Mary Fran Myers Scholarship Winners
The Mary Fran Myers Scholarship recognizes outstanding individuals who share Myers' commitment to disaster research and practice and have the potential to make a lasting contribution to reducing disaster vulnerability.
2013 winners are:
Mara Benadusi is a tenured researcher and lecturer at the Department of Political and Social Science at the University of Catania. She also teaches in the Ph.D. program on Anthropology at the University of Messina, where she is currently supervising doctoral theses on post-disaster emergency response.
Benadusi has worked extensively the tsunami that affected Sri Lanka in December 2004. Her work focuses on the educational aspect of disaster response, including how individuals and social groups learn to protect themselves in disasters. Her research deals heavily with vulnerability and resilience, especially the analysis of experiences of “community-based” disaster management and disaster risk reduction.
Mara is currently a member of the RESHAPE Program, funded by the European Commission and co-funded by the University of Catania. RESHAPE involves researchers and professionals concerned with advancing scientific and policy-oriented knowledge about the EU response capabilities towards natural disasters, humanitarian crises and systemic risks, within and outside Europe.
Hari Krishna Nibanupudi
Hari Krishna Nibanupudi works with International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu as a specialist and team leader for Disaster Risk Reduction and Community Resilience. He has previously worked with World Bank Institute as Disaster Risk Reduction consultant and with Oxfam America as a South Asia Disaster Risk Reduction Specialist.
Nibanupudi has implemented large projects related to disaster risk reduction, climate adaptation, and natural resource management. He has commissioned and coordinated more than 30 humanitarian research projects and published more than a dozen disaster risk reduction tool kits, handbooks, training manuals, and videos. Many of these publications focus on gender, development, and disaster management.
Nibanupudi is an active promoter of gender equal approaches in the programs and work culture of ICIMOD. He has been a member of the group’s gender source team and was nominated for the ICIMOD Gender Champion award. Nibanupudi has also assisted the selection process of the Mary Fran Myers Award for contributions to gender inclusive disaster management and research. His formal education in Communication and Business Management, however, he has also been trained in gender equality, poverty analysis, economics, public policy, environmental education, natural resource management, humanitarian assistance, and humanitarian law.
Barbara Ryan is the founder and director of Emergency Media and Public Affairs, a membership organization of disaster communicators. Ryan was drawn into disaster management in 2002 when her job managing a local council communication team required her to work with the Local Disaster Management Committee to keep the community informed of bushfire information. Originally from Toowoomba in Queensland—a city that suffered 10 years of drought before fatal flash floods in 2011—Ryan decided that disaster communication would be her field.
Around the same time, the Queensland Police District Disaster Management Group asked her to set up a communication function at district level. The staff shortages she experienced led her to eventually establish a volunteer communication group of regional public relations professionals. Professionals are trained annually and can be called in whenever disaster strikes. The team was deployed during the disastrous 2011 flash floods and worked on recovery communication in particular.
A former journalist with 25 years in the communication field, Ryan is currently completing a PhD at the University of South Australia on the topic of how people get information during disasters.