Samer Saliba

Master of Urban Planning

Samer Saliba

How did being in New York impact your professional journey?

Getting my degree in New York allowed me to continue my day job as a professional urban planner, working on projects within the city and beyond. New York really is the ideal place to learn planning, as you have the brightest minds in the field and the best living laboratory. Taking lessons from New York and applying them internationally has really made me a better planner. 

How did you find your first post-Wagner job?

I got my current job because a Wagner friend who had worked in the humanitarian field for several years encouraged me to apply and recommended me for the position. She was getting her MUP because of the increase in urban humanitarian crises, and now it’s my job to use my planning skills to improve urban humanitarian response. We've crossed paths, in a way, and that is exactly what makes Wagner great: you cross paths with so many people headed in a different direction than you. 

How did your Wagner experience prepare you professionally for what you are doing today?

My Wagner experience uniquely prepared me to take my professional experience and apply it in the field of international development generally, and specifically within the humanitarian field. When I applied to Wagner the tag line was "interesting ideas are at the intersection," and that thinking landed me a job where I am very much at the intersection, exploring one of the most interesting and globally relevant problems of our time. For example, 60% of refugees globally and 90% of Syrian refugees live in towns and cities, not refugee camps or rural villages. Addressing their needs means linking my planning skills to the skills of my coworkers at the International Rescue Committee.