CAP Elections 2023
25 October 2023 (Updated 14 November 2023)
The results of the Commonwealth Association of Planners elections for 2023 were announced at the General Assembly meeting, held in Putrajaya, Malaysia on 10 November 2023.
On behalf of CAP, current President, Eleanor Mohammed, thanks all those who put themselves forward as candidates for demonstrating their interest in supporting CAP. The time, thought, and effort put into the nomination process is very much appreciated by all CAP members. Thanks also go to two members of the Interim Board for 2023 who will not serve on the new Board of Trustees, Pradeep Kapoor (Institute of Town Planners India) and Clive Harridge (Royal Town Planning Institute).
Three candidates were nominated:
Jua Cilliers (South African Planning Institute), Peter Geraghty (Royal Town Planning Institute), and Joakim Nyarangi (Kenya Institute of Planners)
The elected President of CAP for 2024/25 is Jua Cilliers.
Board Trustees Election
There are seven places on the newly constituted Board of Trustees. In accordance with the Constitution, not more than one person from any one nation may be on the Board.
Eleven candidates were nominated: Jihad Bitar (Canadian Institute of Planners), Jua Cilliers (South African Planning Institute), Darren Crombie (Planning Institute of Australia), Lawrence Esho (Kenya Institute of Planners), Peter Geraghty (Royal Town Planning Institute), Sepideh Hajisoltani (Royal Town Planning Institute), Stephen Harness (Royal Town Planning Institute), Ismail bin Ibrahim (Malaysian Institute of Planners), Bryce Julyan (New Zealand Planning Institute), Fazle Reza Sumon (Bangladesh Institute of Planners), and Ian Tant (Royal Town Planning Institute).
The elected Board Trustees for 2024/25 are:
Jihad Bitar (Canadian Institute of Planners)
Darren Crombie (Planning Institute of Australia)
Lawrence Esho (Kenya Institute of Planners)
Ismail bin Ibrahim (Malaysian Institute of Planners)
Bryce Julyan (New Zealand Planning Institute)
Fazle Reza Sumon (Bangladesh Institute of Planners)
Ian Tant (Royal Town Planning Institute)
Original Post 25 October 2023
CAP is currently in the process of electing our new President and members of the Board of Trustees. While this is a closed election, all of the candidates are extremely qualified and impressive and we wanted to give everyone a chance to get to know the potential new members of our leadership team.
Below, you will find the statements from all of our candidates, first from those running for the position of President, and next from those running for a position on the Board of Trustees.
Nominees for President
Mr. Joakim Nyarangi King’oina
Kenya Institute of Planners
BA. Urban and Regional Planning - University of Nairobi 2008;
MSc. GIS University of Nairobi 2011;
Registered and Practicing Professional Planner
Registered and Practicing Environmental Assessment/Audit Lead Expert;
Experienced GIS Expert
15 years as a Registered Professional Planner;
13 years as a GIS and Lead Environmental Expert in Urban and Regional planning;
Vice President - Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) (2021-2023);
Interim Board of Trustees Member - Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP);
Interim Chairperson - Commonwealth East Africa Planners Network;
President - Kenya Institute of Planners (KIP) (2021-2023);
Honorary Secretary - Kenya Institute of Planners (KIP) (2016-2018);
Patron - Kenya Young Planners’ Network; former vice chairman Young Planners Forum (YPF) 2014-2017
God Fearing, Purposeful, Driven, Optimistic, Ethical and Pragmatic
Joakim Nyarangi: Aspirant for CAP President 2023
My name is Joakim Nyarangi- RPP, MCAP, MKIP, MEIK. I am an outgoing CAP Vice-President as the immediate former president of the Kenya Institute of Planners (KIP) and CAP Interim Board of Trustees Member. I love empowering communities and impacting the lives of people positively wherever I find myself. I am a God fearing, purposeful, driven, optimistic, ethical and pragmatic leader. I am vying for the position of CAP President 2023 and I need your support and VOTE!
Why CAP President?
This position is one of the most important offices in the Association of Planners as the President “is the principal spokesperson for the Association” as well as “is responsible, jointly with the board, to the member organisations for the orderly and proper conduct of all the affairs of the Association”. In this regard the president with support of the board of trustees is primarily responsible for inspiring professional planners and promoting the interests of the planning profession across the commonwealth and globally.
Furthermore, I strongly believe that the welfare of member organisations is key to advancing the planning profession. It is therefore imperative for Vice presidents to elect someone who understands their interests and who is committed to strengthening member organisations.
Why Vote for Me?
I humbly believe that I have the requisite skills, robust ability, pertinent experience and worthy networks to function effectively as CAP President if elected. I have served in the CAP Executive Committee as CAP Vice President (2021-2023) as well as in the CAP Interim Board of Trustees. I have also served as Interim Chairperson of the Commonwealth East Africa Planners Network; President of the Kenya Institute of Planners (KIP) (2021-2023) and as Honorary Secretary Kenya Institute of Planners (KIP) (2016-2018). I am also the patron of the Kenya Young Planners’ Network and former vice chairman Young Planners Forum (YPF) 2014-2017.
While serving in the CAP Executive Committee as Vice President I had the privilege to meet and make friends with dedicated Presidents and Vice presidents as well as devoted network leaders in CAP, the Commonwealth and other global associations. I also had the opportunity to interact and work with some amazingly committed people in the CAP secretariat and create unforgettable advocacy and visibility wins for CAP and Planning. We managed to place CAP as a notable partner in the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Initiative Programme (CSCI) and promoted the Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation across the Commonwealth. We assisted the admission of the Rwanda Urban Planning Institute (RUPI) into CAP and initiated the Commonwealth East Africa Planners Network. I have participated and represented CAP in various international conferences including the Commonwealth Heads of Government in Kigali Rwanda, in which the CAP delegation successfully pushed the adoption of the Declaration on Sustainable Urbanisation. I also represented CAP during the second session of the UN-Habitat Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya during which CAP signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UN-Habitat aimed at addressing the capacity gaps affecting local and national governments, urban professionals and academia, as well as other urban stakeholders.
Throughout my time involved with the CAP Executive Committee as Vice-President and Interim Board member I have, jointly with other dedicated leaders, contributed and supported to realise the positive transformation of CAP through the Change of the CAP Constitution as well as the development of the CAP Strategic Plan (2023-2025). I am very proud and humbled by these experiences and I want to develop these further to advance the planning profession globally.
As CAP Vice President I have demonstrated what is possible with my determination, drive and passion which has led to huge improvements for CAP and the planning profession globally. I will continue demonstrating what is possible as CAP President and drive forward improvements that YOU desire to achieve! I believe that these experiences will help me in functioning effectively and efficiently as CAP President.
What do I Seek to Achieve if Elected?
TO INSPIRE CAP MEMBERS AND ADVANCE THE PLANNING PROFESSION GLOBALLY
Strengthen CAP member organisations;
Inspire active member participation within CAP;
Enhance CAP Advocacy and Visibility;
Encourage formation of robust CAP Regional Networks/Societies;
Support Young Planners’ Engagement;
Champion Planning Curriculum Update and Accreditation;
Foster Meaningful Partnerships;
Support Engagement of Planning professionals across the commonwealth;
Encourage Active Research in Planning Schools
Prof. Elizelle Juanee Cilliers (Jua)
South African Planning Institute
Having been honoured with the roles of Chair for the CAP Women in Planning Network and now as the Co-Chair of the CAP Climate Action Working Group, my association with CAP has been a profound journey of growth and insight. These positions have provided me with a comprehensive perspective on the intricacies and potential of the planning profession throughout the Commonwealth. They have also powered my desire to make impactul contributions at a higher strategic tier. It is with this renewed vigor that I put forth my candidacy for President of CAP.
Professional experience: I am currently the Head of the School of Built Environment, and Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Technology Sydney (Australia). I have 19+ years’ experience as Professional Planner, with professional registrations from both the South African Council for Planners (SACPLAN) and the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA). I am the Co-chair of the Climate Action Group of CAP and former Board Member of the International Society of City and Regional Planners. Internationally I have been working with the UN-habitat, the Habitat Profession Forum, Global Planners Network, and the International Centre for Local Democracy. It is with this global network and muti -national experiences that I believe I can contribute to take CAP forward.
Diversity of Member Organizations: CAP's strength lies in its diverse member organizations, each bringing a unique perspective and set of experiences to the table. I hold registrations with both the South African Planning Institute (SAPI since 2012) and the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA since 2021). Having worked as a professional planner in both South Africa and Australia, I have firsthand experience navigating the complexities and nuances of planning in different cultural, socio-economic, and environmental contexts. I have also engaged with member organisation across the Commonwealth network, which has equipped me with a holistic understanding of the challenges and opportunities that our member organizations face. As President, I would prioritize fostering a culture of inclusivity, ensuring that every member organization are valued, heard, and empowered.
Service to CAP: My service as the Chair of the Women in Planning Network and Co-Chair of
the Climate Action Working Group has provided me with invaluable insights into the inner workings of CAP. These roles have allowed me to engage with a broad spectrum of stakeholders, from grassroots planners to global policymakers. Representing CAP at the UN- Habitat Assembly2 in Nairobi in 2023 was a defining moment, reinforcing the significance of our work within the global planning landscape. In my role as Chair of the Women in Planning Network, I was profoundly reminded of the pivotal role that inclusivity and gender equity play in shaping the future of our profession. As a prospective President of CAP, I am unwavering in my commitment to elevate these principles, ensuring that CAP not only endorses but exemplifies standards of diversity and inclusion. Concurrently, my tenure as the Co-Chair of the Climate Action Working Group has accentuated the imperative to embed climate considerations into the very fabric of our planning ethos. As we deal with the challenges of climate change, our response must be characterized by visionary, innovative, and collective action. As President, I am determined to channel the insights and expertise I've garnered from these roles, positioning CAP as a global forerunner in climate-adaptive planning and broader sustainability thinking.
Vision for Membership and Education: The planning profession thrives on evidence-based decision-making. By tapping into the latest research, we can provide our members with insights into emerging trends, challenges, and opportunities. This not only enhances the quality of their work but also positions them as thought leaders in their respective domains. As President, I would advocate for partnerships with leading research institutions and think tanks, ensuring that CAP remains a repository of the most recent and relevant knowledge. I would also advocate for knowledge-sharing, as we see ample examples across the Commonwealth, of planners implementing innovative solutions to complex challenges. By disseminating these best practices, we can foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement. This would involve creating platforms for members to share their successes and learnings, facilitating cross-pollination of ideas and strategies.
I am deeply motivated to serve as the President of the Commonwealth Association of Planners. I believe that my muti-national experiences, diverse responsibilities within CAP, coupled with my vision for our profession, make me uniquely suited for this role. Together, we can chart a course for CAP that is rooted in collaboration, education, and knowledge sharing, ensuring that our association remains a beacon of excellence in the global planning community.
Dr. Peter Geraghty
Royal Town Planning Institute
I have been a strong supporter of the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) throughout my career. I passionately believe it plays an important role in promoting planning internationally. I was proud to be the RTPI Representative to CAP in 2018- 2020. I fully understand the Association and the contribution it makes to planning across the Commonwealth. During my term as CAP Representative, I helped raise the profile and awareness of CAP in the UK and internationally. During my term, I worked hard to promote the interests of CAP. For example, in 2018, I wrote the first blog for the CAP website to promote the CAP Planning Awards in Cape Town: CAP Celebrates Planning Success | cap-website (commonwealthplanners.org)
I also spoke at the Plan Africa Conference (2018). As CAP Representative I had responsibility for CAP’s social media output. I was involved in the CAP future leaders programme and I have worked on a range of CAP issues, and taken part in CAP meetings working with groups such as the Princes Foundation.
I also contributed to the preparation of CAP’s revised Strategic Plan during my time as RTPI Representative to CAP. I have a strong commitment to the Strategic Plan including working to foster strategic, collaborative partnerships to promote good planning.
I have a long-standing commitment to working on behalf of CAP and feel that there is more to be done in promoting the Association and its work including ensuring planning is a respected, valued and inclusive profession, which is why I am standing for the role.
I was President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) in 2013-14, and know the importance of promoting the profession internationally. As RTPI President, I worked with presidents from other international institutes including CAP. I know the role of being president and am confident I can bring valuable insight and experience to the position of CAP President. My RTPI presidential theme was entitled ‘proud of planning and proud of planners’ which was a campaign to promote professional planning and advocated for the value of planning. I believe, that as CAP President, I can promote planning across the Commonwealth and advance professional planning through advocacy, capacity building and sharing knowledge.
I have valuable experience in a number of international roles. This experience will enable me to advocate for the profession and share knowledge. An example of this advocacy is from the time I was chair of the RTPI’s International Committee 2013-17. During my time as Chair, we produced several international publications: The Worldwide Value of Planning, Delivering Better Development, and A Guide to Working Internationally.
As chair of the International Committee, I collaborated closely with both the current CAP president and previous two past presidents and Secretary General of CAP to progress issues of joint interest to the RTPI and CAP.
I recognise the importance of capacity building and as Chair of the RTPI International Committee; I have met planners from a number of different jurisdictions including Australia, China, Kenya, Myanmar, Palestine, and the USA. This included discussions on a range of international planning issues. In my various roles, I have sought to promote the profession and share good practice including giving presentations to the New Zealand Planning Institute (London Branch) and Chinese delegations. I have spoken at the American Planning Association, National Conference in New York, (2017); Seminar on Urban Challenges across the Commonwealth at University College London, (2017); Planning Africa, Cape Town, South Africa (2018) and ECTP- CEU Biennial in Cascais (2013) and Plymouth (2019). I have also attended a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on China. I have a detailed understanding of the work of CAP and I met regularly with CAP presidents and the Secretary General to discuss joint issues of interest.
I was the RTPI Representative on Global Planners’ Network (GPN) 2013-17. In that role I chaired the quarterly GPN meeting, bringing together colleagues from institutes in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, CAP and ECTP- CEU. I am experienced in working with planning professionals across the Commonwealth.
As the RTPI representative on the UK Built Environment Advisory Group on Humanitarian Issues (UKBEAG), I worked with fellow institutions on a range of international issues. I represented UKBEAG at the Global Alliance for Urban Crisis summit.
As RTPI representative on UKBEAG, I have worked with fellow institutions on a range of international issues. I attended the Global Alliance for Urban Crisis summit in Brussels to represent UKBEAG. I participated in the RIBA International week in 2017. I also collaborated with colleagues in IFHP, International Society of City and Regional Planners and WUC. The objective of UKBEAG to provide a conduit for globally sharing built environment experience with humanitarian and development agencies.
I have excellent communication and diplomatic skills including a play a thought leadership role internationally: writing and blogging on a number of global planning issues. I have written several blogs on planning, advocating good planning practice as well as support for the planning profession. I have also written a number of articles in planning journals over the years sharing knowledge and experience.
At the RTPI, I was a member of the Equal Opportunities (Race) Panel 1997-2009 working for many years to promote inclusivity and equity. The publication of Delivering Better Development in 2015 also promoted the importance of planning in addressing poverty and inequality.
I can bring the following attributes to the role:
A passion for planning and advocacy of good professional practice
A belief in the value of the importance of the Commonwealth Association of Planners
A strong personal commitment to inclusivity and equality
A passion for promoting and enabling planning to be a respected, valued and inclusive profession
Strong leadership skills
Experience of presidential roles
Track record working collaboratively with institutions and organisations
Intimate knowledge of the Commonwealth Association of Planners
An International reputation with a wide network
Experience of chairing with excellent diplomatic skills
I have a long-held interest in, and passion for, international planning.
Immediate impact being able to take up the role straight away.
Nominees for Board of Trustees
Mr. Ian Eric Tant
Royal Town Planning Institute
I am seeking election as a Board Trustee for CAP so that I may continue to serve the Association and to help complete the introduction of the new governance arrangements that I have worked conscientiously to help bring into effect.
I am a Chartered Town Planner (RTPI Member) with 44 years’ planning experience in the public and private sectors. I have a wealth of experience to bring to the CAP Board, having been an equity Partner in a major UK planning and design consultancy (Barton Willmore LLP) for 26 years, for 10 of which I was the Senior Partner. I was a Board Trustee for the RTPI from 2017 to 2021 (a comparable role to that of CAP Board Trustee) and President of the Institute in
2019/20. I continue to serve as a Trustee of the RTPI Trust, a charity established by the Institute to provide support to planners in difficulties.
From April 2020 to April 2023 I was the RTPI’s representative on CAP, serving an active role on the Executive Committee and as chair for the Governance Committee, leading the review of the governance and Constitution of the Association. Since early 2023, I have served on the Interim Board, preparing papers for both meetings of the Assembly. I have played an active role in supporting the work of the President and Secretary-General and have made presentations on behalf of CAP to (online) international meetings.
As I no longer act as Board Trustee or CAP Representative for the RTPI, I have no difficulty in putting the interests of CAP first in any matters relating to the Association.
I have already been fulfilling the role of Board Trustee and would be honoured to continue to serve for a term of 2 years.
Mr. Mohammad Fazle Reza Sumon
Bangladesh Institute of Planners
I'm Planner Fazle Reza Sumon, a candidate for the Board Trustee of CAP for the year 2024 and 2025 Election, which will take place on November 8th, 2023. I studied at the Khulna University completing Bachelor of Urban and Rural Planning in 1999 and Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) in 2005. I have been a Fellow of the Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) since 2010.
I am a practicing planner holding the position of Senior Planner and head of Planning in TROYEE associates, a private consultancy firm that works mainly in the Asia region. I provide planning advice for many major urban planning agencies, central and local government and private clients of Bangladesh. Presently, I’m working as Team Leader of Climate Resilient and Green Action Plan (CRGAP) for the Hazaribagh and Lalbagh Area of the Dhaka South City Corporation, implemented by RAJUK (capital development and regulatory authority of Dhaka) with the financial assistance from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) through the technical assistance from GIZ and GAP Fund. Before that I worked as Team Leader of Preparation of Development Plan Kushtia Sadar Upazila, Kushtia District imp as Team Leader as Team Leader implemented by Urban Development Directorate (UDD) and Preparation of Local Area Plan and Feasibility Study for Short-Term Measures of Newly Included 18 Wards of Dhaka North City Corporation. Last 22 years I'm engaging myself in the physical planning practices at government and private levels.
As extracurricular activities, I'm representing myself as current President of 15th Executive Board of Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP). I was also acted as the Vice-President of 12th & 13th BIP’s Executive Board and as Joint- Secretary of 9th BIP’s Executive Board and Member (Membership Affairs) of 8th BIP’s Executive Board.
Thanking you with regards,
Planner Fazle Reza Sumon
BIP Membership – F229
Manifesto for CAP Board Trustee (2024-2025) Election
Assist the President and Secretary General of the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) in promoting the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) globally and ensuring that every planner in the Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) and across the Commonwealth recognizes that they have a voice in the international planning discourse.
Encouraging and promoting urban planning at all levels in Bangladesh with the assistance of the CAP. Establishing the sigificace of the National Physical Planning Authority and assuring the importance of physical infrastructure planning in all government and nongovernment sectors to the country's overall development.
CAP must take the lead in establishing a gold standard for equity, diversity, and inclusion in the planning profession and the built environment. I like to contribute the board as Trustee Board member.
Assist President and Secretary General of CAP for organizing a Planning Convention with the participation of planners from around the world every two years, as well as introducing the Young Planners Network and the Women's Planers Network. Twice a year, meet with the planners in a different locations/region.
Mr. Bryce Julyan
Te Kōkiringa Taumata – New Zealand Planning Institute
For over two decades I have held leadership roles in Beca, a NZ-based multi-disciplinary consultancy that operates largely across the Asia Pacific, most recently as the Practice Lead for Planning, Communications and Engagement.
I served on NZPI National Council as Hon. Treasurer. NZPI Board established in 2012 and I served as Chair (President role) for two terms (until 2018).
2014-2023 Served as CAP Vice President for Australasia-Pacific then VP for NZPI (and Pacific Champion).
2016, convenor of CAP’s Business Meeting and Conference in Fiji, following Habitat III. Outcomes included CAPs Fiji Declaration and launch of the Rapid Planning Toolkit.
2018, UN Habitat World Urban Forum (WUF9), Malaysia - led one of the working parties for establishing P4CA (Planners for Climate Action). https://www.planners4climateaction.org/
2018, Review of Planning Methodologies in the Eastern Caribbean (post hurricane) - CAP, Caribbean Planners Association (CPA), and Caribbean Network for Urban Land management (CNULM). One of three practitioners from CAP member organisations who undertook the review.
“The study conclusions are relevant across many other parts of the Commonwealth especially those areas with similar characteristics and challenges such as small islands in the Pacific and elsewhere.” - Clive Harridge, Secretary-General, CAP
2019, Fifth Pacific Urban Forum (PUF5), Fiji – convened session on Urban Land Use. Co- chaired side events promoting professional collaboration in the Pacific and development of the Fiji Planners Association (FiPA);
2019, hosted Prince’s Foundation Director, Ben Bolgar, in Auckland and attended a meeting with the Prince of Wales (now HM King Charles III).
2020-23 Editorial committee on commemorative book celebrating CAPs 50th and the future of Sustainable Urbanisation.
By working together under a common umbrella with a common language CAP provides us with the ability to share knowledge, build partnerships, collaborate on initiatives and develop tools that are useful to our members across the Commonwealth.
Strategically, with UN ECOSOC status we now have a stronger ability to influence and deliver on the SDGs. Rapid urbanisation and climate change are the most challenging issues for our members - in particular, providing for the most vulnerable or indigenous communities (leaving no one behind). Promoting capacity building and supporting professional recognition for planners/planning remains a key objective.
Mr. Stephen John Harness
Royal Town Planning Institute
Through my involvement in CAP as a Board member I aim to focus on two areas, capacity building through networks of planners sharing their experience and mutually supporting their development and increasing the influence of the association.
I have over 30 years of experience of Town Planning across a wide range of types and all sizes of schemes up to new Garden Villages, in the public and private sectors, from policy to implementation. I’m an enthusiastic champion of planning through my involvement in professional bodies. I was pleased to be elected a fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 2020 after many years of active involvement in the institute including being on regional activities committees supporting capacity building and on the General Assembly. Most recently I have been chairing the SE Awards for Planning Excellence to increase the profile of planning. I am also the Deputy Head of Profession – Planning and Development for Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). As part of that role, I promote cross government working between planners and support their development. My role for DIO not only means I have led planning of major projects across the four UK nations but also, across the world in as diverse locations as Cyprus, Belize and the Falkland Islands. I was also awarded the fellowship of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in recognition of my international research into planning.
During my time on the Royal Town Planning Institute’s International Committee, I was pleased to help introduce and support the inaugural international awards. I helped diversify representation on the committee and increased the profile of its work.
Should I be successfully elected to the board I aim to use that experience to help build upon the existing good work to champion excellent examples of planning from across the world.
Mr. Darren Stuart Crombie
Planning Institute of Australia
I have been fortunate to have served with PIA as the Vice President representing Australia since 2018. During this time, I have been a regular and active participant in CAP Executive meetings and I have been part of the working group that undertook the CAP Governance review. These experiences have given me a broad understanding of CAP but have also deepened my understanding of the role of planning and the challenges faced by planners across the Commonwealth.
I have served on the National Board of the Planning Institute of Australia since 2014. I have been a Vice President and the Chair of the Institute’s Policy and Advocacy Committee for 6 years. For the last three years I have been the National President of the Planning Institute of Australia and the Chair of the Institute’s governing Board. I have also been a Board Director for my company and on the Board of a jointly funded Government and University business incubator. I am also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
My strong interest in governance coupled with my real world experience of Board directorship including Chairing the Board of a national planning institute, makes me well placed to serve as a Board Trustee for CAP.
As CAP moves forward with its reformed governance structure, I am keenly interested in helping to embed the change to the new operating modal and feel I am well experienced and well qualified to help lead that transition as a CAP Board Trustee.
As a board member, I would aim to work cooperatively and collaboratively with colleagues from around the Commonwealth. In doing this I would hope to see CAP growth and prosper and to see planners from across the Commonwealth working to make the world a better place for all.
Dr. Sepideh Hajisoltani
Royal Town Planning Institute
I would like to take this opportunity and express my interest in joining the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) Board. I have been a Full Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) since 2019 and I am currently the Chair of the Scottish Young Planners Steering Group Network (SYPN) for 2023. I have truly enjoyed my SYPN experience and I am very keen to represent young planners in a wider context on the CAP Board. As someone who comes from an ethnic minority in the UK and has navigated the professional planning route with a non-planning degree, I am a strong advocate for diversity in the planning sector. I have a multidisciplinary background in the built environment in the areas of planning, conservation, architecture and community-based development. The combination of my practical town planning experience gained as a result of working with a planning authority in the UK and my recent academic research activities as part of my PhD experience in Northumbria University carrying out extensive research on future cities have allowed me to develop a very good understanding of the planning issues we face at this time. I have worked in different contexts over the years and have the experience of working in public, private and third sector in different geographies. I believe this diverse experience will be a great asset for me in supporting the CAP President and the Secretary-General in leading and managing the Association and I look forward to contributing to its success.
Dr. Jihad Bitar
Canadian Institute of Planners
I have over 20 years of experience in policy development, transit-oriented development, community planning, urban design, architecture, land development, and project management, and I am an award-winning planning professional.
I'm a Senior Planner at Calgary's City, working in urban design. I hold a Ph.D. and a Master's in City Planning and Urban Design from Kyushu University and a Bachelor's in Architecture from Damascus University.
I am a passionate planner dedicated to building resilient cities in Canada and the Commonwealth. I have volunteered with CAP and CIP and am a frequent guest speaker at the University of Calgary. My diverse experiences and multilingual skills make him an asset to the CAP Board of Trustees, as they work with a diverse and expanding community of planners.
We are facing challenging times that are impacting us both personally and professionally. Some of us are struggling to find work, while others are worried about the health and well-being of their loved ones. However, we all share a common challenge of trying to improve ourselves and help others on this journey.
I want to join the CAP Board of Trustees to serve the association's members and be their voice. My platform is to build upon CAP's achievements and ensure its members are well taken care of.
As a board member, I aim to promote the importance of belonging in the planning industry by actively seeking to broaden, diversify, and increase the number of volunteers in CAP. Doing so can provide more growth and educational opportunities to all association members.
Furthermore, I plan to increase participation in discussions and learning opportunities while aligning them with the professional development needs of our times. I plan to act as a change-maker and help evolve the professional institute by building and leveraging relationships with universities, industry professionals, and organizations.
Prof. Elizelle Juanee Cilliers (Jua)
South African Planning Institute
Having had the privilege to previously serve as the Chair of the CAP Women in Planning Network and currently as the CAP Co-Chair of the Climate Action Working Group, my journey with CAP has been both enriching and transformative. These roles have not only deepened my understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the planning profession across the Commonwealth, but have also ignited a passion to further contribute at a strategic level. It is with this enthusiasm that I express my interest in serving as a board member for CAP.
My tenure as Chair of the Women in Planning Network underscored the importance of inclusivity and gender equity in our profession. As a board member, I am committed to furthering this agenda, ensuring that CAP remains at the forefront of championing diversity and inclusion. Simultaneously, my role as Co-Chair of the Climate Action Working Group has reinforced the urgency of integrating climate considerations into every facet of planning. The existential threat of climate change demands proactive, innovative, and collaborative solutions. I am eager to bring the insights and experiences from this role, ensuring that CAP remains a leader in climate-responsive planning.
The combined knowledge and experience of CAP's vast network of professional planners present an unparalleled opportunity. I envision a future where this collective strength is harnessed to address the most pressing challenges of our time, from urbanization to sustainability. As a board member, I aim to foster collaborations, drive strategic initiatives, and ensure that the role of planners is not just recognized but celebrated for the transformative impact they bring to communities. My experiences within CAP have prepared me to contribute effectively at a strategic level. I am deeply motivated to serve on the board, furthering CAP's mission of advancing professional planning across the Commonwealth and beyond.
Prof. Plan. Lawrence S. Esho
Kenya Institute of Planners
Prof. Plan Lawrence Esho is a former President and Vice President of the Kenya Institute of Planners (KIP) and CAP, respectively, having served two consecutive terms from 2016 to 2020. With a distinguished career spanning over 25 years in the public, private and academic sectors, Esho brings to CAP the requisite knowledge, skills, aspirations, leadership and ambition that is necessary to push CAP to the next level. A passionate Planner, Professor, and promoter of the Planning profession in Kenya and around the world, his profound practical and theoretical knowledge of the contours, opportunities and constraints of Planning profession and education, globally, qualifies him to articulately make a case for Planning and Planners at the highest level. He espouses the need for top level education, professionalism and integrity for Planners, and demonstrates an active willingness to walk the extra mile of advocacy and volunteerism. Prof. Esho is a seasoned mobiliser and go- getter whose efforts not only saw the restructuring and doubling of KIP membership within his tenure, but also saw KIP develop expanded synergies with the government of Kenya and other partners. While KIP is still a young Institute, the seeds planted by Esho during his turn at the helm has placed it in good stead and assured its fast-paced trajectory for growth. During that time, he also made headways into the African continent by becoming a member and champion of the Association of African Planning Schools (AAPS), which is a pan-African organization that seeks to advance effective Planning education that responds to the development needs of Africa. Esho is a hardworking, diligent and respectful person with excellent interpersonal and communication skills. His confidence, eloquence and drive are key qualities for high-level representation. He commits to effectively serve as a Board Trustee with diligence, passion and dignity.
Datuk Ismail bin Ibrahim
Malaysian Institute of Planners
As a Board Trustee, I shall uphold the objectives of the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) and promote the importance of town planning in nation building.
My experience spans over more than 35 years in the public and private sector, involving several landmark planning and development projects. I will be able to share the knowledge and lessons learnt for the benefit of the Board, the Association and members.
My interests are in regional development, local government, planning law and administration, land use control and heritage conservation. My special skills are in investment driven economic development, catalytic innovation infrastructure development and public sector institutional reform. It would be a huge advantage to CAP if I can bring these items in many of the conversations with member nations with the view to create awareness and exchange knowledge in dealing with town planning issues.
I strongly believe that for a city, region or nation to grow sustainably, it has to continuously innovate and transform. I am of the view that inclusive growth involved economic gains with social benefits and environmental protection. Community involvement, including the minority and youth, forms an integral part of the planning process which in turn will minimise any unintended consequences to growth.
Based on the above I offer myself to stand for the post of Board Trustee. My experience, knowledge and skills are well suited for the role which will blend well with other Board Trustees.
Dr. Peter Geraghty
Royal Town Planning Institute
I have been a strong supporter of the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) throughout my career. I believe it plays an important role in promoting planning internationally. I was the RTPI Representative to CAP in 2018-2020. I fully understand CAP and the contribution it makes. As RTPI Representative I helped raise the profile and awareness of CAP in the UK and internationally. In 2018, I wrote the first blog for the CAP website promoting the Planning Awards
in Cape Town: CAP Celebrates Planning Success | cap-website (commonwealth-planners.org) I also had responsibility for CAP’s social media output.
I feel that there is more to do in promoting CAP and its work, which is why I have applied for the role.
I have valuable experience in several international roles. I was chair of the RTPI’s International Committee 2013-17. We published - The Worldwide Value of Planning, Delivering Better Development, and A Guide to Working Internationally. I was RTPI Representative on Global Planners’ Network (GPN) 2013-17. I chaired the quarterly GPN meetings, bringing together colleagues from institutes in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, CAP and Europe.
As RTPI representative on the UK Built Environment Advisory Group on Humanitarian Issues (UKBEAG), I worked with fellow institutions on a range of international issues. I represented UKBEAG at the Global Alliance for Urban Crisis summit in Brussels.
I am experienced in working with international planning professionals and have a detailed understanding of CAP’s work. I met regularly with CAP Presidents and Secretary General to discuss joint issues of interest.
I have been a Trustee for the RTPI and other organisations. I was also a member of the RTPI Equal Opportunities Panel 1997-2009 promoting inclusivity and equity.
I have a strong commitment to CAP’s Strategic Plan, which I helped, update when CAP Representative.
If you have been appointed by your planning institute to vote in the election, please make sure to submit your ballots no later than 31 October at 24:00 GMT.
Ratification of the election results will occur at CAP’s General Assembly meeting on 10 November at the Putrajaya City Corporation Council Chambers 1 in Malaysia from 8:00 - 10:00 GMT+8 (Midnight to 02:00 UK time). This will be a hybrid meeting so if you are not able to attend in person, we ask you to join us online (details for online attendance will be provided soon). If you are unable to attend either option, our office will provide you with a Proxy Appointment Form.
The President and Board of Trustees will commence their appointments on 1 January 2024.
A big thank you to the Malaysian Institute of Planners Nation Planning Congress for hosting the General Assembly meeting this year. The Congress is taking place on 8-9 November, and you can find out more information about attending on our Events Calendar or on their website at https://mip.org.my/.