Fall 2016 

Innovations in Disaster Management: The Use of Technology in Crisis Response, Humanitarian Relief, and Disaster Recovery
Date & Time: Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 3:30-5:00 PM
Location: Ash Center Lobby, Suite 200 North, 124 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge

Technology holds great promise for improving policymakers’ and practitioners’ abilities to quickly and effectively provide aid in emergency response, humanitarian relief, and post-disaster recovery. In this panel, a group of academics and practitioners will discuss different applications of technology in disaster response and recovery, exploring the benefits and challenges of harnessing the power of technology to confront and overcome major crises.


  • Doug Ahlers, Senior Fellow, Program on Crisis Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School; Founder, Broadmoor Project; and Founder, Recupera Chile Project
  • Vincenzo Bollettino, Director, Resilient Communities Program, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
  • Piyush Tewari, Founder, SaveLIFE Foundation, and HKS Mid-Career (2017)

Moderated by Dutch Leonard, Faculty Co-Director Program on Crisis Leadership; George F. Baker Jr. Professor of Public Management (HKS); and Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration (HBS)

Organized by the Program on Crisis Leadership (Ash and Taubman Centers) and the Crisis Management PIC at Harvard Kennedy School

Lessons from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
Date & Time: Thursday, November 17, 2016, 4:10 -5:30 PM
Location: Ash Center Lobby, Suite 200 North, 124 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge

Join us for a seminar with faculty from Iwate University, Japan, who will present on the 03/11/11 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami – a catastrophic disaster that caused the deaths of more than 20,000 people, inflicted extensive damage in coastal communities throughout the Tohoku region, and triggered a crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

The speakers will address crisis leadership and other aspects of disaster response as experienced in affected coastal areas, including in the City of Rikuzentakata, which was devastated by the disaster. They will also highlight the work of their university in the immediate aftermath of the 03/11/11 events, and explore how they have applied lessons learned from this experience to more recent events.


  • Prof. Kiyoshi MURAKAMI, Special Advisor to the President, Iwate University, and Senior Advisor, City of Rikuzentakata
  • Prof. Shin KOSHIYA, Deputy Director, Research Center for Regional Disaster Management, and Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Iwate University

Moderated by Dr. Arnold M. Howitt, Faculty Co-Director, Program on Crisis Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School

Organized by the Program on Crisis Leadership (Ash and Taubman Centers), Harvard Kennedy School

Providing Trauma Care for Syrian and Yazidi Refugees
Date & Time: Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 4:30 – 6:00 PM
Location: Room 106, Suite 100, 124 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA

Join us for a lecture and group discussion led by Yotam Polizer of IsraAID, who will discuss his team’s experience working with refugees in Greece, Germany, and Northern Iraq.
Mr. Polizer directs the global partnership program of IsraAID – Israel’s biggest humanitarian NGO. Following the September 2015 refugee crisis in Europe, he led IsraAID’s humanitarian mission in Lesbos, Greece, to support Syrian refugees on the island and also established IsraAID Germany, which provides long-term support for Yazidi and Syrian refugees in Germany. His presentation will draw from these experiences.
During the last four years, Polizer has also built and led psycho-education programs in Japan after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, and in South Korea to support the reintegration of North Korean defectors. He has also led missions in Nepal following the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake and in Sierra Leone for Ebola survivors, health workers, and affected communities. He has more than 10 years’ experience in education, humanitarian aid, and international development.
Sponsored by the Program on Crisis Leadership, the Middle East Initiative, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and the Crisis Management Student Group at Harvard Kennedy School.

Spring 2016

The Earthquake in Nepal: Reflections on Relief & Recovery One Year Later
Date & Time: Monday, April 25, 2016, 1:15pm to 2:30pm
Location: Ash Center Lobby, Suite 200 North, 124 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA

On April 25, 2015, the Gorkha Earthquake struck Nepal, causing extensive damage and taking the lives of thousands. In this panel discussion, speakers - including graduate students from both Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Graduate School of Design – will draw on their fieldwork and ongoing research to discuss how relief and recovery have progressed in the year since the disaster occurred.


  • Erica Kelly, MPP16, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Yoko Okura, MPP17, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Oscar Natividad, MDes16, Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • Ashley Thompson, MDes17, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Closing remarks by Mohan Das Manandhar, Chairperson of Nepal Energy Foundation

Moderated by Arnold M. Howitt, Faculty Co-Director of the Program on Crisis Leadership and Executive Director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School

Accelerating Disaster Recovery
Date: January 22, 2016

In this day-long conference at Harvard University's Loeb House, organized by the Program on Crisis Leadership and the Belfer Center's Broadmoor Project, political leaders, senior public officials, and leading scholars of disaster recovery discussed the complex challenges underlying recovery efforts and explored ways to more effectively rebound from future disasters. For more on this event, click here.