Gisli Olafsson is one of the leading experts in the world on the use of technology in enhancing the response to large scale natural and man-made disasters. Until 2015 Gisli acted as the emergency Response Director for NetHope, a consortium of 57 world leading NGOs incl. International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent, Save the Children, WorldVision, Oxfam, Relief International, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, and the International Rescue Committee. Since 2015 he is acting as the humanitarian advisor for NetHope.
Gisli has over 20 years of experience in the field of disaster management and is an active member of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team of experienced disaster managers which are on stand-by to deploy anywhere in the world on a 6 hour notice to coordinate the first response of the international community to disasters on behalf of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Gisli also has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry, most recently working at Microsoft as a trusted advisor to international organizations and governments in disaster prone countries on the effective use of ICT to enhance response to natural disasters.
Gisli has participated in disaster field missions in connections with floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, pandemics as wee as European Refugee Crisis. Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti 2010, Gisli led the first international rescue team that arrived in the country.
He is a member of the US State Department’s sub-committee on the use of technology in international disasters and was named as UNICEF Humanitarian Innovation Fellow and a Technology Partner Network Advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013.
In 2014, Gisli published the book The Crisis Leader on the role of leadership in times of crisis, leveraging examples from his missions around the world to provide readers with an insight into the key aspects of leadership critical during chaotic times like disasters.
Gisli holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science and Chemistry from Copenhagen University (Denmark 1993) and a Diploma in International Development from University of Iceland (2017). Gisli currently lives in Iceland, along with his wife and 5 children.