Rudayna Abdo
Founder and President, Thaki
United Arab Emirates
Founder and President, Thaki

A dynamic leader and strategic thinker with 20+ years of experience, Rudayna is an expert at envisioning, managing, and tailoring solutions to challenging housing, land use, and urban transportation issues across diverse urban geographies including the Gulf region. She is driven by setting up efficient, smart ways to accomplish worthy goals. Her passion lies in empowering people and striving for social equity. She recently established Thaki, an NGO that brings self-paced educational tools to refugee and disadvantaged children through donated electronic devices. Rudayna previously established the urban planning practice for Abu Dhabi based office of Otak Inc. Overseeing strategic planning projects and multiple large master plans valued at over USD 18 million in consulting fees. She also served as a Director at the American Institute of Certified Planners & Professional Development, and prior to that she worked for the City of Minneapolis Planning Department, Markson Borooah Hodgson Architects, Inc., and Perkins & Will.

Board Experience
  • Distribute Aid

  • MIT Arab Alumni Association

  • Lambda Alpha International UAE Chapter & Simcoe Chapter

  • American Planning Association

  • Student Scholarship Trust Fund

  • Canadian Institute of Planners

  • American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)

  • Canadian Institute of Planners, Member (MCIP)

  • Pearl Qualified Professional (PQP – Communities)

Professional Affiliations
  • American Planning Association

  • Canadian Institute of Planners

  • Lambda Alpha International

Activities, Recognition, Awards
  • TEDx AmsterdamEd 2017 Award winner

Notable Speaking Engagements
  • TEDx AmsterdamEd

  • Averroes Academy (Arab Center for Scientific Research and Humane Studies) working group member, Istanbul: Integration of Refugees from Humanitarian Crisis to Development Challenge – participant and speaker

  • GEMS Academy Abu Dhabi Global Initiatives Network conference – speaker

  • Greenlight4Girls STEM event in Campion School, Athens – speaker

  • American Community School in Abu Dhabi LEADS program – speaker

  • Labdoo 2017 conference, Barcelona – speaker

  • Future Landscape and Public Realm Conference: Personalizing our Public Spaces: To Everyone’s Benefit; Abu Dhabi, UAE, February 2015

  • Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi: Guest lecturer on Housing in the GCC; Abu Dhabi, UAE, September 2014

  • Iraq Housing Summit: Housing in Emerging Middle Eastern Cities (IQPC); Dubai, UAE, March 2014

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