Class 16 (2017-2019)

Christian Lara, Colombia

Duke University – Master in International Development Policy

Humanitarian Diplomacy & Political Affairs | Crisis & Recovery Management | Emergency Preparedness Planning & Response

Chris Lara is a political scientist who worked as a Protection Specialist with the US Department of Children and Families, before starting his graduate studies on humanitarian action and peace and conflict studies. This experience allowed him direct contact with humanitarian stakeholders in occupied Palestinian territories, Bosnia Herzegovina, and Colombia. He has been working on issues related to Humanitarian Affairs with the United Nation Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) in Geneva (Emergency Services Branch), and New York (Coordination Response Division), and since 2010 with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) on humanitarian Mine Action issues, peace-building, gender, and Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR).

During the last Ebola crisis in West Africa, as a member of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), he worked within the National Ebola Response Centre, as the Situation/Emergency Room Coordinator in Freetown, Sierra Leone – subsequently seconded to the Senior Management Office of WHO Sierra Leone, worked on coordination, emergency preparedness and response, and early recovery issues.

Before becoming a Rotary Peace Fellow, Chris served with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), leading the Relief Reintegration and Protection (RRP) team at the epicenter of the relief activities performed by the United Nations in Unity State (border State with Sudan and Abyei). In February 2017, a major famine emergency response was declared and Chris was involved in the administration of the largest protection of civilians (PoC) site in the world with approximately 120,000 internally displaced people (IDPs): one of the most complex humanitarian, peacekeeping, and protection operations in our time.

As a mid-career professional, his interests have been on the potential of cross-sectorial policy development in enhancing the efficiency, efficacy and impact of multidimensional interventions in the fields of humanitarian action, human rights and public health, as a powerful enabling resource for peace-building.

Applied Field Experience

WHO-Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC
International Peace Institute (IPI), New York, NY