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Crisis Response Journal Crisis Response Journal

Laura Olson

Laura has 17 years of experience leading disaster recovery, hazard mitigation, climate adaptation and resilience initiatives.
She currently works with the United Nations Development Program’s Climate Change & Disaster Risk Reduction Cluster, crafting effective strategies that translate aspirations into actionable plans for impacted communities, governments, and NGOs. Her work requires understanding core values, culture, and the greater purpose stakeholders wish to integrate into their mission and services to heighten their effectiveness and ability to deliver the right set of programs and services in disaster settings.
Laura teaches at the graduate level at Royal Roads University’s School of Humanitarian Studies in Canada and for Georgetown University’s Emergency & Disaster Management (EDM) programme in Washington, DC. She is a Research Associate at Jacksonville State University’s Center for Disaster and Community Resilience where she is currently looking at how non-profits, local and state governments are collaborating to assist Puerto Rican evacuees from Hurricane Maria in cities along the Eastern Corridor in the US. She is a Co-Chair of Education & Training for the Culture and Disaster Action Network (CADAN) and has a long collaboration with the United Nations University Institute for the Environment and Human Security.
In the US, she has responded to hurricanes, oil spills, tornadoes, and floods working with FEMA, HUD, Presidential Task Forces, the American Red Cross, United Way and local OEMs. She has a PhD in Public Administration from The George Washington University, Master’s Degree in Political Science & German Literature from the Karls-Ruprecht-Universität Heidelberg, and BA in Political Philosophy from Macalester College.