Ph.D. Candidate E-Attends Conference on Sustainable Development in Times of COVID-19


By: Sara Belligoni, Ph.D. Candidate


Sara Belligoni, Ph.D. Candidate in Security Studies at the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs, participated to the International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD) organized by the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD), The Earth Institute at Columbia University, the Global Master’s in Development Practice (MDP), and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). The Conference, first held in 2013, is a yearly forum where professionals working in academia, civil society, government, private sector, and United Nations (UN) agencies discuss topics related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


The two-day conference was scheduled to happen in New York City but was moved online due to COVID-19. Sara, currently in her third year, presented her study titled Overcoming the Mistrust: How State Capacity Challenges Civil-Military Humanitarian Coordination when Responding to Disasters within the panel Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction for Cities. Sara had the opportunity to connect with fellow scholars and professionals working in the field that intersects climate change and disasters.


She says of the conference “I was excited to travel to New York City to meeting with fellow scholars and professionals in my field, but the organizer went the extra length and allowed us to engage in a virtual environment that felt like being there in person.” Sara adds, “I am honored of having had the chance to discuss the preliminary findings of my study that underlines how governments’ capacities in emergency management can make a whole difference when responding to disasters. This, ultimately affects how international interveners coordinate their efforts when delivering emergency-affected populations with humanitarian aid.”


Sara is motivated in defending her dissertation in about a year to going back to her passion, “I look forward to going back to work in the world of international organizations and public policy and apply the knowledge I gained during my doctoral studies.” She says, “I do not exclude an academic career in the future, but I am working hard to be that person you will see deployed in the field when a natural hazard strikes and experts can make a difference in saving lives.”

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