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Executive Director of UN-Habitat and renowned planner Maimunah Mohd Sharif awarded Honorary Membership by RTPI

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has announced Honorary Membership for Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).

The recognition is reserved for individuals who have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to planning. Maimunah Mohd Sharif now joins the ranks of Sir Bob Neill MP, Lord Taylor of Goss Moor, and Nick Raynsford – former Minister and MP – all of whom are also Honorary Members. The RTPI currently boasts approximately 50 active Honorary Members as of January 2024, including several academics.

The significant impact that the newly elected Honorary Member, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, has had on planning and the profession, coupled with her nationally and internationally recognised influence, earned her this prestigious accolade.

Before assuming her current role at UN-Habitat, Ms. Sharif served as the Mayor of the City Council of Penang Island, Malaysia. During her tenure, she led the Municipal Council of Seberang Perai in achieving its vision for a cleaner, greener, safer, and healthier community. Notably, Sharif advocated for Gender-Responsive Participatory Budgeting and Planning, emphasising the integration of gender perspectives into governance processes.

Born in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, Sharif holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Town Planning Studies from the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology, UK, and a Master of Science in Planning Studies from Malaysia Science University.

Her championing of the role of planning in addressing global challenges and achieving sustainable, development garnered numerous awards, including the "Planner of The Year 2014" by the Malaysian Institute of Planners and the 2016 Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award during Habitat III in Quito. Ms. Sharif's achievements have also been recognised by the Penang State Government.

The RTPI's decision to honour Maimunah Mohd Sharif underscores her significant impact on the planning profession and her unwavering commitment to creating sustainable and thriving communities.

Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the RTPI said, "It is my great pleasure to announce that Maimunah Mohd Sharif has been granted Honorary Membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute. Her outstanding contributions to planning, as well as her unwavering commitment to creating fair, inclusive, healthy and prosperous cities and communities, have left an indelible mark on the profession worldwide. We are truly honoured to welcome her into the Institute and to recognise her exceptional achievements."

Maimunah Mohd Sharif said, “The Royal Town Planning Institute continues to have great relevance as they help fill the existing capacity gap in planning systems. I thank the RTRI for the very high honour of being conferred the membership. If you asked me in 1985, when I graduated as a town planner from the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology, if the day would come when I would be a member of the RTPI, I would smile broadly and not believe it."

Photos of the event from Kate Darkins can be found here.

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