- Nicolas Pascal, Founding Director, UC PHAR
- Joe Leitmann, Lead DRM Specialist, GFDRR
- Omar Abou-Samra, Director, Global Disaster Preparedness Center, American Red Cross
Date: Monday, May 14, 16:30 – 17:30
Given the growing necessity to address the most critical of social-environmental challenges, a group of UC students, faculty and administrators are seeking to create a UC-wide Platform for Humanitarian Action & Resilience. This effort is being pursued in partnership with the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR/WB) and the American Red Cross’ Preparedness Services and Global Disaster Preparedness Center. Direct Relief has provided initial seed funding to pursue a future-focused channel for the UC system’s world-class talent (10 campuses; 238,000 students; 190,000 faculty and staff) to be a partner of choice for humanitarian action. The ultimate aim is to assist communities and countries in all locales to better prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters and crises of all stripes.
The initial seed-funding from Direct Relief supports the development of an online database that will bridge gaps in disaster risk mitigation, response, and resilience. This clearinghouse will serve as a one-stop plug-in point to efficiently connect practitioners with humanitarian-related UC resources, mapping existing relevant UC talent and efforts, and support program credibility by demonstrating outcomes to an increasingly critical public-at-large Informing the best outcomes in humanitarian practice, this critical tool will help ensure that those who could benefit from timely access to the wide array of expertise that the UC system uniquely houses have it.
The clearinghouse also promises to reduce risk exposure by not only drastically reducing the amount of time from need to connection, then collaborative action, but also by gearing its platform into a disaster preparation orientation so that the full brunt of future crises’ impacts can be mitigated. Another pillar of the proposed platform is twinning model partnerships, established with key regional and national university systems, which will ensure that local voice is not only represented but honored, bringing together researchers, administrators and other counterparts as peers across local, national, and global lines.
The seed-funding will also support a review of existing academic programs and courses that could support the study of Disaster/Humanitarian Action and Resilience. This is being done with the idea of eventually establishing academic minors on all UC campuses that focuses on disaster studies.
The side event at UR 2018 is aimed at sharing the current state of our vision and conducting an informal review of the fledgling online database model. It will also be an opportunity to identify and connect with new partners and stakeholders interested in working with the project leadership towards informing and breaking ground on our first twinning model partnership and the academic program.