DAD Students, Alumni and Friends Workshop

Posted: February 18, 2013 by Steven Forrest in Topical

(Written by Mark Pelling and Steven Forrest)

DAD Workshop 2013, courtesy of King's College London Geography Department

DAD Workshop 2013, courtesy of King’s College London Geography Department

Some 50 MA DAD students, PhDs and researchers crowded the Pyramid Room and then decamped to the postgraduate bar following a series of thought-provoking lectures and interactive activities.

The first DAD (Disasters, Adaptation and Development) Alumni and Friends Workshop was recently held at King’s College London. The workshop, themed around ‘putting theory into practice’, helped to bring alumni and friends together from across a range of humanitarian NGOs and research institutes to catch up with old friends. Current students also had a chance to network and gain a first-hand insight into the research and employment world for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the international development sector.

The afternoon started with Lucy Pearson (DAD 2010-11), now working with Humanitarian Futures, taking the group through a participatory science-policy exchange game. The activity had a disaster risk management focus, with participants split into small groups and tasked with devising a response to an impending natural hazard that may occur in the next 48hrs, 24hrs and 12hrs. Group members had to choose the strategy that they thought most appropriate (ranging from ‘do nothing’ to ‘full scale evacuation’) and then convince the appointed ‘group leader’ to select their strategy over others. This led to lively debates, fruitful discussions and the odd case of attempted bribery!

More formal presentations then followed.

Hannah Tankard (DAD 2011-12) began by describing her recent work at the Red Cross Climate Centre during Typhoon Pablo. Lucy Pearson (again!) then presented on ‘Private sector engagement in disaster risk reduction and response as part of core business’. Lucy illustrated her point through several interesting case studies that recounted instances of the private sector supporting disaster risk reduction measures through ways ranging from providing toilets to telecommunications infrastructure. David Matyas (a past research associate) then presented his work for Save the Children on ‘Building Resilience in the Sahel: From Theory to Practice’.

DAD Workshop 2013, courtesy of King's College London Geography Department

DAD Workshop 2013, courtesy of King’s College London Geography Department

There was a brief interlude, when the much pondered question of “how many DAD students does it take to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew?” was answered, and then subsequently forgotten.

After the break, the workshop continued with a brief presentation by Steven Forrest (2011-2012) on the student owned ‘Masters of Disasters’ blog and DAD Facebook pages – both of which, along with the LinkedIn page, are widely used to connect the ‘DAD family’. A student from our first cohort of the MA DAD course, Lizz Harrison (2008-2009) who worked at ADPC and now Y CARE International, presented on ‘Young people and DRR’.

Much juice and wine was drunk – from exceptionally large glasses – in what was a much-enjoyed event that we all look forward to becoming an annual event. An enormous thank you to Professor Mark Pelling who organised the entire event! Well done and see you next year!

If any speakers/attendees from the day have any additional online resources or projects that they would like to be featured on this page, then please email: The same email address can be used if you are interested in writing a short piece for the Masters of Disaster blog and wanted to find out more.


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