Dilnoor Panjwani PhD 2013

Current Work:  Researcher, United Nations Development Programme                                                                     

As a student in SCARP’s doctoral program, I conducted research in disaster risk management (DRM) planning under the supervision of Stephanie Chang. Through the program, I was able to develop a strong academic grounding in my area of study along with enhanced insights on DRM from actors in the field. For example, after my first year, I completed an internship with the DRM team of the World Bank in Washington DC.  In my second year, I was part of an international interdisciplinary research team under a NSF grant in post-earthquake Haiti.  Later in the program, I co-led research on disaster resilience in villages impacted by floods in Pakistan.  

My doctoral work took me to Aceh, Indonesia, where I studied post-tsunami community recovery across seven villages. Institutional bridges, personal relationships, and stories from the field during this time continue to inspire my work. I have shared my findings in different settings, including workshops, forums and conferences.  For example, my emphasis on linking research and practice made me competitive for scholarship to attend a Summer Academy at the United Nations University focused on bridging the two in the DRM.  I continue to engage with researchers from this and other events.

Soon after graduating in November 2013, I moved to New York City, to take on my current research position with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  As a member of their evaluations team, I am exploring new methodologies and ways of evaluating a range of thematic and programmatic areas of the UNDP.  These include post-disaster humanitarian activities across many countries.  My training at SCARP has been crucial for bringing fresh ideas and approaches to the table.  Some examples include: informing theoretically driven evaluation designs, enhancing assessments of impact at the community level, and developing practical recommendations to move forward.