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Selection committee



Every term, a dedicated panel consisting of five international representatives of varied expertise is appointed to the WDC Selection Committee.

The 2018 committee comprises:

Dr. Mugendi M’Rithaa
2013-2015 Icsid President-Elect

Since 2005, Dr. M’Rithaa has been a Professor and Senior Lecturer in Industrial Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town (South Africa). Prior to that, he taught at the Universities of Botswana and Nairobi. Before moving to education, Dr. M’Rithaa was a Designer/Accounts Executive with Communication Graphics and a Designer/ Researcher with the Kenya Building Research Centre, both located in Nairobi (Kenya). Mugendi M’Rithaa is an active member of the Cape Town Design Network (CTDN), Design Education Forum of Southern Africa (DEFSA), Ergonomics Society of Southern Africa (ESSA), Network on Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability (DESIS) and the Learning Network on Sustainability (LeNS). He holds a Master of Industrial Design from the Indian Institute of Technology-Mumbai and a PhD in Universal Design from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

Dr. Meric GertlerDr. Meric Gertler
President Meric Gertler, PhD, FRSC, FAcSS, MCIP

Dr. Meric S. Gertler began his term as the 16th President of the University of Toronto on 1 November 2013. Prior to that, he served as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science—the largest faculty at the University—from 2008 to 2013, where he championed many important innovations in undergraduate teaching and learning. He is a Professor of Geography and Planning, and the Goldring Chair in Canadian Studies at the University of Toronto. He is a co-founder of a large research program at U of Tís Munk School of Global Affairs investigating the role of city-regions as sites of innovation and creativity in the global economy. His work engages in comparative analysis of North American and European cities to understand how local social and cultural dynamics create the foundations for economic success and prosperity. He has served as an advisor to local, regional and national governments in Canada, the United States and Europe, as well as to international agencies such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (Paris) and the European Union. He has authored or edited seven books, including Manufacturing Culture: The Institutional Geography of Industrial Practice and The Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography (with Gordon Clark and Maryann Feldman).

Dr. Luyanda MpahlwaDr. Luyanda Mpahlwa
Director & Design Principal – DesignSpaceAfrica (Pty) Ltd

Dr. Luyanda Mpahlwa, Cape Town based Architect and Urban Designer obtained his Masters in Architecture at the Technical University of Berlin. He is the Director of Luyanda Mpahlwa DesignSpaceAfrica, the architecture and design firm he founded in 2009. His architectural education in South Africa was interrupted when he was incarcerated on Robben Island Prison in 1981 for his anti-apartheid political activities. After his release from a 5 year prison term in 1986, he went into exile in West Germany where he spent 15 years. He relocated back to South Africa in 2000 and was Director/Partner with MMA Architects for 12 years. Luyanda was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Science and Technology from the Walter Sisulu University for his contribution to innovative technologies and design for social change. He has been associated with the Cape Town World Design Capital Bid Committee from inception and attended the award ceremony in Taipei where Icsid awarded Cape Town the designation, World Design Capital 2014.

Abigail PosnerAbigail Posner
Head of Strategic Planning, Agency Development, Google

Abigail joined Google over 2 years ago to head up the Strategic Planning Practice for the Agency team. She works closely with the advertising and marketing communities to help develop their strategic and creative efforts for the digital space. While at Google, she has also launched an industryófirst thought leadership series on human beings deep, emotional relationships with the digital space: Humanising Digital. And she has created and teaches an inspirational ìculture of insightsî programme & toolkit for internal both Google audiences and key marketers “Behold the Aha: from Data to Insight.”

Prior to joining Google, Abigail was Executive Vice President, Strategy Director at Publicis New York, where she directed strategic planning efforts for major new business pitches and provided thought leadership to key global clients, including LíOreal, NestlÈ and Coca-Cola. Before that, Abigail spent 11 years at DDB New York. There, she co-directed the strategic planning department and directed strategic efforts for a range of clients, from PepsiCo and Unilever to Hertz.

Wen-Je Ko
Mayor of Taipei

Before being elected mayor, Mr. Ko was an attending physician and Chairman of the Department of Traumatology at National Taiwan University Hospital, and also a professor at National Taiwan University College of Medicine, specializes in trauma, intensive care, organ transplant, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and artificial organs among others. Mr. Ko is an icon among Taiwanese Healthcare and Medical industry, which he was responsible for standardizing organ transplant procedures in Taiwan, and was the first physician to import the ECMO system. Apart from his practice, Mr. Ko is known for his numerous media appearances and interviews as a social and political commentator. With the firm idea of Open City and insistence on Citizen Participation policy, Mr. Ko believe that change and innovation should be triggered from bottom up by the power of citizens, and is the feasible future for Taipei.