2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: A Leadership Challenge

Feely_prez1On March 9, Matt Feely, Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia Business School, spoke with students and members of the faculty LIASE colloquium about the challenges of coordinating emergency response following the series of disasters following the traumatic earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11, 2011. At the time, Matt was an officer in the Navy and was placed in charge of operational logistics for the Navy. He helped supervise and organize relief efforts between the US Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, an operation that came to be know as “Operation Tomodachi” (Operation “Friendship”). Matt worked closely with public officials as well as NGOs that worked to gather and distribute emergency supplies in areas where ordinary channels of distribution had been disrupted. He spoke movingly about the challenges of motivating a diverse set of actors and institutions in a cultural context with which one has only just started to become comfortable. As environmental impact is a key component of any natural disaster, especially one as radioactively potent as the March 11 disaster in Japan, Matt’s talk was received warmly by the colloquium members in addition to students from Prof. Jorden Hayes’ “Earth’s Hazards” (ERSC141) course and the upcoming LIASE-sponsored Meltdown and Waves: Responding to Disasters in the US and Japan summer mini-mosaic program.


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