Pacific and in 2007 he was appointed as the Director of Program Development and Support. He also led the organization of three sessions of the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum in Singapore, Manila and Bangkok. In 2011, he was assigned to lead Habitat for Humanity Philippines where he is now the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. He actively supported the National Summit on Housing and Urban Development (2015-2016) organized by the joint committee on housing of the Congress of the Philippines by acting as the facilitator of the technical working group on housing finance.

Dr. Darwin Chen, SBS
Member, Board of Directors
Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong
Darwin Chen was responsible for the establishment of several professional arts companies and museums while serving as Director of Cultural Services of the Hong Kong Government in the 70s and 80s. He subsequently served as Commissioner for Television and Entertainment Licensing, Deputy Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Commissioner of Labor and Director of Buildings and Lands. He was former Chairman of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and currently serves as Vice President of the UNESCO Hong Kong Association.

Darwin serves on the board of many charitable organizations in Hong Kong and mainland China, as well as international non-profit bodies, including Plan International (Hong Kong), Amity Foundation, Bright China Foundation, Hong Kong Christian Service, and St. Christopher’s Home. Awarded the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences (honoris causa) by the University of Hong Kong, Darwin is also an Honorary Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and the Hong Kong Institute of Education. He was awarded the Silver Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong SAR Government in recognition of his community service. He also received the award of All China Outstanding Philanthropic Worker from the Ministry of Civil Affairs of the Chinese Government.

Drs. Marja Hoek-Smit
Director of the International Housing Finance Program of the Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania, United States
Marja Hoek-Smit is the Director of the International Housing Finance Program of the Wharton School Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center, and an Adjunct Professor in the Wharton Real Estate Department and Department of City and Regional Planning of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Graduate Group of the Lauder Institute, of the Wharton School.

Marja’s work focuses on housing markets and urban and housing policy, and the deepening of housing finance systems, particularly in developing and emerging market economies. Specifically, her research and consulting work has included policy reforms to improve the functioning of housing and real estate markets, reform and design of housing and housing finance-linked subsidy programs, housing demand and affordability analyses, the development of housing and housing finance indicators, design and implementation of upgrading strategies and monitoring and evaluation systems for housing programs. She develops, coordinates and teaches executive education programs in housing finance and housing market development both at Wharton and in emerging market countries.

Laxman Perera
Human Settlements Officer, Regional Office Asia and the Pacific
UN-Habitat, Japan
Laxman Perera is a United Nations staff member, currently holding the position of Human Settlements Officer in the Asia-Pacific regional office. Prior to the present posting, Laxman served in Myanmar as a Human Settlement Officer for nearly two years and also as a UN-Habitat Program Manager in Sri Lanka for five years. Prior to the United Nations posting, he served in the Government of Sri Lanka from 1985 to 2008 and held senior management positions in national government ministries in the urban, housing and housing finance, water and sanitation and human settlement development sectors. He has been a staff member of UN-Habitat since 2009, working broadly on policy advocacy and program management in the areas of housing and housing finance, urban planning and management, resettlement, climate change and disaster risk reduction. Laxman’s expertise are in the areas of housing and housing finance, urban planning and management, resettlement and land administration, community based development, post disaster/war reconstruction and rehabilitation, disaster response planning.

Corinna Salzer
Base Builds
Corinna Salzer is Chief Executive Manager of Base Builds, an initiative on sustainable and resilient housing for low-income groups. Her expertise lies in strategic innovation for the social housing sector and includes holistic development of raw materials into cost-efficient, legally approved, ecological and disaster-resistant building concepts. Further, she looks into inclusive building methods and value chains linking rural with urban issues, environmental impact assessments, synergies between disaster response and sustainable urban development, and the creation of learning exchanges in Asia-Pacific and around the world.

Corinna is a Ph.D. Candidate at Chalmers University of Sweden, Chair of Sustainable Building, holds an excellence-awarded Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, and a Bachelor’s degree from Bauhaus University Weimar. Before her position as Chief Executive Manager, she was the Head of Research and Development at Base Builds, Technical Project Manager for Hilti Foundation, and Research Engineer for Hilti Corporation. From 2011 to 2014, she has spent most of her time in the Philippines. Prior, she has worked in South Africa, Turkey, Germany and Nepal on engineering solutions for international organizations and the private sector.

Rajan Samuel
Managing Director
Habitat for Humanity India
Rajan Samuel has over 30 years of experience in microfinance, housing microfinance and social development. He has worked in over 25 countries in Asia, Africa, Central Asia and the Caucasus. He has undertaken assignments for Opportunity International, World Bank, Khula Finance, the UK’s Department for International Finance, the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development, CARE, World Vision, Denmark’s development cooperation Danida and others. Prior to his work with Habitat for Humanity India, Rajan worked in Habitat’s Asia-Pacific regional office as Director of the Housing Finance department. Rajan has a Master’s degree in Commerce and Business Administration and is a Consultative Group to Assist the Poor certified trainer. He presented his Ph.D. thesis on microfinance and transiting economics at Azerbaijan State Economic University.

Ajay Suri
Regional Adviser
Cities Alliance, India
Ajay Suri joined Cities Alliance in 2008 and has worked closely with the Secretariat to identify opportunities for strategic support for city development and urban poverty reduction in India. He also helped set up a portfolio of Cities Alliance projects in India that largely provide knowledge support on critical policy issues.
Before joining Cities Alliance, Ajay worked as an Associate Director and Associate Professor with the Society for Development Studies in New Delhi. Ajay has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Delhi University and a Master’s Degree in Economics from the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Mark van Steenwyk
Pacific Agriservices Inc
Mark van Steenwyk has over thirty years of international economic development professional and program administrative experience, including work-related travel to more than 35 countries worldwide and 18 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. He has worked extensively with private sector small and medium enterprise development, agribusiness, rural institutional development, microfinance and development banking in his 25 years of residency in South and Southeast Asia. He has been directly responsible for the planning, start-up and/or management of more than a dozen multi-million dollar international economic development projects and private sector business ventures. Mark is also the author of ‘Strategic Planning for Economic Enterprise Development (SPEED) Initiative’, a four-step entrepreneurial systems approach to building community-based small and medium enterprises, linked to value chains, finance and business support services capacity, using zonal enterprise business development tools and methodologies.

Dr. Rajib Shaw
Professor, Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies
Kyoto University, Japan
Rajib Shaw is a Professor in the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies of Kyoto University, Japan. His research interests are community based disaster risk management, climate change adaptation, urban risk management, and disaster and environmental education. He is currently the Co-chair of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Science Technology Academia Stakeholder Group. Rajib has extensive publications in different journals, books and edited volumes.

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