Global Sustainable Development Leader at Arup, Jo da Silva OBE, appointed Dame in New Year Honours list

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18 January, 2021


Member spotlight



Julia Mitic

Arup civil and structural engineer, Jo da Silva, has received a Damehood as part of the Queen’s New Year Honours list for her contribution to humanitarian relief. Dame Jo has been recognized for establishing Arup International Development (AID) in 2006. The not-for-profit business, sitting within the global engineering and consulting firm, works with local groups, governments and NGOs to reduce risk, enhance resilience and improve the quality of life of vulnerable communities around the world.  

Arup’s international development professionals can call on expertise from the firm’s 16,000+ members – everyone from civil engineers and data scientists to economists and ecologists. AID has been involved in hundreds of projects around the world, including helping countries to implement safer schools, supporting natural disaster recovery and reconstruction and helping cities to increase their resilience and child-friendliness.   

The citation for the award states: “No other individual UK engineer is so personally associated with shifting the approach of a major engineering company to prioritize social outcomes for vulnerable communities in developing countries. She is an extremely effective proponent of the ‘build back better’ philosophy for humanitarian relief, as well as being one of the most successful women structural engineers globally.”

I’ve always been driven by the desire to do something practical to contribute to society and my technical engineering knowledge has helped me do this. However, being a member of Arup has allowed me to bring together expertise from a huge range of disciplines and deploy this for the good of the most vulnerable communities around the world. This honor is very much recognition of the fabric and strength of Arup – an employee-owned firm driven by a social purpose and made up of the brightest minds,” said Jo da Silva.

Dame Jo joined Arup in 1989 as a graduate engineer, and in 2011 she received an OBE in recognition of her contribution to her services to engineering and humanitarian relief. Jo is currently the Global Sustainable Development Leader at Arup.