Personal profile

Research interests

I am an Assistant Professor of Disasters and Humanitarian Studies, also serving as the Deputy Director of the Humanitarian Studies Centre (HSC) and Coordinator of the Safety and Security Research Initiative (SSRi). With almost twenty years of experience, my focus has been on humanitarian action, disaster governance, climate change, and environmental sociology, particularly in conflict-affected and vulnerable areas. I teach courses covering humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction governance, research methodology, quantitative and mixed methods, research ethics, and research fieldwork safety and security.

At the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), I co-coordinate the Humanitarian Governance project (HUM-GOV), funded by a European Research Council (ERC) advanced grant. This project delves into the evolving dynamics of humanitarian governance, with special attention to civil society actors and crisis-affected populations. Additionally, I contribute to the coordination of the Observatorio Humanitario de América Latina y el Caribe (OH-LAC).

Within ISS, I'm also involved as the Convenor for the Governance and Development Policy Major (GDP) within the Master of Arts in Development Studies program. I serve as a member of the ISS Research Ethics Committee and lead the Safety and Security for Fieldwork/In-situ Research course (S&S) at CERES, the Dutch Research School for International Development. Moreover, I hold a visiting professorship at the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica.

My engagement also spans across other academic, societal impact, and practice-oriented activities. I am a Board Member of the International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA) and the Expertise Centre Humanitarian Communication (HumCom). Additionally, I contribute as a reviewer for leading journals and actively participate in research, monitoring, evaluation, and advisory consultancy work. I collaborate with various organizations such as UNDRR, UNICEF, the ICRC, multiple Red Cross Societies, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Islamic Relief International, the Dutch Relief Alliance, Welthungerhilfe, Save the Children, and Afghanaid.

Alongside academic outputs such as journal articles and book chapters, I value writing policy and research briefs, blog posts, and finding ways to make science accessible to everyone. In this regard, I recently won the Erasmus Impact Journey Prize, the NEEDS 2023 Disaster Research Photography Prize, and regularly engage in consultancy and advisory roles with multiple organisations.

Before my current roles, my career spanned positions as a researcher, project manager, and consultant with local and international NGOs, the United Nations, governmental organizations, and the private sector. I have also held academic roles and visiting professorships at universities globally. Furthermore, I've assumed leadership roles in humanitarian aid organizations, coordinated disaster responses, and conducted fieldwork in numerous conflict zones, crisis situations, and disaster-prone regions, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Chile, Colombia, Jordan, Peru, South Sudan, Uganda, and Yemen.

My educational background includes a PhD in Humanitarian Action and Disaster Governance from the ISS of Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, an MA in Environmental Studies from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and a BA in Sociology and Political Science from A. Hurtado University, Chile. Additionally, I hold diplomas in Quantitative Multivariable Analysis, Environmental Impact Assessment, Public Policy, and Sustainable Development. I've received certifications from reputable institutions such as the United Nations, Red Cross, Centre for Safety and Development, GCORE, and RedR, enhancing my experience and training in conducting fieldwork in challenging, complex, and remote areas.


MA and PhD Supervision:
An important part of my work is to support and guide Master's students and PhD researchers with their theses and research projects. I am currently open to considering new PhD candidates whose research interests align with my ongoing research agenda.

Current PhD researchers:

  • Gabriela Villacis Izquierdo, "Feminist approaches to humanitarian governance in Colombia: Incorporating affected populations as humanitarian agents"
  • Hyeonggeun Ji, "Emerging humanitarian responses to climate-related displacement in Bangladesh: Knowledge processes and political dynamics"
  • Delu Lusambya, "Humanitarian governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Community-driven, accountability, and advocacy in Humanitarian Actions"
  • Alemayehu Begna Hordofa, "Humanitarian governance in Ethiopia: The use of human rights-based approach to address internal displacement challenges"
  • Lisa Peterson, "Humanitarian Localization from a Local Perspective"

PS: PhD project titles are just referential; projects change, evolve and adjust.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Disasters
  • Humanitarian aid
  • Governance
  • Complex Emergencies
  • Fieldwork safety and security
  • Research ethics
  • Methodology
  • HM Sociology
  • GE Environmental Sciences
  • Climate Change
  • Sustainability


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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