In 1981, Barry Pinsky worked with Cuso International’s David Beer and the Mazingira Institute to launch a network of NGOs and individuals working on human settlement issues in Africa. Barry helped organize a conference that attracted NGOs from 12 African countries—and led to the formation of the Settlements Information Network Africa (SINA), an organization that raises awareness of human settlements issues sector in the region.
Trained as an architect and urban planner, Barry’s second placement was at the National Institute for Physical Planning in Mozambique. Here, Barry developed critical guidelines for urban land use planning and management, which helped 15 large cities and towns navigate their development in the post-independent country.
Upon his return to Canada, Barry helped found Rooftops Canada–Abri International, an organization that works with partners to improve housing conditions and build sustainable communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. Barry was the first Executive Director of Rooftops Canada, a role that he has grown in over the past 33 years.
Barry has been honoured to receive a variety of awards recognizing his efforts, including the 2010 CMHC Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cooperative Housing. In 2017, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada awarded Barry the Meritorious Service Medal, which recognizes extraordinary contributions in a variety of fields.
Today, Barry divides his time between Prince Edward County, Toronto and Johannesburg.