Current and Upcoming

EPIC Conversation with Dirk Salomons

September 10, 2024
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Faculty House, 64 Morningside Dr., New York, NY 10027 Garden Room 2

EPIC Conversation with Dirk Salomons

On April 30, EPIC will host Dirk Salomons, who joined the United Nations in 1970, and Romano Lasker, who joined in 2002. In the 1970s, decolonization had just created a bevy of new nations, and the UN hoped to reach out beyond the confines of the Cold War to build a flourishing global South; by 2002, such illusions had been shattered, the complexities of peacebuilding were apparent, and climate change shaped a totally new development agenda.

Dirk worked on management issues, peace building and post-conflict recovery during his career, directing the peace process in Mozambique during the early 1990s, teaching international public sector management at NYU and later on heading up SIPA’s human rights and humanitarian policy specialization; his consulting firm Praxis was prominent in the early 2000s in support of humanitarian operations.

Romano started his career in Iraq and was working on the Oil-for-Food program when the 2003 conflict erupted; in the aftermath, his team coordinated the UN’s humanitarian response there. Over the years, Romano served in various management functions addressing the UN’s global coordination of humanitarian affairs, participating in numerous surge missions in Asia and Africa. He currently heads UNDP’s “Nexus” program, linking the UN system’s response across peace keeping, peace building and development.

How has the world changed over the past fifty years, and how has that affected the fundamentals of international solidarity and cooperation?  Dirk and Romano intend to reflect on their experience and observations: what is in store for our common future?

Dirk Salomons is a former Director of the Humanitarian Policy track at the School of International Public Affairs, Columbia University. In his research as well as in teaching, Salomons focused on the interaction between policy and management in humanitarian operations. He has a particular interest in the transition from relief to recovery in countries coming out of conflict. Prior to joining the SIPA faculty in 2002, and then continuing until 2013, Salomons was a managing partner of the Praxis Group, Ltd., an international management consulting firm based in the USA and Switzerland. Salomons also was a non-resident fellow at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, working mainly on post-conflict stabilization issues. He retired from all this in 2020.

From 1970 until 1997, Salomons served in a wide range of management, peace building, and policy advisory functions in several organizations of the United Nations system, including FAO, UNDP, UNAIDS, UNOPS, and the UN Secretariat. He served, inter alia, as Director of the Personnel Policies Division at the UN’s International Civil Service Commission, Presiding Officer of the UN’s Joint Appeals Board, and Deputy Director of External Relations at UNDP. His most cherished assignment was that of Executive Director for the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Mozambique, from 1992 to 1993.  As a consultant, subsequently, Salomons advised a wide range of international organizations and government agencies on topics such as the management of humanitarian mine action, the use of “clusters” in the coordination of humanitarian action, funding mechanisms for post-conflict recovery, and broader issues of international public sector management. Fieldwork was largely done in Sudan, Chad, the DR Congo, East Timor, and West Africa.

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Contact Information

Emeritus Professors in Columbia (EPIC)
(212) 854-8083