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Space Era Wins World Trade Centers Association Foundation's 2021-2022 'Peace Through Trade' Student Competition

Space Era Wins World Trade Centers Association Foundation's 2021-2022 'Peace Through Trade' Student Competition

Architect student initiative aims to address the global housing crisis faced by people forcibly displaced

NEW YORK, Nov. 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The World Trade Centers Association® Foundation (WTCAF) is proud to announce architectural shelter-tech start-up, Space Era, as the winner of its third annual "Peace Through Trade" Student Competition.

Space Era CEO and founder Kaif Ali and Head of Operations Abhishek Kumar.
Space Era CEO and founder Kaif Ali and Head of Operations Abhishek Kumar.

The competition program is designed to identify and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders from the 300-plus cities where a World Trade Center® (WTC®)-branded business is located. Student teams are invited to present original projects, products or other innovative ideas that exemplify and promote social innovation and sustainability through collaboration, fair trade, and ethical international business practices by addressing at least one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

New for the third annual competition, in collaboration with the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), the program was open to students around the world — including the UNAI's vibrant and diverse network of more than 1,400 member institutions in more than 147 countries that reach over 25 million people, comprised of students, academics, scientists, researchers, think tanks, institutions of higher education, continuing education and educational associations.

"The submissions to the annual WTCAF 'Peace Through Trade' student competition are always inspirational, and this year's winners are no exception," said Andrea Garwood, Chair of the WTCAF Board of Directors. "This competition allows innovative entrepreneurial students to share their vision with a global professional network of key leaders and the WTCA community, and helps us to fulfill our mission of bringing peace through trade. We would like to thank all participants for their valuable contribution to this year's competition." 

The winner, Space Era, is an initiative that aims to address the global housing crisis faced by people forcibly displaced during the pandemic, climate change and other humanitarian emergencies. Founded by Kaif Ali, an architect student at Jamia Millia Islamia Central University, Space Era will use sustainable materials, technology, cradle-to-cradle strategies, and innovative approaches — such as modular prefab technology, including shipping containers and insulation panels — to provide rapid, affordable housing solutions that ensure the standard of living and humanitarian rights.

The first runner-up, Papaya, aims to improve the menstruation experience by providing quality, sustainable and empowering solutions, as well as breaking menstrual stigma and taboos. Founded by Victoire Ambeza, Shagun Maheshwari and Suhani Jalota, students at Stanford University and Anant National University, Papaya will support menstrual awareness workshops and provide access to safe and sustainable hygiene products throughout low-income communities in India. 

"Space Era is a perfect fit for what the Foundation hopes to achieve with the 'Peace Through Trade Competition.' The WTCA has a large number of members who are focused on real estate, so there is a natural affinity with a project that has its roots in housing solutions. The project is not just about shelter for displaced persons, but instead, it's about providing dignity and privacy while addressing several of the UN SDGs. Calamity knows no borders, so Space Era can scale borders easily and can fully take advantage of the vast WTCA network that encompasses all the continents," added Garwood.

Space Era received a USD $3,000 cash prize to support its foundation, while Papaya was awarded USD $1,500 as the first runner-up. Space Era also has the opportunity to be interviewed by Robin van Puyenbroeck, WTCA Executive Director-Business Development, on the "WTCA Trade Wins" podcast

"We are highly obliged to be selected as the winner of this prestigious competition. Space Era is a perfect B2G youth-led initiative that is contributing towards humanitarian issues with innovative approaches as well as incorporating strategies revolving around the SDGs. Space Era's core mission is to work towards the Universal declaration of human rights "Article 25" to provide a standard of living and basic necessity of a human "HOME." We will utilize the support from the foundation for further research and development of our housing solutions. Moreover, I would like to further invite the foundation and its network to explore work together towards these triggering issues to accelerate our journey to impact society socially, economically and environmentally, and make a perfect case study towards SDG17 "Partnership for the Goals," stated Space Era Founder Kaif Ali.

The 2021-2022 WTCA Foundation "Peace Through Trade" Student Competition winners were announced during the 2022 WTCA Member Forum — held on October 23-25 in New York City — and presented their projects virtually to attendees worldwide. Over two days, nearly 300 registered attendees across more than 120 World Trade Center businesses in 49 countries around the world gathered for this year's hybrid business conference — with 80 attendees in person in New York City for the first time in three years. 

For more information about the WTCAF and its annual Peace Through Trade Competition, visit


World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)
Chanelle Kasik
Phone: +1 212 432 2644

Violet PR
David Margolis
Phone: +1 917 331 4855

About World Trade Centers Association (WTCA)

The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) is a network of more than 300 highly connected, mutually supporting businesses and organizations in 92 countries. As the owner of the "World Trade Center" and "WTC" trademarks, the WTCA licenses exclusive rights to these brands for members to use in conjunction with their independently-owned, iconic properties, facilities and trade services offerings. Through a robust portfolio of events, programming and resources that it offers its members, the goal of the WTCA is to help local economies thrive by encouraging and facilitating trade and investment across the globe through Member engagement. To learn more, visit

About World Trade Centers Association Foundation (WTCAF)

The World Trade Centers Association Foundation (WTCAF) is a private, U.S. tax-exempt, charitable organization (501c) founded in 2007, the mission of which is to conduct programs that promote social welfare in the pursuit and support of activities that foster peace and social stability. The WTCAF makes a difference by encouraging a better understanding of international trade; promoting and developing sustainable farming, energy, and transportation and trading activities; elevating the standard of living in less developed countries; and promoting ethical international business practices. To learn more visit



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