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The Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy is dedicated to the systematic strengthening of global humanitarian leadership, a process that integrates education, research, and application, to achieve increased resilience in communities and individuals impacted by natural and manmade disasters.

Interdisciplinary Academic Center

DRLA is an interdisciplinary academic center with participating faculty from Tulane’s School of Architecture, A.B. Freeman School of Business, School of Law, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and School of Social Work.

Why Now and Why Tulane University?

The emerging field of Disaster Resilience Leadership Studies (DRLS) is an innovative response developed as a direct result of failures in disaster leadership, including the analysis of Post-Katrina New Orleans.  Although there are many graduate programs that focus on disaster and risk management, none of them targets specifically the role and development of leadership and resiliency in producing effective programs or outcomes, making the DRLS Academic Program the first with such an innovative focus. 

Based upon research that the DRLA leadership has conducted with reputational leaders in the field, including leaders from within other premier academic institutions, international organizations, prestigious NGOs, the United Nations, the donor community, think tanks and the Red Cross movement, it is widely agreed that a systematic and interdisciplinary approach to leadership is widely needed in the community and insufficiently addressed in most academic programs.  As Tulane University itself has exhibited such resilience and strength of leadership in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it represents an ideal setting to support such an approach to disaster resilience leadership education and allows students to experience the living laboratory of recovery and resilience that is the city of New Orleans.

DRLA Leadership

Primary Academy Faculty:

  • Ky Luu, J.D., serves as the Executive Director of the Academy. As former Director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and Vice President of International Medical Corps, he is an expert in the field of disaster resilience and humanitarian assistance. 
  • Charles Figley, Ph.D, is the Paul Henry Kurzweg Chair in Disaster Mental Health and director of the Tulane Traumatology Institute. 
  • Apollo Nkwake, Ph.D, is a Research Associate Professor with the DRLA, with background in Program Evaluation, Community Development, Gender, Child Development, Disaster Resilience, and Public Health.
  • Marc Roy, J.D., LL.M. is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health and the DRLA, and as a former Chief of Staff for FEMA's Louisiana operations following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita brings recovery management and infrastructure development experience to the Academy.   
  • Erwan Lagadec, D.Phil. is Adjunct Associate Professor for International Development and a Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.
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