June 12, 2019

Meet the Speakers: MOBILIZE Fortaleza

The MOBILIZE Summit, this year in Fortaleza, Brazil welcomes a diverse group of speakers from across the globe to discuss their cities’ transportation interventions over two days. The theme this year is “Reclaiming Streets for Access and Mobility” as the agenda emphasizes the importance of building spaces for all groups.

Learn about the plenary speakers below. 

Riri Asnita, Head of Planning, Public Works Department, Jakarta, Indonesia

Riri Asnita’s projects focus on sidewalk improvement projects all over Jakarta and in 2018, the Head of the Public Works Agency nicknamed Riri the “Ratu Trotoar,” the “Queen of Sidewalks.” She works closely with the governor of DKI Jakarta to improve the quality of pedestrian facilities and campaigning to promote walkable Jakarta. Committed to creating a pedestrian-friendly Jakarta, she is a successful top-level female government official with the penchant for inclusivity and needs of the vulnerable groups. She has been invited into various seminars or talks as an honorable speaker. She holds a Master in Public Administration from the Krisnadwipayana University, Jakarta and a B.S. in environmental engineering Trisakti University, Jakarta.


Taufiq Balala, Country Executive Member for Transport, Infrastructure, and Public Works, Mombasa, Kenya

Taufiq Balala is a public servant of County Government of Mombasa, Kenya. He is County Executive Member for the Department of Transport, Infrastructure & Public Works since 2015. Since his appointment he has been a proponent in launching a series of transformative improvements and designs to build high quality and high capacity system of public transport combined with walking and cycling infrastructure improvements. He has collaborated with number of foreign Government partner countries to share strategies, challenges, research, survey and study international best practices in sustainable transport. He has a bold vision to reduce commute times by more than a half by introducing a BRT system, intelligent traffic system, water transport system and improve on non-motorized traffic.


Lisa Bender Headshot

Lisa Bender, President of the Minneapolis City Council, Minneapolis, USA

Lisa Bender is the President of the Minneapolis City Council. She led the recent City Council adoption of Minneapolis 2040 which will guide growth and public investment for the next several decades, prioritizing race equity and fighting climate change. First elected in 2013, President Bender has championed the City’s Complete Streets policy including a $400 million investment in complete streets, adoption of the midwest’s first $15 local minimum wage and community-led approaches to public safety. President Bender earned a Master’s Degree in City Planning from UC Berkeley and has over a decade of experience in shaping transportation and land use choices to make cities more equitable and sustainable. Lisa is also mom to two young children and is a champion for getting more change-makers, women and people of color into elected office.


Roberto Claudio Rodrigues Bezerra, Mayor, City of Fortaleza. Brazil

Roberto Claudio Rodrigues Bezerra is the current Mayor of Fortaleza, Brazil. He first entered office in 2013 and was re-elected in 2016. His background as physician helped him plan and promote multiple public health policies, including refurbishing Fortalezas’ primary care units. Urban Mobility and sustainability have been flagships of his administrations, and Fortaleza has doubled its green coverage, receiving national and international recognition for its recent improvements. Prior to serving as Mayor, he was elected State Representative between 2006 and 2012. Mayor Bezerra holds a Master’s and PhD in Public Health from the University of Arizona, and a Bachelor’s from the Federal University of Ceará.


Laetitia Dablanc, Director of Research, French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks; Paris, France

Laetitia Dablanc is a Director of Research at IFSTTAR, University of Paris-Est, and a member of MetroFreight, a VREF Center of excellence in urban freight research. She heads the “Young Initiative” of the World Conference on Transport Research Society. Her areas of research are freight transportation, freight and the environment, urban freight and logistics, freight policies, spatial issues related to logistics. She was a visiting professor at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden (2016-2018). She received a PhD in transportation planning from Ecole des Ponts-ParisTech, and a Master’s degree in city and regional planning from Cornell University. She was initially trained in policy analysis and economics at Science Po Paris.


Diane Davis, Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD), Cambridge, USA

Diane Davis is the Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism, and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD). She leads a project funded by the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) called “Transforming Urban Transport –­ The Role of Political Leadership” (TUT)” that identifies actionable knowledge drawn from case study analysis of eight different cities around the world – Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul, Stockholm, and Vienna – where leading actors have successfully introduced policies that fundamentally transformed their cities’ transportation landscapes.


Shreya Gadepalli, South Asia Director, ITDP India

Shreya Gadepalli is the South Asia Director at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP). She currently leads ITDP’s South Asia team in guiding public agencies on the implementation of sustainable transport and urban planning best practices, reform of urban transport policy and capacity building of public officials and practitioners. Shreya is regarded as one of the foremost experts on sustainable urban mobility in India. She has guided the planning of bus rapid transit (BRT) in many cities across India including Ahmedabad’s Janmarg—India’s first high-quality BRT system. Her other areas of expertise include planning and design of non-motorised transport facilities, parking management, and transit-oriented development. She has contributed to national and state policies, guidelines, and standards, and is sought after as a speaker on issues urban mobility. Shreya received a Master’s in Industrial Design from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering.


Clarisse Linke, Country Director, ITDP Brazil

Clarisse Cunha Linke is a Brazilian who has been involved in planning and implementing social policies and programs since 2001, with experience in Brazil, Mozambique, and Namibia. She holds a Masters in Social Policy, NGOs, and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where she received the “Titmuss Examination Prize” in 2005. From 2006-2011, she was a Director at the Bicycling Empowerment Network Namibia (BEN Namibia), where she played a key role in the expansion of BEN Namibia’s activities, helping it develop the biggest community-based enterprise bicycle distribution network in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2010, she was awarded by Ashoka Changemakers in the “Women, Tools, and Technology” Challenge for the work done in Namibia with women. Clarisse joined ITDP Brazil in 2012. From 2016-18 she taught “NGO Management” at the Institute of Economics in the Rio de Janeiro Federal University (UFRJ).


Shomik Mehndiratta, Practice Manager for Transport for South Asia, World Bank, Washington DC, USA

Dr. Shomik Mehndiratta is the World Bank’s Practice Manager for Transport in South Asia. He has been at the World Bank since 2002, working primarily in East Asia, Latin America and Africa. He has served in the past as the Transport Practice Manager for Latin America, and the Transport Sector’s technical lead on urban mobility and climate-informed transport. In 2015 he briefly worked with Uber as Director of Policy. From 2007 to 2010, he lived and worked in China and is the co-editor and author of the book “Low Carbon Urban Development in China.” Prior to the World Bank, he worked at CRA International, a business and economics consulting firm, based out of Boston, Massachusetts. Shomik holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and an executive MBA jointly from INSEAD and Tsinghua University.


Gil Penalosa HeadshotGil Peñalosa, Founder and Chair of 8 80 Cities, Bogotá, Colombia

Gil is the founder and chair of the internationally recognized Canadian non-profit organization 8 80 Cities. He is also first Ambassador of World Urban Parks. He holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, where he recently was selected as one of the “100 Most Inspirational Alumni” in the school’s history. In 2015 Gil received a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Faculty of Urban Planning at the prominent University in Sweden, SLU. This year Gil was listed in Planetizen’s Top 100 Most Influential Urbanists and recently received in Australia the World Urban Parks Annual Distinguished Individual Award.


Heather Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, ITDP, New York, USA

Heather Thompson has focused her career on working with the environmental non-profit sector to design strategies that will have large-scale impact, and helping organizations to carry out those strategies.  Most recently she has been advising clients including the Asian Development Bank, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Environmental Defense Fund, on ways to help our cities and natural systems increase resilience in the face of climate change, population growth, and other development pressures.

Previously, Ms. Thompson was co-founder and Vice President of Programs for ClimateWorks, a network of 13 regional foundations and expert teams which promote sectoral polices to mitigate climate change. Prior to ClimateWorks, she was a Principal at California Environmental Associates, where she led the firm’s work in philanthropic strategy, covering energy and climate change, marine resource management, biodiversity protection, and land conservation. Ms. Thompson wrote strategies for leading foundations and nonprofit organizations including the Walton Family Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Oak Foundation, and WWF International. Ms. Thompson also serves on the Board of the Gehl Institute.   Ms. Thompson has lived and worked abroad in China, the U.K., and Denmark. She holds a MSc in environmental economics from the University of York, U.K. and a B.S. in biological sciences from the University of California, San Diego.


Carolina Tohá, Former Mayor of Santiago, Chile

Carolina Tohá currently presides over the Fundación Instituto Ciudad (City Institute Foundation), of which she is a founding member, a recently formed civil society organisation dedicated to the promotion of urban policies centred around people and emphasizing equality and sustainability. From 2012 to 2016, she served as the Mayor of Santiago, Chile. During her term, she actively encouraged policies in favour of a sustainable transit system, prioritizing public transport, pedestrian and cycling schemes. These policies, together with a series of other interventions like the Central Plan, the cycle path network and the publicly accessible bicycles, led to the Sustainable Comprehensive Mobility Policy which won the 2017 Sustainable Transport Award 2017. Tohá also acted as Co-Chair of the High Level Advisor Group on Sustainable Transport, convened by the ex-United Nations General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon. Before becoming mayor, she worked as Minister of the Government’s General Secretary under the first Michelle Bachelet’s government (2009), as a Member of Parliament from 2002 to 2009, as Government’s General Under-Secretary during the Ricardo Lagos government (2000-2001), and as President of the Partido por la Democracia (PPD) from 2010 to 2012. She has a Bachelor’s from Milan’s Universita delgi Studi and a Law degree from the University of Chile.

Logo for Mobilize Summit in Brazil

To learn more about MOBILIZE Fortaleza visit mobilizesummit.org.



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