Dr. Laila Iskander was the Minister of State for Urban Renewal and Informal Settlements in Egypt from July 2014-September 2015 and before that served as Minister of State for Environmental Affairs in the two cabinets following the June 30th Revolution. Prior to holding public office she was a leading member of civil society both nationally and internationally, working with grass roots communities in informal urban settlements and deprived villages in Upper Egypt as well as being part of global networks addressing issues of Urban Poverty. She was Chairperson of CID Consulting from 1995 - 2013, which was awarded the "Social Entrepreneur of the Year" award in 2006 at the World Economic Forum by the Schwab Foundation. She studied economics, political science at Cairo University, Near Eastern studies and international education development at UC Berkeley, California and Columbia University, N.Y. Her international assignments have included serving as jury to UNESCO’s International Literacy Prize, acting as Unesco’s Resource Person for the Arab region since 2005 on the United Nations Literacy Decade - UNLD - and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Decade, and served as CIDA’s Education Advisor in Egypt.
She worked on issues of informality of dwelling and livelihood for over 30 years, with a focus on the informal waste sector building on recycling SME's and value chain analysis. Her work links up to global networks of recycling organizations and informal settlements.