The Global Alliance is led and coordinated by the Urban Hub at Save the Children.

Save the Children Sarah Sabry

Dr. Sarah Sabry

Chair and steering committee member, Global Alliance – Cities 4 Children
Save the Children, Global Lead – Urban

Sarah is responsible for advancing Save the Children’s work in the urban context, especially for the most marginalized children. She leads the Global Alliance – Cities 4 Children. Sarah has over 20 years of experience in development practice and research. She worked and consulted for various organisations including the Ford Foundation, IIED, IDRC, the American University in Cairo, and the Arab human rights fund. She has managed an NGO working on poverty reduction in Cairo, been a grant maker, a researcher, lecturer and project manager. Her work, research and writing has mostly focused on urban poverty with a focus on slums/informal settlements and on youth development. She holds a PhD in development studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She has taught at SOAS and at the University of Zurich.

Steering Commitee

Dr. Sara Candiracci, Associate Director, ARUP

Dr. Sara Candiracci

ARUP, Associate Director

Sara is an urban planner, programme manager and social researcher with 19 years of professional experience in the field of inclusive and resilient urban development and planning, with a focus on vulnerable urban contexts. She leads the Inclusive and Resilient Cities portfolio of Arup International Development, and the Child friendly cities agenda, which received in 2020 the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) Award for “Best Use of Thought Leadership”. Before joining Arup in 2017, Sara has worked with the UN (UN-Habitat, UNESCO), Development Banks (World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank), Local Governments (Quito, Ecuador and Maputo, Mozambique) and INGOs (CUAMM, Etimos) in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia. She holds a PhD in urban planning, with a thesis on the role of cultural heritage in social development and place-making in East Africa.

Cecilia Vaca Jones, M.A., Executive Director, Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvL)
Bernard van Leer Foundation BvL Logo

Cecilia Vaca Jones M.A.

Bernard van Leer Foundation, Executive Director

Cecilia has over 20 years of experience managing social development policies and programmes. Prior to becoming the Executive Director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, she was the Minister of Social Development of Ecuador from 2013 to 2016. She championed policies to improve the conditions of children, women and indigenous communities, including a cross-sectoral policy for ECD. Cecilia has also worked for several civil society organizations, the Organisation of American States, UNDP and has been a university professor. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Policies for Sustainable Development from the University of Bologna, a BA in International Relations from the Pontifical Catholic University in Ecuador, and an executive Master’s degree in cities from the London School of Economics.

Nazmul-Huq ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainable Development)

Dr. Nazmul Huq

ICLEI, Head of the Resilient Development Program

Nazmul Huq is an urban and rural planner and currently the head of the Resilient Development Program at ICLEI world secretariat, Bonn, Germany. He has a Ph.D. degree in spatial and environmental science from the University of Trier, Germany, an Advanced Master on Human Ecology from the Free University Brussels, Belgium, and a Bachelor of Urban and Rural Planning from Khulna University, Bangladesh. He has 10 years of working experience as a researcher and project manager at various organizations such as the Technical University of Cologne, United Nations University in Bonn, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) in Bangladesh, Unnayan Onneshan (leading Bangladesh based think tank), Handicap International, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), among others. He has been regularly publishing scholarly articles on climate change adaptation and sustainable livelihood in reputed scientific outlets.

Annie-Peyton NACTO-GDCI

Annie Peyton

GDCI, Program Manager

Annie is a core member of NACTO-GDCI’s Streets for Kids program, which looks at streets through the lens of kids and caregivers and co-authored the design guidebook Designing Streets for Kids. Annie’s work has focused on social and environmental justice in cities. She previously worked on landscape architecture and climate resilience projects in Thailand as a Henry Luce Scholar, with the architecture firm MASS Design Group in Rwanda as a Global Health Corps Fellow, and for architecture firms in New York City and San Francisco. Annie holds a Master and Bachelor of Architecture from Tulane University, graduating with the architecture school’s Outstanding Thesis Award and Alpha Rho Chi Medal.

Douglas Ragan UNHABITAT

Douglas Ragan

UN-Habitat, Programme Management Officer for the Human Rights and Social Inclusion Unit

Douglas has worked on children and youth development at the local, national and international level for the past 30 years. Currently he is managing UN-Habitat’s children and youth programme which has engaged over 500,000 youth through projects in over 70 developing countries. His current focus is working with youth in informal settlements and in conflict cities. Doug has authored, co-authored and edited 17 research and policy publications on urban youth issues, the most recent being the Global Youth-Led Development series, representing research done on youth-led agencies in the developing world. Doug holds a Bachelors Degree in Latin American Studies and a Masters Degree in Management.


Thomas George

UNICEF, Senior Adviser and Global Lead for Urban

Thomas has over 33 years of experience in international development, with 28 years in the United Nations in different countries. He started his career with the Indian Civil Services and is a national of India.

Robert Gillen World Vision

Robert Gillen

World Vision International, Technical Director, Urban Programming

Robert is an international development professional with 17 years demonstrated success in team and portfolio leadership. He has been based in Cambodia for 14 years and has managed and supported development programming in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Robert has a deep understanding of multi-sectoral transformational development interventions. In 2014, he led the citywide evaluation of World Vision’s urban program in Cambodia and subsequent urban strategy and operating model design and has served as the Strategy and Program Quality Director in Cambodia since 2016. Robert holds an MSc in Poverty Reduction and Development Management from the University of Birmingham and a Graduate Certificate of Humanitarian Leadership from Deakin University, Melbourne.


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