Global Director, Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, World Bank
Sameh Wahba, an Egyptian national, is the Global Director for the World Bank’s Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, based in Washington, D.C. The Global Practice, which also covers territorial development, geospatial and results-based-financing issues, has a portfolio of close to $30 billion in commitments in investment projects, program-for-results and development policy lending, and about 450 staff. Prior to this, Mr. Wahba served as the Director for Urban and Territorial Development, Disaster Risk Management and Resilience at the World Bank Group’s Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience Global Practice, where he oversaw the formulation of the World Bank’s strategy, design, and delivery of all lending, technical assistance, policy advisory activities, and partnerships at the global level. He also served as Practice Manager for the Urban and Disaster Risk Management unit in Africa and the Global Urban and Resilience Unit, and as Acting Director of Operations and Strategy for the Global Practice. He worked as Sustainable Development Sector Leader for Brazil, based in Brasilia, and as an urban specialist focused on housing, land, local economic development, and municipal management and service delivery in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the Middle East and North Africa Regions. Prior to joining the Bank in 2004, he worked at the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies in Rotterdam and at the Harvard Center for Urban Development Studies. Mr. Wahba holds a Ph.D. and Master’s degree in urban planning from Harvard University, and a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Architectural Engineering from Cairo University.
Senior Operations Officer, Fragility, Conflict & Violence Global Practice, World Bank
Bernhard Metz joined the World Bank in 2012 and has been mainly working in the Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience Global Practice. He has specialized on the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for analyses related to fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV) as well as forced displacement and established the team’s respective work stream. Before the World Bank, he worked for 4 years as assistant to the CEO of a financial services group and inter alia led the company's controlling team. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School as well as a Master’s in International Relations and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration.
CEO and co-founder, Maptionnaire
Maarit Kahila is the CEO and co-founder of Maptionnaire. Maptionnaire is a powerful community engagement tool that helps urban planners and city developers to create map-based tools to get ideas and insights from residents – thus enabling and encouraging public participation. Maptionnaire is a spin-off from Aalto University where Maarit did her dissertation. In her dissertation, she studied the opportunities for urban planners to take advantage of PPGIS tools like Maptionnaire. Currently, Maptionnaire is a global SaaS service used in over 50 countries.
Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep
Global Lead (Disruptive Technology) & Lead Environmental Specialist, Environment, Natural Resources & Blue Economy Global Practice, World Bank
Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep (Harsh) is a technical professional on environment, water, and other natural resources systems in a development context. Over 18 years at the Bank, he has led and been part of a range of environmental water, and other natural resources projects and studies, primarily in South Asia, Africa, Central Asia, and East Asia. This has included work on integrated landscape approaches, watershed management, water resources planning, climate resilience, international waters (including work on the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Nile, Jordan, Aral, and other Basins), biodiversity, environmental assessments, pollution, water and environment institutions, irrigation systems, environmental economics, etc. He also leads activities at the Bank related to the use of innovative analytical tools (e.g. GIS, modeling, decision support systems), modern hydromet services, and mobile Apps (e.g. “Spatial Agent” to promote public domain geospatial data access). He co-founded the GIS Thematic Group at the Bank and co-chairs the Bank-US Govt MoU on Water on remote sensing aspects. Prior to joining the Bank, he worked with other international organizations, in academia, and in the private sector on issues ranging from wetlands management and environmental indicators to New York City water supply systems and Middle East water conflicts. He has a B.Tech in Civil Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras, a Masters in Environmental and Resource Engineering from the University of Syracuse, and a Ph.D. in Water Resources and Environmental Systems from Harvard University.
Dany S. Jones
Senior IT Officer, Business Solutions, World Bank
Dany Jones has completed his Master of Computer Science in Computer Applications at the University of Madras, India. He is a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO). He currently works as Senior IT Officer at the World Bank.
Technical Lead, Maxar
Matthew Hallas studied Environmental Science and Geography at the University of Denver, where he discovered a deep interest in analyzing remotely sensed data for the purposes of vegetation analysis and feature extraction. Following his passion for remote sensing, Matt became the lead ENVI, ENVI LiDAR and IDL instructor at Exelis/Harris Corporation. Now a Technical Lead at Maxar, Matt has the exciting job of educating current and future partners on the importance of geospatial data and the impact of satellite-derived insights. In supporting the Sustainable Development Practice at Maxar, Matt is able to leverage the power of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to positively impact the Sustainable Development Goals.
Head of International Development and a Senior Project Manager for the Earth Observation (EO) service provider, GeoVille
Norman Kiesslich is the Head of International Development and a Senior Project Manager for the Earth Observation (EO) service provider GeoVille. In his daily work, Norman is driving the development of EO services that specifically address the operational needs of the ODA and IFI communities to turn potential benefits of EO technology into practical solutions for managers and technicians on the ground. Prior to his current role, Norman has worked as an international consultant, living and working in 15+ countries in Asia, Africa, and South America, experiencing the user perspective first hand. Norman holds a First Class (Hons) degree in Physical Geography and a Masters in Geographic Information Science and Systems.
CEO and co-founder, Sinergise
Born in 1980 in Slovenia, Grega Milcinski studied Physics and co-founded Cosylab inc. at age 21, a company developing control systems for particle accelerators and large experiments in physics. In 2008, Grega Milcinski moved to become CEO and co-founder of Sinergise, specializing in software for advanced geospatial applications, helping Europe to efficiently manage and control agriculture policy and introducing land administration systems to developing countries in Africa. With his colleagues, they have recognized the potential of open Copernicus earth observation data early but soon hit a wall trying to use existing technologies to work with these large datasets. Deciding to do something about it, Sentinel Hub was born. A Copernicus Masters award-winning service for processing and distribution of satellite data is exploiting cloud infrastructure to provide seamless access to more than 15 petabytes of data to over 100.000 registered users, mostly web developers creating applications on top of remote sensing data. After working with governmental clients in Balkan, Western Europe, Asia and Africa, Grega is now engulfed in building a global Internet business, which is nowadays processing more than a quarter of billion requests per month.