USC Price School of Public Policy

Global Reach:

USC Price partners with U.N. program for urban development

March 22, 2013

By Robin Heffler

Under a recently signed agreement between the UN-HABITAT: Habitat Partner University Initiative (HPUI) and the USC Price School of Public Policy, graduate and undergraduate Price students may soon undertake internships in Nairobi, Kenya, delving into initiatives related to climate-change and local economic development. The opportunities are part of an effort to provide training and resources for sustainable urban development worldwide.

These internships are the first phase of the partnership between the Price School and the HPUI, which seeks to be an international catalyst for universities to become closer partners of cities and other urban stakeholders, sharing knowledge and developing sustainable urban environments.

The initiative views universities as producing the leaders, managers and planners required for implementing innovative approaches to developing cities that are safe, affordable and environmentally responsible.

“The vision of the Habitat Partner University Initiative lines up closely with the mission of the USC Price School, to improve the quality of life for communities across the globe,” said Zarui Neksalyan, student services advisor in the Price School’s Office of Career Services, who prepared the application for partnership.

Monica Bray, director of career services at USC Price, explained that “the internships will support students’ professional development by advising them of current trends in the field of sustainable development and opening up avenues for them to collaborate and partner in the field.”

“While developing their professional skills, they will also be building their professional networks,” she added.

Internships aimed at developing students’ professional skills and administered by the school’s Office of Career Services will be the first step in the Price-HPUI partnership.

The agreement also calls for developing collaborative, interdisciplinary research.

UN-HABITAT, the United Nations agency for human settlements, created the initiative in response to the effects of today’s rapid urbanization in both developed and developing countries.

According to U.N. reports, each year 67 million new urban dwellers are added to the world’s population, and by 2030, an estimated 59 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas. UN-HABITAT is mandated by the U.N. General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

Bray noted that, through this new partnership, the Price School is able to deepen its impact and expand its global reach by “educating a new generation of leaders who will work toward improving urban life.”