Seema Iyer

Seema Iyer

Non-Partner Organization: 

Senior Director of the Hive at USA for UNHCR

Seema D. Iyer, PhD is Senior Director of the Hive at USA for UNHCR. The Hive is the innovation lab responsible for bringing data science, machine learning and new technologies into the organization’s operations to enhance fundraising for refugees. Seema began her career focused on urban migration patterns after the collapse of the Former Soviet Union and how cities planned for changing population realities. She is a contributor to the 2008 book Migration, Homeland and Belonging in Eurasia.

However, for the past 18 years, she has developed her data science skills to understand neighborhood change in urban areas like Baltimore, her hometown. She was the Director of Research for the City Department of Planning from 2005-2011, and then became Director of the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA) at the University of Baltimore. BNIA is the local partner of the Urban Institute's National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership of sites that provide longitudinal, community based data on demographics, housing, crime, education and sustainability. In 2016, she spearheaded Baltimore’s efforts to localize the newly-adopted UN Sustainable Development Goals. She was a 2017 Nehru-Fulbright scholar to understand how growing cities in India are using the SDGs for furthering economic competitiveness. She co-edited a 2021 book about the use of SDGs in North American Cities Promoting the Sustainable Development Goals in North American Cities. She received the 2020 Dean’s award for Public Service and the 2021 University System of Maryland Regents Award for Excellence in Public Service. She was also named a Baltimore Gamechanger in 2021 by Baltimore Magazine.

She has a doctoral degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan.

Technical Skills: Community engagement