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UN-Habitat is the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, which promotes socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities in order to provide adequate shelter for everyone.


In 2000, half of the world’s population lived in cities; this is set to rise to two-thirds in 2050. The agency’s programmes are designed to help policy-makers and local communities manage the challenges this brings and to find lasting solutions.


Its core functions are monitoring and research, policy development, capacity building and financing for housing and urban development.


Question Interview


The1O


(Sep 2000 – Aug 2010) UN-Habitat


Honorary Graduate Hon DSc (2004)


Heriot-Watt


Dr Anna Tibaijuka Executive Director


Q1: WHAT KEY THINGS HAVE SHAPED YOUR CAREER?


A: There are so many things and so many people who have supported me. I was incredibly fortunate to have a father who recognised the importance of education for girls. He ensured I went to an excellent missionary school in Tanzania. Later I was lucky that my husband encouraged me to do my Doctorate at Uppsala University, Sweden.


Q2: WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER?


A: I was honoured to be appointed as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy to Zimbabwe in 2005; I was exhilarated when I carried the 2008 Olympic torch; and I was touched when I received the Goteborg Prize for sustainable growth last year. But my proudest moments have come from going into slums and seeing the faces of the people whose lives we are changing.


Q3: WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE OF WORKING WITH THE UK GOVERNMENT?


A: I was fortunate to be appointed by Tony Blair as a Commissioner


14 HWU FACTS: 3,319 = HERIOT-WATT ALUMNI BASED IN MALAYSIA


for Africa alongside the likes of Benjamin Mkapa and Bob Geldof. This group of talented and dedicated people was united in increasing the profile of Africa’s problems. Their report ‘Our Common Interest’ was influential in changing the world’s views on Africa’s prospects and potential. The fact that the World Economic Forum was recently held in Dar es Salam, Tanzania, demonstrates Africa’s growing influence on the world stage.


Q4: AS PATRON OF THE TANZANIA YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS INITIATIVE HOW DO YOU ENCOURAGE YOUNG PEOPLE’S ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT?


A: Half of humankind is under 25 and in some African countries this proportion is even higher. Young people are important in today’s society and the more we can do to encourage young entrepreneurs the better. In cities it is the youth who are out on the streets, many of them living in slums, and it is in all of our interest to ensure they are provided for. While I’ve been at UN-Habitat we’ve improved and increased our commitment to young people by expanding our youth section and establishing a special youth fund for young entrepreneurs all over the world.


PROFILE DR ANNA TIBAIJUKA


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