The Program on Crisis Leadership (PCL) helps society improve its capacity to avert, mitigate, and respond to disaster and to develop resilience in recovery. It emphasizes working with current and future leaders of emergency agencies, community organizations, and generalist public officials who must prepare themselves and their stakeholders for the possibility and consequences of extreme events.

No matter how they arise, disasters threaten families, communities, businesses and other institutions, and, frequently, multiple layers of government in a single country or even across nations. Catastrophic events, moreover, destroy property and ravage the natural landscape – impacts from which it may take decades to recover. Effective emergency preparedness can prevent or mitigate the impacts of disasters, just as it can ensure a sure-handed response to save lives, reduce the economic and social disruptions of catastrophe, and speed recovery. But governments, communities, companies, and individuals are frequently ill-prepared for large-scale disruptions.

PCL is a bridge between the academic and professional realms, interacting closely with and promoting dialog among officials and practicing professionals in the United States and other countries.

In its research, PCL examines comprehensive risk management strategies, explores policies and practices for effective preparedness, considers how to effectively mobilize many essential stakeholders to taken needed actions and studies how to implement policies across complex, multi-layered institutional and governmental structures. This research is reported at professional meetings or in publications aimed at practicing professionals as well as scholars.

In its training and action research projects, PCL works with graduate degree students, senior professionals taking intensive short courses, and with governments and NGOs dealing with specific problems or seeking to enhance their overall capacities. Curriculum materials and project reports developed in PCL activities are made widely available in books and published case studies.

Professor Leonard discusses some of PCL's core areas of research. Photo Credit: Martha Stewart.