Dame Jo da Silva, engineer

Dame Jo da Silva, engineer

By BBC Radio 4

Dame Jo da Silva is a structural engineer and disaster relief specialist. Her humanitarian work has taken her from Sri Lanka in the wake of the Tsunami to Pakistan and Haiti to help with their post-earthquake recovery.

Jo was born in Washington DC where her father was a diplomat. As a child she enjoyed making things including buildings for her brother’s train set. After graduating from Cambridge University she joined design and engineering firm Arup where her first assignment involved working with Lord Norman Foster on a design for bus shelters.

She went on to work on the Ondaatje Wing at the National Portrait Gallery and Hong Kong’s International Airport on the island of Chek Lap Kok.

In 1994 she went to Tanzania where she worked in the refugee camps which had sprung up after the genocide in Rwanda. She devised a road system which transformed the delivery of food, water and medical supplies. After this experience she decided to devote her energies to crisis and disaster projects and in 2007 she founded Arup International Development, a not-for-profit business which designs buildings and infrastructure to help vulnerable and displaced people around the world. In 2021 she received a Damehood in the New Year’s Honours list for her contribution to humanitarian relief.

DISC ONE: Sound And Vision (Remastered) by David Bowie DISC TWO: Clarinet Concerto in A, K.622:2 Adagio, composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by Jack Brymer (clarinet), Allegri Quartet (string quartet), London Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Sir Colin Davis DISC THREE: All The World is Green by Tom Waits DISC FOUR: Weird Fishes / Arpeggi by Radiohead DISC FIVE: Shudder / King Of Snake by Underworld DISC SIX: Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell DISC SEVEN: Not Dark Yet by Bob Dylan DISC EIGHT: Crying Shame by Jack Johnson

BOOK CHOICE: ‘The Boardman Tasker Omnibus’ by Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker LUXURY ITEM: A charpoi (traditional Indian rope bed) CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: All The World is Green by Tom Waits

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