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Staff of the UCD CHA (Management)

(opens in a new window)Associate Professor Pat Gibbons

Director of the Centre for Humanitarian Action

Pat Gibbons is the Director of UCD’ Centre for Humanitarian Action. He is the Programme Director for the MSc Humanitarian Action and he coordinates the Intensive Programme on Humanitarian Action, Management in Humanitarian Action, and Localising Humanitarian Management.  He is the Principal Investigator on several research projects and leads on the ‘Resilience’ and ‘Localisation’ research themes.

Pat did a BSc Agricultural Science and progressed to work in the private sector as an agricultural advisor.  He subsequently followed his dream to work in Sub Saharan Africa when he travelled to The Gambia, initially as a volunteer with the Voluntary Services Overseas and later with the Agency for Personnel Overseas.  He was granted a Irish Government Scholarship to complete his MSc Agriculture in Rural Development at UCD, after which time he worked as a ‘Community Development Officer’ in Ireland for a number of years.  Pat subsequently returned to Sub Saharan Africa as a Development Specialist with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs in Tanzania for a further two years.  During this period, which was in the aftermath of the Rwanda Genocide, he worked closely with academic colleagues at UCD who invited him to introduce humanitarian education and research to UCD in 1998.  He completed a PhD in Community Development while establishing the Master’s in Humanitarian Action initially under the auspices of the Network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA).  Pat became the UCD Director of the NOHA in 2003 and he was elected President of NOHA from 2007 – 2014.  Towards the end of this period, he established the UCD Centre of Humanitarian Action in 2012. Pat is currently Head of Subject for Humanitarian Studies at UCD and he is the Lead Academic for the UCD Africa Strategy.  His main research interests include, Humanitarian Principles, the Internationalisation of Humanitarian Academia, Localising Humanitarian Action, and Resilience.

(opens in a new window)Dr Sulagna Maitra

Assistant Professor in Humanitarian Action

Sulagna Maitra is the thematic lead on the UCD CHA’s International School of Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies. Sulagna coordinates the module World Politics and Humanitarian Action and is the Principal Investigator on several research projects in the Centre. She is a Sasakawa Young Leadership Fund (SYLFF) Fellow and a former Erasmus Mundus grantee.

Sulagna has a BA (Hons) in Political Science from Presidency College, India, and two MAs – one in International Relations (specialisation in Southeast Asia) from Jadavpur University, India, and the other in International Humanitarian Action (NOHA Masters) from Uppsala University, Sweden. Sulagna progressed to complete her PhD at University College Dublin where her research focused on: The Role of Identity in Intra-State Transboundary River Water Conflicts in India. Her current research interests  are on the political sociology of violence and conflict resolution in complex crisis settings. Within UCD CHA, she has been PI on several projects such as (opens in a new window)European Humanitarian Action Partnership (EUHAP), (opens in a new window)European Universities for Professionalisation of Humanitarian Action (EUPRHA), (opens in a new window)Erasmus+ Network on Humanitarian Action Joint Masters (EMJM NOHA), (opens in a new window)Red Lines and Grey Zones: Ethical Dilemmas in Humanitarian Negotiations.

Currently, her research priorities are on understanding different forms of violence in humanitarian settings (especially GBV), identity and conflict resolution, ethical dilemmas in humanitarian negotiation and mediation, and contemporary challenges in humanitarian action with a special focus on decoloniality and localisation.

Dr Ronan McDermott

Ad Astra Fellow (Humanitarian Action)

Ronan's research focuses on the conditions under which governance arrangements lead to the reduction of vulnerability and the enhancement of resilience of people exposed to climate-related and other hazards.  It has involved mainly a comparative approach whereby case studies are drawn from contexts as diverse as South-East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.  Characterised by mixed qualitative and quantitative methods and co-production with local partners, my research is ultimately informed by a disciplinary background rooted in political science, law and sociology.

(opens in a new window)Dr Dejen Kuma Gonfa

Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Dejen Kuma Gonfa is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the UCD Centre for Humanitarian Action (UCD CHA). Dejen manages the Building Resilience Through Education programme and lectures on the Management and the Localising Humanitarian Management modules on the MSc Humanitarian Action.  He is also responsible for organising the annual student visit to Wolaita, Ethiopia. 

Dejen has bachelor's degrees in Marketing Management and Health Education from Jimma University, Ethiopia. He worked for more than ten years with various NGOs in Ethiopia before coming to UCD as an ICOS Scholar on the MSc Humanitarian Action at UCD CHA.  He was subsequently employed by the UCD CHA to manage the European Commission-funded Horizon2020 Building Resilience Through Education project, which is an international research partnership between higher education institutions from Ethiopia and Europe, private sector organisations, and NGOs. While managing this project, Dejen also completed a PhD on Localizing Internationalization of Higher Education in Ethiopia: Towards Building Societal Resilience.  He continues to research international partnerships between higher education institutions in the global South and North through a humanitarian action lens in a bid to improve societal resilience in fragile contexts. Dejen’s main research interests include: internationalisation of higher education; localisation of humanitarian action; and societal resilience.

(opens in a new window)Dr Desire Mpanje

Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Desire Mpanje is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the UCD Centre for Humanitarian Action (UCD CHA). Desire is the UCD Director of the Network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA), a network of 9 European and 11 global partner universities.  He coordinates the Social Anthropology & Intercultural Studies and Resilience Research Design modules on the MSc Humanitarian Action.

Desire’s has a BSc in Agricultural Extension from the University of Malawi, and a Professional Diploma in Agriculture and Natural Resources Management from the Natural Resources College of Malawi.  He worked as a Project Coordinator for an Irish Aid-funded program in Malawi, promoting disaster risk reduction, preparedness, and resilience projects, and he was also an Agriculture Advisor for the Malawi Ministry of Agriculture for more than 10 years. He was a recipient of the Irish Aid Department of Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship to complete an MSc degree in Humanitarian Action at UCD. During this period, he was an Assistant Desk Officer-NOHA Intern (Operations) in the operational Unit B5 of the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (DG-ECHO), European Commission, Brussels, Belgium where he managed resilience and livelihoods projects.  Desire later progressed to a PhD at the UCD Centre for Humanitarian Action.  His doctoral research focused on Social Capital and Urban Resilience in Vulnerable Urban Settings of the Global South.  His research interests include social capital, resilience, urban resilience, disaster risk reduction, urban vulnerability, migration, and sustainable livelihoods.

He is a Co-Chair of UCD Equality Diversity and Inclusion focusing on Anti-Racism and Cultural Awareness.

Cyril Otieku-Boadu

PhD Researcher and NOHA Coordinator

Cyril Otieku-Boadu is a Doctoral Student at the UCD Centre for Humanitarian Action (UCD CHA). He is a tutor on both the Management and the Localising Humanitarian Management modules of the MSc Humanitarian Action programme. Cyril supports the administration and coordination of the NOHA programme.

Cyril has a BSc degree in Chemistry from the University of Ghana, and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Modern Management of Non-Profit Organisations from the University of Geneva, Geneva School of Economics and Management in Switzerland. He has worked for more than 14 years with various organisations in Ghana including WHO Collaborating Centre (WHO-CC) for Advocacy and training in Pharmacovigilance in Ghana, and the Centre for Tropical Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Ghana’s Medical School. Cyril is currently the Country Programme Director for Dream Volunteers Ghana, a US-based INGO with a registered programme office in Ghana. He completed an MSc degree in Humanitarian Action from UCD CHA with specialisation in Law and Leadership from the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV) – Ruhr University, Bochum in Germany;

Cyril came to UCD CHA as a Government of Ghana Scholar on the NOHA Joint Masters in Humanitarian Action in 2018. His master’s thesis focused on How Irish Humanitarian INGOs can adapt their Strategic management Plans to embrace the Localisation Agenda at the Headquarter level: a multiple case study. He later progressed with his PhD on How Humanitarian INGOs Governance can be adapted to support the Localisation of Humanitarian Action: the cases of Ghana, Ethiopia, and Ireland. Cyril’s main research interests include: the governance of humanitarian INGOs, localisation of humanitarian action; and strategic management in Humanitarian Action.

Contact UCD Centre for Humanitarian Action

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7793 | E: noha.dublin@ucd.ie