Watson Institute for Internation and Public Affairs
Brown International Advanced Research Institutes

2018 BIARI Philippines: Community Resilience for Natural Disasters

October 21-27, 2018

Holy Angel University/Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation 
Clark, Pampanga, Philippines

A Fellowship Program by the Brown International Advanced Research Institutes

Climate change and rapid urbanization have exposed populations around the world to the risks of natural disasters, which in recent years have increased in both frequency and intensity. The urgency to adapt to these changes has placed immense pressure on governments to prepare and rebuild communities after disaster. However, disaster response is often strained by limited resources and less than ideal response times. As such, approaches to Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) have taken a "community turn.” Specifically, there is a growing emphasis on programs that aim to foster community resilience in the face of disasters. The emphasis on grassroots perspectives has also become more relevant in the face of critiques of top-down approaches to disaster management.

The term community resilience has many definitions. For our purposes, we draw from the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, which defines community resilience as the “ability of a system, community, or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions." This definition emphasizes the multidimensional, processual, and capacity-building components of community resilience. Furthermore, “community" here is defined as “a group of people with a common characteristic or interest of living in the same area and within a larger society.” With this notion, we underscore the significance of agency at the neighborhood-, town-, and city- levels, as well as at the individual and national levels. We also highlight the importance of local knowledge pertaining to both the strengths and vulnerabilities that shape how communities understand, respond, and adapt to the threats of natural disasters.

This training program is held under the auspices of the Brown University International Advanced Research Institutes (BIARI) that convene early-career participants from around the world to address pressing global issues through collaboration across academic, professional, and geographic boundaries. 2018 BIARI Philippines will convene an interdisciplinary group of academics and practitioners, including experts from Brown University, and international and local Philippine organizations involved in disaster work, to develop a better understanding of community resilience as it pertains to disaster risk reduction and management. The training will tackle community resilience in the context of the Philippine Disaster Rehabilitation and Recovery Framework based on Global and Local Good Practice and Experience from Past Disasters. Lectures, workshops, and other activities will be grouped into sectoral themes such as Livelihood and Business Development, Housing and Settlement, Social Services, etc. Issues that cut across sectors, such as vulnerable groups, gender sensitivity, poverty, and the environment will also be discussed.



Adam Levine is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of the Brown University Global Emergency Medicine Fellowship. His research focuses on improving the delivery of emergency care in resource-limited settings and during humanitarian emergencies. He also serves as Editor-in-Chief for the Global Emergency Medicine Literature Review, published annually in Academic Emergency Medicine.


Guillermo M. Luz is the private sector co-chairman of the National Competitiveness Council, a public-private body that develops strategy for the long-term competitiveness of the Philippines through policy reforms, project implementation, institution-building and performance-monitoring. He is also an associate director at Ayala Corporation, the holding company of one of the oldest and largest business groups in the Philippines, with business activities in property development, banking and financial services, telecommunications, water, automotive distribution, electronics manufacturing, power and renewable energy, infrastructure, health, and education. He is Chief Resilience Officer and Advisor of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), a major private sector coordinator for disaster preparedness, prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery. He is in charge of the establishment of its Emergency Operations Center.


Luís María R. Calingo (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1984) is the 9th President of Holy Angel University in Angeles City, Philippines. He returned to his country of birth after completing his term as the 13th President of Woodbury University in Burbank, Los Angeles and San Diego, California. Dr. Calingo is an educator whose background in higher education is extensive and varied, with most significant success in academic turnaround and institution-rebuilding environments. He has held senior administrative positions in higher education, spanning over 20 years, in the USA and Southeast Asia. His distinctive competencies are in strategic planning, quality assurance, comprehensive internationalization, external relations and fund-raising, and development of interdisciplinary academic programs.


Fred Ayala is a Managing Director and Member of the Management Committee of Ayala Corporation, one of the leading business groups in the Philippines. He is the Chief Executive Officer of AC Education, Ayala Corporation’s holding company for its education initiatives, including Affordable Private Education Center, Inc. (APEC Schools), the country’s largest chain of high schools with over 16,000 students, University of Nueva Caceres (UNC), one of the leading universities in the Bicol region with over 8,000 students, and National Teachers College, the first private college in the country to offer a BS Education degree, with approximately 10,000 students. AC Education’s goal is to deliver high-quality, affordable education that equips its graduates with real-world skills for employability. Fred is also a Trustee of the Ayala Foundation and the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), and a member of the Global Advisory Board of the Humanitarian Innovation Initiative at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University, as well as Brown Alumni Area Co-Chair. He is a graduate of Brown University (BA, Economics and Development Studies, ’82) and Harvard University (MBA, ’87).