Conference Participants

Ryan Alaniz

Ryan Alaniz (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo) 

Ryan Alaniz is an assistant professor at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo and International Social Science Council fellow. Ryan holds a Masters of Arts in Latin American studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Minnesota. He has won numerous major fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the Public Entity Risk Institute, Society for the Study of Social Problems, and National Science Foundation among others. After spending almost 20 years working on various grassroots development projects in the Global South, his current research investigates the long-term social health (e.g., trust, low crime, participation, etc.) of post-disaster planned communities and how recovery can transform into development. Ryan also volunteers with various national and international organizations including: Engineers Without Borders, The Futbol Project, and Restorative Partners.



Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson

Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson (United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security) 

Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson holds a Degree of Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in the European Program with a major in Ethnology from Södertörn University, Sweden and a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Ethnology or Culture Studies from Gotland University, Sweden. During 2009-2010 she studied at the Universidade Federal Fluminense in Brazil and in June 2011 graduated with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in International Relations from Stockholm University. While completing her university studies. Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson dedicated much of her time working with "Solar Meninos de Luz" an NGO in one of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas as well as representing Stockholm on the national board of the Swedish Association of International Affairs. Before joining the UNU-EHS she completed a six months practical training in 2008 at Star of Hope International in Argentina focused on the development and equal rights of ethnic minority groups in the northern areas of the country. She also concluded an internship at the Swedish Embassy in Brazil in 2011 partly responsible of organizing a seminar on Corporal Punishment of Children with the Ministry of Human Rights and Save the Children Sweden in the Brazilian National Congress. Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson joined the United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) in 2013. She is coordinating the Gibika (Livelihoods) project, a science-to-action project on social resilience in Bangladesh, in collaboration with the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Dhaka and supported by the Munich Re Foundation (MRF).



Christian Barthelt

Christian Barthelt (Munich Re Foundation) 

Mr. Christian Barthelt, born in 1982, started his work as a project manager for the Munich Re Foundation in February 2009. He finished his studies at the LMU Munich in September 2008 and holds a diploma in economic geography (Diplom Wirtschaftsgeograph). He focused on economic-geographical processes in developing countries and on regional business net-works. After graduation and before starting at the Munich Re Foundation he worked as an E-Learning Author for a Munich IT-Service Company. At the Munich Re Foundation he is work-ing on projects related to climate change and disaster risk management. Amongst his projects are the Resilience Academy and the international disaster prevention prize RISK Award.



Malashree Bhargava

Malashree Bhargava (GIZ DETA, Afghanistan) 

Malashree Bhargava is a student and practitioner of humanitarian action and disaster risk management. She possess eight years of work experience in different humanitarian and development organizations such as GIZ and DIPECHO in Afghanistan, UN Peacekeeping mission in Burundi, UNDP, UNFPA and Pratham in India, EC in Belgium and INGOs in Spain. Her first Masters is in International Humanitarian Action as Erasmus Mundus scholarship by European Commission and second Masters is in Political Science and international relations. She has recently completed a professional course in advanced studies in Disaster Risk Reduction from EPFL, Switzerland. Her Master’s thesis is on “Role of Social Capital in natural disasters and guidelines for external agencies” and her dissertation is titled as “Significance and instrumentality of indigenous knowledge and values for effective functioning of humanitarian action” in natural disasters.Her technical interests include research and implementation of local and sustainable strategies for disaster risk reduction, climate change, poverty alleviation and child issues.Malashree believes that Resilience Academy is an excellent forum for interaction between DRR academicians and practitioners working in the field of disaster resilience and livelihoods.



Diana Mojica

Diana Maria Contreras Mojica (University of Salzburg, Austria) 

PhD student at the University of Salzburg, Lecturer in Online Master degree program in GIS/course: GIS, risk and disasters, offered by UNIGIS in Latin America (University of Salzburg and University San Francisco de Quito) since 2012, and advisor for international Students in the Austrian National Union of students (ÖH) since 2014. Researcher at the Centre for Geoinformatics Z_GIS in Austria, between 2009 and 2011. Her PhD research focuses on developing spatial indicators of recovery after earthquakes. She previously worked on creating knowledge frameworks and methods for the assessment of vulnerability for natural hazards in Europe, under MOVE project. Her MSc research was focused on designing spatial planning support systems (SPSS) for emergency response to earthquakes. She holds a MSc degree in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation in the domain of Urban Planning and management from the International Institute for Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) in the Netherlands (2007). She carried out her postgraduate degree studies in the field of risk evaluation and disaster prevention at the Andes University in Colombia (2002). Her bachelor’s degree is in the field of architecture, gained from the National University of Colombia (2001). She received a meritorious mention for her bachelor thesis entitled Assistance coordination centre for disaster management in Bogota D.C. - Colombia. She worked at the District Institute of Risk Management and climate change (IDIGER), in Bogotá D.C., and received training in Incident Command System (ICS), Search And Rescue (SAR) intermediate level, and first responder. She trained about 400 volunteers in building damage survey after earthquakes. She worked as well with private consultants in projects related to business continuity in the national level and disaster prevention in the local level (2001-2007). She worked as volunteer between 2011 and 2013 in a dual language radio program (German and Spanish) aimed at immigrant women living in Salzburg and broadcasted by Radiofabrik. Her work as practitioner and academic has been recognized and honoured not only in Colombia but also in the USA, Austria, UK and China (2001, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014). Her research interests are oriented to: preparedness, emergency response, post-disaster recovery, and resilience.



Nick Cradock-Henry

Nick Cradock-Henry (Landcare Research, New Zealand) 

Nick Cradock-Henry is a research scientist with Landcare Research, one eight New Zealand Crown Research Institutes. At Landcare, Nick’s research is focused on social-ecological resilience, with a particular focus on supporting adaptation to climate change and other stressors within the agricultural sector. His research emphasizes ‘bottom-up’, collaborative and participatory approaches to knowledge production. Nick is a member of the Governance & Policy science team at Landcare, a specialist group within the organization. The focus of the team is on environmental economics and modelling, green growth and business, indigenous Maori research, collaborative governance, science and society research, futures, policy and planning, risk management, geography and low impact urban design. Originally trained as a surficial geologist, he maintains an active research interest in environmental risks and hazards, and social vulnerability, and has conducted research on these topics in the Karakoram Himalaya, investigating debris flow hazards and with respect to flood risks in New Zealand. He holds a PhD in Geography and has diverse experience working with farmers and other land-managers on a range of issues, including climate change adaptation, collaborative decision-making for freshwater governance, conservation, and community-led forestry developments.



Sarah Henly-Shepard

Sarah Henly-Shepard (Disaster Resilience, L.L.C.) 

Sarah Henly-Shepard is the Disaster Preparedness Program Manager for AmeriCares, with her current work focusing on the research, design, development and management of community and public health disaster risk reduction projects in El Salvador, Myanmar, the Philippines and potentially other countries. She is also founder and director of Disaster Resilience, L.L.C. and is based in Honolulu, Hawai`i. She has worked in the fields of public health, disaster response, relief, resilience, human rights and community development for 15 years. She holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resources & Environmental Management from the University of Hawaii @ Manoa focusing on community disaster resilience and climate change adaptation, and a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, focusing on international humanitarian assistance and human rights. Sarah’s research topics of interest include: climate change adaptation and mitigation; environmental stewardship; integrated natural resource and coastal zone management; community planning and disaster risk reduction; diverse early warning systems for hazards, public health emergencies, among other threats; gender dimensions and mainstreaming; human rights; participatory mapping; place-based management; public health; and, socio-ecological resilience.



Christopher Lawless

Christopher Lawless (Durham University, United Kingdom) 

Christopher Lawless is a Lecturer in Applied Social Sciences (SASS) at Durham University, UK. He has previously held positions at the Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR), at the London School of Economics, and the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) group at Edinburgh University. Christopher specializes in the study of political, legal, economic, and other social interactions with science and technology. Much of his research focuses on the use of technology to manage risk and facilitate resilience, but also on the possible risks which in turn may arise through the application of science and technology. Christopher’s empirical research interests encompass risk and resilience in critical infrastructures and the built environment, the politics of scientific co-operation, and the relationship between criminal justice and technology. He has also recently worked with academics and practitioners to consider the role of social research in informing best practice for fire safety engineering.



Julie Koppel Maldonado

Julie Koppel Maldonado
(Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network)

Julie Koppel Maldonado is a visiting instructor at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Environmental Studies department, and a lead researcher for the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network, a link-tank on issues related to extractive industries and climate change to connect community-based movements with experts, practitioners, and officials. Julie is an applied anthropologist and has expertise in climate change-related issues, having worked for four years for the U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA), was the lead author on the Third NCA’s Indigenous Peoples, Land, and Resources Chapter, co-organizes Rising Voices: Collaborative Science for Climate Solutions, and was the lead editor and organizer for the Special Issue of Climatic Change and book, “Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples in the United States: Impacts, Experiences and Actions.” She is also a development specialist with practical and theoretical training, focused in particular on issues of displacement and resettlement. Julie has consulted for the United Nations Development Programme and World Bank on development-induced displacement and resettlement, post-disaster needs assessments, and climate change. She completed her doctorate in anthropology from American University in 2014, focusing her dissertation on the social and cultural impacts and experiences of development- and environmental-forced displacement in tribal communities in coastal Louisiana. Julie has written numerous articles published by the Journal of Refugee Studies, the Journal of Political Ecology, Climatic Change, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program, among others. She has served as an expert presenter to Congressional committees and staff on climate change, indigenous peoples, displacement, and relocation.



Raphael Nawrotzki

Raphael Nawrotzki (University of Minnesota, Minnesota Population Center) 

Raphael Nawrotzki holds a master degree in Community and International Development. At present he is a 5th year PhD student in environmental sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU Boulder). He is specialized in Environmental Demography with an emphasis on the impact of climate change on population dynamics. In his dissertation research, Raphael uses temporally and spatially high resolution data to construct a suite of 27 climate change indices, measuring temperature and precipitation extremes, to investigate the importance of migration as a viable adaptation strategy of rural Mexican households in the face of climate change. Raphael has been working for a number of years as a research assistant at CU Boulders interdisciplinary Institute for Behavioral Science (IBS) on various projects investigating the association between livelihood strategies, such as migration, and the environment. Currently he is a research assistant at the National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Climate and Global Dynamics (CGD) Division, Integrated Assessment Modeling (IAM) Group. At NCAR, he is involved in the development of a model to project socioeconomic and environmental changes.



Laura Olsen

Laura Olson (The George Washington University Institute for Crisis, Disaster, & Risk Management, Federal Emergency Management Agency) 

Laura Olson is a Visiting Research Scholar at The George Washington University’s Institute for Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management (ICDRM). She works with practitioner networks responding to disaster and is often called on to help develop community-based approaches to disaster recovery dilemmas. She has experience with large-scale disaster recovery programs and studies the effect of mounting these efforts on practitioners and management teams and the resultant issues of organizational performance and resilience, secondary trauma, capacity-building and change management in post-disaster contexts. She recently completed work as a member of a Presidential Task Force that proposed a rebuilding strategy in the wake of hurricane on the East Coast of the U.S. and found the intersection of high level policy design and politics at once instructive and puzzling. Prior to that, she worked with UNDP’s Regional Crisis Prevention and Recovery (RCPR) team in the Asia-Pacific Region on the development and standardization of a Training Programme on Sustainable Livelihoods and Economic Recovery. She has a PhD in Public Administration from The George Washington University, a Master’s Degree in Political Science and German Literature from the Karls-Ruprecht-Universität Heidelberg, and a B.A. in Political Philosophy from Macalester College.



Vivek Prasad

Vivek Prasad (George Mason University) 

Vivek Prasad completed his PhD studies in the summer of 2011 in Environmental Science and Public Policy at George Mason University (GMU) in Virginia. His dissertation took a bottom-up approach and explored the challenges and the potentials of adaptation to climate change. Prior to his PhD studies, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in geology from Ranchi University and a post graduate diploma in rural development from the Xavier Institute of Social Service in India. He started his career as an assistant rural development officer at Hindalco Industries Ltd., where his work focused on emerging mining issues and strengthening local economies. In 2004 he received the Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program award, which enabled him to pursue graduate studies in the U.S. Through this fellowship he obtained a master’s degree in resource management and administration in 2006 from Antioch University New England in New Hampshire. As a consultant for the World Bank, he works on social resilience and livelihood issues. Vivek teaches at GMU while continuing his research in climate change vulnerability, adaptation, and mitigation.



Md. Ashiqur Rahman (University of Arizona) 

By training, Ashiqur Rahman is an environmental and development anthropologist. Currently he is a PhD candidate in School of Anthropology at The University of Arizona in USA. His doctoral dissertation focuses on the relationship between governance and climate change adaptation. More specifically, he explores how unequal power relation, social exclusion, and corruption shape people’s livelihood resilience in the face of climate change. After completing bachelor and a Masters degree in Anthropology from Dhaka University in Bangladesh, Mr. Rahman has done a second Masters in Development Studies from the University of Lund in Sweden, where he studied how coastal population in Bangladesh adapt to salt water intrusion regarding their livelihood. His scholarly publication covers a wide variety of topics that includes alternative livelihood, environmental change, human environment interaction, conservation and society, rural development, and ethnicity. Mr. Rahman’s geographical interest spans through South Asia, US South-West, and Scandinavia. He has special training on college level teaching focusing American classroom culture. He has been working as a research associate in The Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA), a division of the School of Anthropology in the University of Arizona since 2010.



Kees van der Geest

Kees van der Geest (United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security) 

Kees van der Geest (PhD) is human geographer, specialised in studies of climate change, loss and damage, vulnerability, adaptation, migration, environment and development. He has extensive fieldwork experience, mostly in Ghana (5 years), but has also in Burkina Faso, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Bolivia. He coordinated research in many other countries across the Global South. Presently he is working as researcher at UN University Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn. He coordinates the work on "Loss and damage from climate change in vulnerable countries" and manages a 5-year research-to-action project in Bangladesh. Kees van der Geest studied at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Sussex. His Master’s thesis and PhD thesis were published as monographs by the African Studies Centre. Several chapters of his PhD thesis have been published in international journals, like International Migration, Environment and Urbanization, Africa and Forced Migration Review. From 2008 to 2012 Kees worked as researcher in the Participatory Assessment of Development (PADev) project at the University of Amsterdam and as research consultant. Among his first clients have been the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, the United Nations University (UNU) in Bonn, CARE International, DFID Ghana and the Foresight programme of the UK Office for Science. From 2006 to 2009 he was a part-time lecturer at the University of Amsterdam where he taught courses on environment and international development. Kees van der Geest has also been active as documentary film maker. His first, award-winning, documentary was screened at over twenty international film festivals worldwide.



David Wrathall

David Wrathall (United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security)

David is an associate academic officer at UNU-EHS. David holds a doctorate in geography from King’s College London, and researches on social-ecological resilience and climate change adaptation. His research focus is the changing habitability of environmentally disturbed areas and human migration away from those spaces, but he also studies narco-trafficking and deforestation in Central America. David is currently investigating the impact of tropical cyclones on human mobility in the extreme south of Bangladesh using massive sets of anonymised mobile phone data. Previously, David was a research fellow at the University of California Santa Cruz, Department of Environmental Studies, studying glacier recession and the effect of shifting water resources on migration in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru, where he also piloted the use of mobile phone data. His doctoral research focused on catastrophic flooding and migration from Garifuna villages along the North Coast of Honduras. His work and research on these topics began in Honduras with Peace Corps and Habitat for Humanity in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch.

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