Tarah joined DFID in 2010. She has over 15 years’ experience in international development, having worked across a variety of sectors and themes including public health, natural resource management, child protection, and community development. Tarah leads on a number of DFID’s investments in humanitarian research and innovation. Tarah holds a Masters in Development Management and a Professional Diploma in logistics and administration of humanitarian aid and development from the Institut Bioforce (France).
Manu Gupta is a humanitarian worker, co-founder and executive director of SEEDS, a non-profit organization working in disaster risk reduction and post-disaster response and recovery in Asia. In his 25 years of experience, he has led response programs following major emergencies in the region – the Gujarat earthquake of 2001, the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 and a range of humanitarian situations including slow onset disasters, major catastrophic events, climate change impacts to technological hazards. SEEDS was awarded “Indian of the Year” in public service by CNN-IBN, in the year 2010. In 2016, SEEDS was recognized as “Sendai Target Champion” for reducing disaster mortality by UNISDR.
Manu is passionate about enabling communities to actively participate and lead efforts in strengthening their own resilience. He holds a Doctorate degree in community based disaster management. He completed his Masters in Urban Planning and a Bachelors degree in Physical Planning. He has written several research papers and strongly believes in spirituality as a basis for good humanitarianism
Manu serves on the boards of nine global and regional organizations. He is founder member of the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network, an active network of national NGOs from over 20 countries in Asia. He is currently part of the Leadership Council of NEAR, a newly formed global network of southern NGOs. Member of Global Steering Committee member for UN-ISDR on the Resilient Cities Campaign. Chairperson, Advisory Board, Humanitarian Encyclopedia Project, CERAH, Geneva and member of the ISDR Asia Advisory Group.
At the national level, Manu is the co-founder of the Alliance for Adaption & Disaster Risk Reduction, the Owner Driven Reconstruction Collaborative in India, and others. He serves on various national committees of the Government of India.
Benjamin Kumpf is the Head of Innovation for Development at the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate. Prior to joining the OECD, he worked as Head of Innovation at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and led the Innovation Facility of the United Nations Development Programme. In these capacities, Benjamin managed flexible funds to support experimentation, exploration and the scaling-up of development innovations, co-led programmes on adaptive management and advised country offices and partners on strategic innovation opportunities. Past posts includes work with UN Volunteers, with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the International Agricultural Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics and others in India, Jordan, Nepal and Rwanda. Prior to working in international development, he worked in social justice movement groups in his home country Germany.
He is a member of several advisory bodies to advance innovation in the development and humanitarian sectors, and holds a Master degrees in Political Science and in Psychology from the University of Heidelberg and a post-graduate certification from the New York University.
Dr. Ali Okhowat is a physician and bioethicist who is currently serving as Co-Lead of the World Health Organization (WHO) Innovation Hub, based at WHO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. In this role he is responsible for helping to scale high-impact health innovations and cultivating an innovation culture throughout WHO HQ, and its Regional and Country Offices. He previously worked as a Health Emergency Officer in WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme based in Geneva and Cairo, the latter as part of his role in helping to establish the Emergency Operations team in the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO). In this capacity he was responsible for supporting WHO’s humanitarian health response activities in EMRO countries, including in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Afghanistan, among others. Prior to joining the WHO, he worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan.
Ali is a graduate of the University of Toronto Medical School and Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy’s Fellowship in Global Journalism, McGill University’s Family Medicine Residency and Clinician Scholar Program and is an alumnus of Harvard Business School. He is currently completing his PhD in Bioethics at the University of Montreal.
Adele is Senior Digital Health Advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Over the past decade she has led programs and engagement campaigns at the intersection of digital technologies in global development, including as founder and managing director of an independent consulting practice, and, previously, as head of a $30M partnership between the United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Foundation.
Her past experience includes work as a journalist, editor, and communications advisor to both humanitarian groups and technology companies. She is an affiliated expert at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and a member of several advisory bodies for companies and non-profits advancing strategic digital innovation in the health and humanitarian sectors. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Washington, DC.
Aru is the Country Manager for Viamo in Nepal. Prior to joining Viamo, she worked at the United Nations in various regional and country capacities for 12 years and at World Vision International for 4 years setting up the Innovation Lab in Nepal while working across Asia Pacific, North and Latin America. Aru has been engaged with ELRHA since 2016 and is looking forward to working with the rest of the advisory group to support the process of learning, failing and growing in delivering the humanitarian sector’s mission.
Omar Abou-Samra is the Director of Preparedness for the American Red Cross and he also leads the Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC), a partnership between the American Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Since 2012, Omar has led the development of innovative activities and programs including the Universal App Program, the WhatNow Service and the Business Preparedness Initiative. Omar has also been instrumental in the development and cultivation of important partnerships with Airbnb, the Walt Disney Company, Google and UPS as well as a leader in the wider Red Cross and Red Crescent network in areas of Early Warning Early Action and the use of new technologies as they relate to disaster preparedness.
Prior to joining the International Services Department, Omar served as a leader in the American Red Cross Disaster Operations Department, where he worked closely with American Red Cross chapters, volunteers and staff to implement key programs and initiatives related to disaster service delivery in addition to the responsibilities of leading disaster response on large relief operations including the Superstorm Sandy response. He is also an experienced international responder having pioneered cash transfer programs in relief stages in several countries.
Omar holds a Bachelor of Arts from Emory University and a Juris Doctor degree from Santa Clara University School of Law.
Paula Gil Baizan has invested the last 17 years improving how humanitarian agencies and companies use cash, markets and technology to make aid work better for people.
Currently leading NRC’s Innovation Service, Paula has worked for some of the world’s best known humanitarian organisations developing pioneering approaches. She has advised private companies and non-for profit organisations on strategic foresight, transformative change and the use of innovation.
Paula trained as a Lawyer and has a postgraduate degree in Writing. She is currently working on using visionary fiction to create radically diverse visions of the future of aid where people own the local engines of innovation.
At the ICRC, Nan works on some of the most interesting initiatives in humanitarian action. She served in Bosnia with the International Rescue Committee, subsequently led the Sphere Project, worked for UNHCR, served as International Director of the American Red Cross and as the Executive Director of International Council of Voluntary Agencies. She received the Global Leadership in Emergency Public Health award from the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine; was a Champions of Change (Obama administration); served 5 years as the Steering Committee Chair of the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance (ALNAP). In 2019 Nan joined the Grand Challenges Canada Program Advisory Board; in 2020 became a founding member of the Geneva Innovation Movement Association and in 2021 served on the MSF Scientific Days editorial committee. Her Master’s in Public Administration is from Harvard University.
Eva Kaplan is the Regional Director of Innovation at the International Rescue Committee.
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