About Humanitarian Futures

Humanitarian Futures is for those with humanitarian roles and responsibilities who will have to prepare for a world in which the types of humanitarian crises, their dimensions and dynamics are increasing – in many ways, exponentially.

The Humanitarian Futures website is designed to assist those who recognise this fact, and are determined to meet the consequent challenges. It is based upon the work of the Humanitarian Futures Programme (HFP) at King’s College, London from 2004 to 2015.

In its efforts to help prepare the humanitarian sector for the future, the HFP worked with a wide range of those from the natural and social sciences, governments and community organisations, international and regional governmental and non-governmental organisations, the private sector and the military.

Over twelve years, the tools in the Humanitarian Futures Toolkit, like most of the material found on this site, have been developed, tried and tested in various forums in many countries and continents. In East, West and Southern Africa; South East Asia and the Far East; in addition to South and North America, the practical importance of the Humanitarian Future’s message and approaches have been acknowledged as an essential step towards preparing for the future.

The toolkit, as well as other sections of the website, also reflect close collaboration from 2004 to 2016  between, amongst others, Tufts University’s Feinstein International Center, and the UK based Overseas Development Institute’s Humanitarian Policy Group.

While we feel that the resources this website has to offer now have very practical benefits, we also recognise that there are many things that others can offer in terms of strategic planning for the future. This is why – with all the work and testing we have undertaken to date – we still are very aware that your inputs, additions and suggestions will be essential if the objectives of the Humanitarian Futures website are to be of use to the wider humanitarian community.

For this reason the website has a central interact section – to ensure that over a decade’s experience continues to be relevant for those with humanitarian roles and responsibilities.

Planning from the future for the future

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Who We Are



Dr. Randolph Kent co-hosts the Humanitarian Futures website. He also is a Visiting Professor at the African Leadership Centre, King’s College, London, and is working with the Royal United Services Institute on an initiative called the Futures Project.

Prior to these appointments, he directed the Humanitarian Futures Programme at Kings College, London, where he and his staff worked from 2004 to 2015 with a wide range of multilateral, bilateral and non-governmental organizations to strengthen their strategic and planning capacities for dealing with longer-term humanitarian threats.

Dr. Kent accepted his post at King’s College, London, after completing his assignment as UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia in April 2002. Prior to his assignment in Somalia, he served as UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Kosovo [1999], UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Rwanda [1994-1995], Chief of the UN Emergency Unit in Sudan [1989-1991] and Chief of Emergency Prevention and Preparedness in Ethiopia [1987-1989].

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Project Consultant

Joanne Burke is an independent consultant, based in London. From 2009-2015 she worked as a Senior Research Fellow with the Humanitarian Futures Programme and the Planning From the Futures Project

focusing on themes related to new actor engagement in humanitarian action and the role and work of the United Nations in relation to a changing global, institutional and crisis landscape.

Joanne is a certified partnership broker and associate with the Partnership Broker’s Association, London.  Previously, she worked with UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Geneva,  (2004-2009) where she launched the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI), and she managed the Global Training Programme for USAID’s Office for U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), (1990-2000).

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Project Consultant

Charlotte re-joined Humanitarian Futures in 2016, where she is supporting Randolph and Joanne in the successful delivery of the Humanitarian Futures Toolkit.

Charlotte worked for the Humanitarian Futures Programme from 2012-2014, when. she split her time between focusing on the Translating Military Capacities for Humanitarian Action project, and managing HFP’s financial administration. Her research focused on identifying mechanisms to overcome the barriers that inhibit more effective understanding in humanitarian action between the military, humanitarian and private sectors. Overcoming these barriers will increasingly be essential for addressing the highly complex crises for which the international community will have to prepare.

Before HFP, Charlotte spent 3 years working at the think tanks Policy Exchange and Chatham House, where her work focused on the Middle East and North Africa Region, and International Law. She has an MA in International Security Studies.

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Project Consultant, Senior Researcher

Alice Obrecht is a Senior Research Fellow for the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance (ALNAP). She worked as a Senior Researcher at the Humanitarian Futures

Programme from December 2012 to August 2014.

Alice led the 3-year FOREWARN project, which provided capacity building and technical support to the humanitarian directorate of the ECOWAS Commission. Alice also worked across HFP’s portfolio on accountability, the Organisational Self-Assessment Test (OSAT) and the future of urban humanitarian crises.

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Project Researcher and Policy Consultant

Simon served with HFP between ­­­2012 and 2014, providing research across several of our workstreams. He then worked as a policy consultant on behalf of several international organizations including DFID and UNOCHA.

As of 2017, Simon is a Humanitarian Access Analyst at Mercy Corps, providing conflict analysis in Syria and other crises across the Middle East and North Africa.
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Futures Group Manager

Emma Visman is a Senior Researcher at King’s College London as well as working independently with a range of multi-partner, climate resilience building consortia. From 2005-2014 she worked as the Futures Group Manager with the Humanitarian Futures Programme,

strengthening dialogue between scientists and humanitarian actors on a range of future risks.

Combining operational experience and practical policy development with NGOs, government agencies, research institutions and think tanks, Emma was awarded a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship from 2011 to 2014 supporting her work with the Humanitarian Futures Programme. She currently supports risk communication and monitoring, evaluation and learning to strengthen integration of climate risks within planning across timeframes and decision making levels.

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Senior Programme Coordinator

Sophie was Senior Programme Coordinator for the Planning from the Future Project, and worked at the Humanitarian Futures Programme both based at King’s College London.

Currently she is the Programme Director for the Capital, Science and Policy Practice at Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company. The Practice confronts the large scale challenges of risk and seeks innovative uses of risk management and insurance-related mechanisms to build resilient economies and societies around the world to support sustainable growth.

Sophie is also the Co-Chair of the Insurance and Humanitarian System Working Group for the Insurance Development Forum, a public/private partnership led by the insurance industry and supported by international organisations including the World Bank and United Nations.

Sophie studied for her Master’s degree at King’s College London in 2012 and is continuing her studies to obtain her LLM

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Policy Advisor on Risk and Resilience

Hugh worked in academia, with the Humanitarian Futures Programme at King’s College, London; for government, as a Director in AusAID’s Humanitarian Branch; and, most recently, as Head of Humanitarian Policy at the British Red Cross.

He holds a Masters degree from the London School of Economics and his policy expertise builds on more than 12 years field-based experience in development and humanitarian contexts in South and South-east Asia, the Pacific and West Africa.

Hugh is currently Head of the INCAF Secretariat Global Partnerships and Policies, Development Cooperation Division, OECD

As Risk & Resilience Policy Advisor with the OECD, Hugh supports OECD/DAC Member States and their partners to translate political commitments to risk and resilience into more effective programming on the ground. With a particular focus on ‘resilience systems analysis’, this work promotes a better understanding of the underlying stresses that affect communities’ key assets, and the inter-connections between risks, assets and resilience. This systems-based approach provides a practical and concrete ‘roadmap’ to identify the key resources and capacities that are needed at different layers of society to absorb, adapt and transform in the face of a broad range of risks, stresses and uncertainty.

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Project Assistant, Web Development

Niklas joined Humanitarian Futures in 2017 to support the delivery of the Humanitarian Futures platform.

He has a background in graphics, web design and development, copywriting and content production.

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Humanitarian Futures Donors

The Humanitarian Futures website reflects over a decade’s work and progress. We would like to acknowledge all of the support that has been received from all of the following agencies