Building community-based disaster resilience by improving grassroots preparedness and response

December 4, 2015, 13:45 h

Cologne, Conference room Ost

Vincenzo Bollettino


The Asia-Pacific region is the most natural disaster-prone part of the world. With tens of millions of people affected and over 800,000 deaths over the past decade, the region accounted for roughly 90% of all people affected by natural disasters and 90% of all disaster-related deaths in the world.  Most recently, on November 7, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, ripped through the Central Philippines, forcing over 700,000 people from their homes and creating a mass scale humanitarian crisis.

This presentation covers the results of a recent scoping study in the Philippines intended to lay the groundwork for a broader national study that will identify the leading contributing factors that determine disaster preparedness and resilience. The scoping study helped to identify existing disaster management agencies, networks of leaders and agencies focused on preparedness activities (especially at the community level), and key opportunities for further professionalizing and training officials responsible for disaster response.

About the speaker

Dr. Bollettino is the Director of Resilient Communities Program at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Bollettino served for five years as Executive Director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Dr. Bollettino has twenty years of professional and academic experience in international politics, humanitarian action, civil-military engagement in emergencies, and the security of humanitarian aid workers. He has spent that past fourteen years of his career at Harvard University in administration, teaching, and research. Current research focuses on civil military engagement during humanitarian emergencies, the security of humanitarian aid workers, and on the professionalization of the humanitarian aid field.

Dr. Bollettino has managed several large training and policy development initiatives related to international humanitarian law, responsibility to protect, and peace building operations and has designed security reporting systems and program evaluations for field security measures in complex emergencies. He has authored several publications related to disaster management and humanitarian assistance, and has consulted with numerous international nongovernmental organization and UN agencies. 

He has taught courses on research design, peace building, and international politics at the Harvard Extension School. Dr. Bollettino came to Harvard University on a post-doctoral fellowship with the Program on Non-violent Sanctions and Cultural Survival at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. He completed his Ph.D. at the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Dr. Bollettino currently serves on the boards of ELRHA (Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance), ACF (Action Against Hunger), and the International Solutions Group.