Humans of IHS: Sana Lateef

Humans of IHS is a mini-portrait series that features the people who make IHS a unique place. Many of the urban professionals with common roots at IHS, often describe it as a very welcoming, familiar space, where they not only acquired valuable knowledge for their career, but also formed solid ties and friendships with their peers. This is what drove us to create this mini-series: the wish to give others a glimpse of the amazing people that make IHS special.

Sana is currently doing the Urban Environment, Sustainability & Climate Change Master track at IHS, Erasmus University. She is a mid-career professional from Pakistan who worked as an architect, an urban R & D manager, and a consultant to compute EIA’s for projects independently. She is part of several civil society organizations in Pakistan until this day.

“My drive comes from my passion for bringing change around me while still learning every step of the way. As an architect and now sustainability and climate change urban manager, I would like to save the planet and lives around me.”

As an urban manager, Sana would like to foster community building and empower people to live sustainably and understand how their actions contribute to climate change. She loves the quote by Rumi, “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” She would also like to address surface water urban floods (as she is writing her thesis about it) and how the communities could be empowered and educated to address this issue.

“The IHS environment is so diverse that it’s very hard to pick a single moment.” – says Sana when asked about her favourite IHS memory. She brings up the Gender Elective class that provided her with the opportunity as a woman to have a voice and dive into the gendered nature of urban problems. She also enjoyed the in-class debates, brainstorming ideas, arguments and rebuttals. “I love how the programme is designed to encourage its participants to think critically and invites all to discuss and understand an issue from multiple horizons and thought processes. We also learnt many skills and tools in such a short amount of time that pushed us out of our comfort zones and helped us grow.”

She highlights the diversity of cultures that the IHS classroom brought to her life. “Being a student representative gave me a chance to form exceptional bonds with everyone, and I feel that learning from a cohort with people in their early 20’s to those in their late 50’s has been a very humbling experience.”

When asked about the one thing she cannot live without in the Netherlands, she says:

"I know this is an unpopular opinion, but the unpredictable Dutch weather has made me fall in love with the country and poffertjes (Dutch pancakes) are like little bites from heaven!”

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