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Hung Vo

Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, Masters in Urban Planning

Hung Vo was raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, although he spent seven transformative years in Vietnam as a child. A graduate of Cornell University in Urban and Regional Studies, Hung was the first in his family to graduate high school and attend college. He was originally drawn to issues of social justice after a chance offer to intern at Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law while protesting a racially-charged bill at the Nebraska State Capitol. In college, Hung became interested in how cities can serve as ontological sites for creative adaptations and interventions through policy and design; his thesis explored how well-intentioned planners navigate contentious political and social workplace terrains. He is currently the North American Representative on the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) Youth Advisory Board and a Fellow at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), helping to produce the “Global Environment Outlook” report. He is also an editor of the upcoming UN-Habitat “Cities of Youth: Cities of Prosperity” report and a contributor to its “State of the Urban Youth 2016/2017” report, along with a recently published UN-Habitat Working Paper on youth rights and a peer-reviewed article on the California drought. At Harvard, Hung hopes to hone his skills in urban design and explore how cities can be more beautiful, equitable, and sustainable. In his free time, Hung reads novels, paints, and writes for The Huffington Post. The Payne Fellowship is enabling Hung to pursue a life of purpose by enabling him to help deliver aid and technical assistance to marginalized communities on behalf of the American people.