I am Assistant Professor of Disasters and Humanitarian Studies. I have studied and worked in humanitarian aid, disaster governance, and environmental sociology for almost twenty years, especially in conflict-affected and vulnerable settings. I lecture on humanitarian action, disaster risk reduction, methodology, and safety and security for in-situ/fieldwork research. At the moment, I have a particular interest in researching the compound effects and challenges of climate change, protracted crises, and displacement for humanitarian aid and disaster response and disaster risk reduction (DRR). I am also interested in the ethical, safety, and security aspects of research.
In ISS I also co-coordinate the Humanitarian Governance (HUM-GOV) project, financed by a European Research Council (ERC) advanced grant. This project explores the changing dynamics of humanitarian governance with a focus on civil society actors and crisis-affected people.
I serve as a Board Member of the International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA) and theExpertise Centre Humanitarian Communication (HumCom). Also as convener of the Peace and Ecology in the Anthropocene commission at the International Peace Research Association (IPRA). I also serve as a reviewer in leading journals and often take research, monitoring and evaluation, and advisory consultancy work. This work allows me to develop action research on a regular basis, so I can stay close to the experiences and processes taking place in my fields of study.
Before my current position at ISS, I worked as a researcher, project manager, and consultant with local and international NGOs, the United Nations, Governmental organisations, and in the private sector. I have also been an academic, lecturer, and visiting professor at various universities; led humanitarian aid groups; and researched in-situ the occurrence of several conflicts, crises, and natural hazard-related disasters. As a researcher and practitioner, my work has taken me to multiple complex and disaster-prone places, such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Chile, Jordan, Peru, South Sudan, Uganda, and Yemen.
I hold a PhD in Humanitarian Action and Disaster Governance from the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam, an MA in Environmental Studies from the University of Melbourne, and a BA in Sociology and a BA in Political Science from the A. Hurtado University. I also hold diplomas in Quantitative Multivariable Analysis, Environmental Impact Assessment, Public Policy, and Sustainable Development. Regarding applied research, I have experience and training in the development of fieldwork in hostile, complex and remote areas, with certifications by the United Nations, Red Cross, Centre for Safety and Development, GCORE, and RedR.
Rodrigo Mena & Kristen Cheney (13 January 2022) - Research ethics: what it is and why it matters
Z (Zeynep) Kasli, M (Marieke) van Houte, R (Rodrigo) Mena Fluhmann, DJM (Thea) Hilhorst & HM (Helen) Hintjens (5 September 2021) - Don't let our university researchers and students suffocate in Afghanistan
Rodrigo Mena (11 April 2021) - Trenches & Tragedy – Reducing Disaster Risk In Conflict Zones