Aalia Ismail

Assistant Director, Ministry for National Planning in the Presidency

Aalia Ismail is a member of the secretariat of the National Planning Commission, the newly created division in the Presidency. At only 24, she will contribute, through research and analysis, to drafting a national plan for South Africa, a role that requires an excellent understanding of the country's political, socioeconomic and socio-historical background and issues of social justice. Ismail worked with the team that produced the Green Paper for National Strategic Plannin as well as the medium-term strategic framework for the Presidency. She's also involved in the Presidency's National Spatial Development Perspective, a key instrument in government's drive to ensure greater economic growth, buoyant and sustained job creation and the eradication of poverty. Gauteng's Mandela Rhodes Scholar representative-elect and a member of the Golden Key International Honours Society, Ismail was the 2003 winner of the Arthur Blaxall speech contest and was selected by the Mandela Rhodes Foundation to be interviewed on television programme Carte Blanche for its commemoration of the 20th anniversary of former president Nelson Mandela's release from prison. She is also a former lecturer in political science at the university of KwaZulu-Natal. Pietermaritzburg-born Ismail is currently in her second year of study for a PhD in political science and holds a master's degree in political science and an honours degree in public policy as well as a cum laude undergraduate degree in history and political science. � Mmanaledi Mataboge

Lunch spot: Indigo Blue Moon, Brooklyn, Pretoria