Guest Speakers 2023

Assela Pathirana, Associate Professor in Water Infrastructure Asset Management

Assela Pathirana (1969) is a Civil Engineer and hydrologist originating from Sri Lanka. He holds a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering, B.Sc.Eng. (First Class Honours) (1995) from the University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka and Masters (1998) and Doctoral (2001) degrees in Civil Engineering, specializing in hydrology and water resources engineering, from Tokyo University. Next, he worked as a senior research fellow of the Environment and Sustainable Development programme of United Nations University and later as a research scientist of the International Centre for Water Hazard Risk Management (UNESCO-ICHARM), before joining IHE-DELFT in year 2006. During the period of two years from 2020, he contributed as Chief Technical Advisor – Water Engineering for the Ministry of Environment of the Maldives and the United Nations Development Programme, contributing to climate adaptation of the water systems of the outer islands of the Maldives.

Hielke Zantema, Deputy Director Disaster Response at ZOA

Hielke Zantema is the Deputy Director of Disaster Response at ZOA, the charity for HagaMUN 2023. He has expertise in the fields of emergency response, early recovery and triple nexus, and a Master of Science in Humanitarian Action. He personally travels to war zones to assist local ZOA teams, and also coordinates the development of new recovery and relief plans in high-risk areas.

ZOA is a non-profit international relief and recovery organisation that focuses on the human aspect of natural disasters, working, in their words, ‘to provide relief to people affected by violent conflicts and natural disasters in fragile contexts’ and to ‘provide assistance to the most vulnerable victims of displacement, by helping them rebuild their homes and their livelihoods and to live peacefully together in stable communities.