CAPPA dean selected for UNESCO expert group

Parr named to UNESCO global expert group; receives honor for built environment work

Wednesday, Nov 25, 2020 • Herb Booth : Contact

Adrian Parr, dean of the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs

The dean of the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA) at The University of Texas at Arlington is one of just two U.S. representatives selected for the UNESCO Global Independent Expert Group on Universities.

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

“It is truly an honor being named to this global independent group,” said Dean Adrian Parr. “We are developing a report on the challenges and opportunities universities face in advancing transdisciplinarity and diversity in knowledge and in creating partnerships that advance the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Parr said perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the group is that its membership represents multiple viewpoints, as it includes social scientists, natural scientists, humanists and creatives. A final report of the group will be presented in 2021 at UNESCO’s higher education conference.

“We’re all there to promote education as a common good,” she said. “That’s what higher education is all about, isn’t it?”

The group will broadly address the interplay between research, higher education and sustainable development from a global perspective, and should also address the broader role of universities in outreach.

Parr named senior fellow of Design Futures Council

In addition, the Design Futures Council (DFC) has named Parr as a 2020 senior fellow of the built-environment industry leadership consortium.

The announcement came during the council’s annual Leadership Summit on the Business of Design in November. The DFC “grants senior fellowship to outstanding individuals who have provided noteworthy leadership to the advancement of design, design solutions or design professions.”

“I’m honored and humbled to be included alongside an incredible list of practitioners and thinkers whose work I admire and who have served as an inspiration for me over the years,” Parr said. “My hope is to continue serving the needs of at-risk communities through design, especially in the face of increasing inequity, climatic changes and environmental degradation.”

Pranesh Aswath, UT Arlington interim provost, said Parr’s work is on a global scale.

“She has a major voice in how the built environment is determined around the globe,” Aswath said. “Her work with UNESCO as the chair on Water and Human Settlements is important to survival on this planet.”

Parr is internationally recognized for her work on water access, climate change and vulnerable populations.

The senior fellows program includes some 200 distinguished leaders. To be inducted, candidates must:

  • Have a consistent and successful career in built-environment industry professions extending a minimum of 20 years.
  • Achieve indisputable leadership in business, design, education, technology and/or innovation that has raised the performance of the organizations these professionals have led.
  • Be recognized by peers as bringing their whole selves to the DFC community, offering insights and opinions that count, sharing presentations that move the community and engaging in interpersonal conversations not lost upon the whole.