Meet Emmett Fitzgerald, New Director of the Garrison Institute’s Contemplative-Based Resilience Project

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As recent research by The Guardian has shown, levels of anxiety, depression and PTSD are running at epidemic rates among aid workers who colloquially refer to crises of mental health as “burnout.” As the new Director of the CBR Project, Emmett will lead a new phase of growth, bringing to greater scale the existing successes of the CBR training program that helps aid workers to recognize signs and to combat burnout by learning tools including meditation and yoga.

Emmett began his career as a management consultant with Deloitte and has subsequently worked in the field of humanitarian response and development for over ten years. He began his international response work by spending eighteen months in DR Congo leading emergency health programs in seventy health centers and hospitals, and most recently was deployed to Nepal after the 2015 earthquakes.

From 2010 until early 2014, he was involved with the earthquake response in Haiti, first as the manager of a camp of 25,000 displaced people, then as a UN policy advisor to the Government of Haiti, and subsequently as an independent consultant to the World Bank.

In 2011, as part of a team of six people from across the UN working directly with the Government of Haiti, he directly managed the design, fundraising and implementation of a $70 million dollar program which has thus far rehoused more than 35,000 people. In parallel, he led a working group of cooperating agencies that together refined a program methodology and advocated for policies which have thus far helped to rehouse 120,000 people left homeless by the earthquake.

Emmett has also worked for the Gates Foundation in an advocacy role, and for the Nike Foundation, which addresses the needs of adolescent girls living in poverty, where he was part of the co-Investment team fundraising and creating programmatic partnerships with private and public sector organizations.

Emmett has an undergraduate degree in Theology from Oxford University and received a Fulbright scholarship to attend Columbia University where he earned a master’s degree in international affairs. For fun, he spent a year writing a book, which involved living three months each in Ireland, London, France and San Francisco.

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