SOAS University of London

Laura Morris

I think my affiliation to SOAS has greatly enhanced my research and ability to network with others in the field.

Year graduated from SOAS

Programme studied
MA Social Anthropology of Development

Current job title and name of organisation
Independent Researcher in Crisis Communication

What do you like about what you do?
I started my independent research project following the revolution in Egypt back in February. At the height of the Egyptian uprisings the government took the drastic step of stifling internet access, in an attempt to curb national resistance, by shutting down its servers. Gaddafi followed suit, and from the 3rd March 2011 until the 22nd August 2011 internet and mobile phone services were unavailable for most of those in Libya. My research focuses on the censorship of Libya's telecoms and in March I set up a blog called Communication Crisis in order to report on my findings. The most exciting aspect of this research was to be able to investigate and find solutions for a problem that was very current. From taking on this project I have been able to explore the field of ICT4Peace within the context of Libya and more generally and have established a successful network of relevant contacts in the field. As a result of my networking within the field of ICT4Peace, I have recently created a Crowdmap called ICT in Conflict & Disaster Response and Peacebuilding, which I co-authored with GIS expert Christine Broenner.

How has your time at SOAS helped you succeed in this role? 
I think my affiliation to SOAS has greatly enhanced my research and ability to network with others in the field; because of the outstanding reputation of SOAS, being a graduate gives my research a credibility that it perhaps wouldn't otherwise have.

Can you give current students any tips on getting into this kind of work? 
If you are interested in working in humanitarian logistics, information and/or response one of the best ways that you can gain experience and make a difference right now is to join the Standby Task Force (SBTF) of emergency responders. This a network of global volunteers who can be leveraged at any time to help map humanitarian crises making it easier for humanitarian responders to gather the essential information needed in the early days of a crisis. No previous experience is required and training is given - you just need a computer, mobile phone and an internet connection!