International Advisory Board

Ralph Horne

Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation for the College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University

Prof Ralph Horne is Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation for the College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University. He combines research leadership and participation in research projects concerning production and consumption in the urban environment. He is a geographer interested in urban sustainability, in particular, low carbon transitions in housing and households. The spatial, material and contingent social and governance structures at play are the main focus of his work. He has extensive experience of environmental techniques and sustainability appraisal and has a specific research interest in urban transitions, including socio-technical relations in the context of climate change and resource scarcity. He has led over 100 urban research projects, collaborating with researchers, cities, governments, and commercial organisations across all continents and including specifically studies of housing and development in Europe, Australasia, SE Asia and Latin America.

Ralph is immediate past Director of the Cities Programme, the urban arm of the United Nations Global Compact, which is the United Nations’ flagship corporate sustainability programme, with some 100 city signatories worldwide, committed to progressing the Sustainable Development Goals and the principles of the Global Compact. He has also held the positions of Director, Green Building Council of Australia and Council Member, Built Environment Industry Innovation Council, for the Commonwealth Government of Australia.

Esteban Leon

Chief, Risk Reduction Unit and Head – City Resilience Profiling Programme of UN-Habitat

Esteban Leon is the Chief, Risk Reduction Unit and Head – City Resilience Profiling Programme of UN-Habitat. He has a background in economics, finance, shelter/housing and settlements program design and management, capacity building, as well as building construction and reconstruction projects in post-crisis situations. He has worked in private sector (banking, microcredit and microfinance in Argentina and Bolivia), NGOs (slum upgrading, building constructions and reconstruction programmes in Bolivia and Kenya) and has been working for UN-Habitat Globally but based in Nairobi, Geneva, Panama and Barcelona.

Esteban was the UN-Habitat rep for the Humanitarian Inter-Agency Standing Committee IASC (WG, Global Shelter Cluster, Cluster Working Group on Early Recovery), former Chair of the IASC Reference Group on Meeting Humanitarian Challenges in Urban Areas (MHCUA), Chair of the Resilience Medellin Collaboration (Rockefeller Foundation, RC100, C40, World Bank, UN-ISDR), Agency focal point for the the Int. Recovery Platform. He’s also the UN-Habitat global Focal point for the UN-International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction. He’s developed, fundraised, initiated and managed projects on Disaster Management and Post conflict shelter/housing and settlements recovery in Angola, Mozambique, Kenya, Pakistan, Lebanon, Peru, Colombia, Georgia, Gaza, Haiti, El Salvador, Fiji &Samoa and lately Lebanon, Syria, Philippines and Ecuador while supporting UN-HABITAT in Somalia, Myanmar and Bangladesh operations. He is the Global Programme Manager of the “Making cities sustainable and resilient: Implementing the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030 at the local level” joint programme EC DG DEVCO/UN-ISDR & UN-Habitat implementing the City Resilience Programme in Asuncion (Paraguay), Barcelona (Spain), Dakar (Senegal), Maputo (Mozambique), Port Vila (Vanuatu) and Yakutsk (Russia). Esteban is also de Chair of the UN-ISDR “Making Cities Resilient” Global Campaign Steering Committee.

Ron Wakefield

Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor International and Dean of the School of Property, Construction and Project Management at RMIT, Australia

Professor Wakefield is currently Professor of Construction, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor International and Dean of the School of Property, Construction and Project Management at RMIT, Australia.  Ron researches and teaches at RMIT in the areas of process simulation and modelling, residential and commercial construction and uses of information technology in construction management.  He has degrees in Civil Engineering, including a PhD and BE (Hon 1) from the University of New South Wales and an MSE from Princeton University.

Prior to joining RMIT, Professor Wakefield was the William E. Jamerson Professor of Building Construction in the Department of Building Construction and the Associate Director for Building Technology Research at the Center for Housing Research, Virginia Tech.  Ron has over 25 years’ experience as an international researcher, consultant and engineer in building construction.  He is a Director of Launch Housing and JJR Consulting and a co-opted member of the Victorian Building Practitioners Board.