Penn IUR Honors Leaders in Urban Food Systems at the Ninth Annual Urban Leadership Forum

The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) hosts the 9th Annual Urban Leadership Forum on Wednesday March 13th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm to celebrate exemplary leaders in the effort to build resilient, food-secure, and livable cities. The Penn IUR Urban Leadership Award is awarded annually to urban leaders who have made outstanding contributions to urban scholarship and to building cities that successfully respond to the challenges of the 21st Century. Media must RSVP by email to Deborah Lang ( by COB Tuesday, March 12th.

The 9th annual Penn IUR Urban Leadership Forum will also launch the March 13th -15thFeeding Cities: Food Security in a Rapidly Urbanizing World conference. For more information on this university-wide conference, visit, or to register for the Forum only, visit This year’s Urban Leadership Forum will examine the impact of urbanization on agriculture, diets, and food security. Penn IUR is proud to announce this year’s awardees: Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT and former Mayor of Barcelona, Spain; Yael Lehmann, Executive Director of The Food Trust; and Ridwan Kamil, Founder and Principal of Urbane Indonesia.

Joan Clos is the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) at the level of Undersecretary-General by the United Nations General Assembly. Dr. Clos took office at the Programme’s headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya on October 18, 2010. Prior to joining UN-Habitat, Dr. Clos was twice elected Mayor of Barcelona serving two terms during the years 1997–2006. He was appointed Minister of Industry, Tourism, and Trade of Spain in 2006 to 2008. In this role, he helped rationalize the Iberian Energy Market in line with European Union Policies. Prior to joining the United Nations, he served as Spanish Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan. At the international level, he was elected President of Metropolis, the international network of cities, in 1998. Two years later, he was elected President of the World Association of Cities and Local Authorities, (WACLAC). Between 2000 and 2007, Dr. Clos served as Chairman of the United Nations Advisory Committee of Local Authorities, (UNACLA), and between 1997 and 2003, he was member of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, (CEMR). Dr. Clos has received a number of awards, which include a gold medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1999 for transforming Barcelona. In 2002, he won the UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour Award for encouraging global cooperation between local authorities and the United Nations.

Yael Lehmann serves as Executive Director of The Food Trust, a nonprofit, founded in 1992, that strives to make healthy food available to all. The Food Trust’s work has been recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama, and described by Time Magazine as being a “remarkable success.” The Food Trust has been the recipient of many national and local awards including the Human Rights Award for a Nonprofit Organization from the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations for fostering intergroup harmony and cultural understanding among communities. Before becoming Executive Director of The Food Trust in 2006, Yael served as Associate Director and Deputy Director since 2001. In her tenure at The Food Trust, Ms. Lehmann has directed the growth of the organization’s farmers’ markets, nutrition education programs, food retail development initiatives, and other programs to promote access to affordable, nutritious food in low-income communities.

Ridwan Kamil is Founder and Principal of Urbane Indonesia (UI). Since founding UI in 2004, he has received the International Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year award from the British Council Indonesia (2006), and UI has been honored in the Building Design Business category of the BCI Asia Top 10 Awards for three consecutive years (2008, 2009, 2010). Among the high-profile international projects completed by UI is the Aceh Tsunami Museum in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. He also serves as a lecturer in the Department of Architecture, Bandung Institute of Technology. As an individual and through the work of UI, he is committed to grass-roots urban design that empowers urban poor populations and he has been a pioneer in the “Indonesia Berkebun” movement to build amateur gardens in cities across Indonesia. As of 2011, the community project is established in fourteen cities in Indonesia, with membership approaching 4,000.

Penn IUR is proud to honor the work of these exceptional leaders in its annual Urban Leadership Forum. Since 2005, Penn IUR has awarded 24 urban innovators including Derek R.B. Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement, University of Chicago and former Special Assistant to President Barack Obama, White House Domestic Policy Council; Paul Levy, President and CEO, Philadelphia’s Center City District; Lily Yeh, Global Artist and Founder, Barefoot Artists; Raphael Bostic, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Jane Golden, Executive Director, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program; Shirley Franklin, Mayor, City of Atlanta, GA; Parris Glendening, President, Smart Growth Leadership Institute, and former Governor, Maryland; Bruce Katz, Vice President and Founding Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution; William Hudnut III, Senior Fellow Emeritus, Urban Land Institute, and former Mayor, Indianapolis, IN; Joseph P. Riley, Jr., Mayor, City of Charleston, SC; and Donna Shalala, President, University of Miami and former Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.