David Giles is the associate director & senior research associate of the Program on Crisis Leadership (PCL) at Harvard Kennedy School. In addition to playing a leadership role in the administration of the program, he conducts research and writes on a range of issues relating to crisis events and high-risk hazards. He co-edited with Arnold Howitt and Dutch Leonard the textbook Managing Crises: Responses to Large-Scale Emergencies (CQ Press, 2009) and is the author of a number of Harvard Kennedy School case studies, including a four-part series that examines the mass evacuations of the Houston and New Orleans metropolitan regions in 2005 and 2008; three cases that profile state-level responses to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic; and a case that explores the management of post-tsunami recovery in Aceh, Indonesia. He also serves as a teaching fellow for two Harvard Extension School courses: Crisis Management and Emergency Preparedness (MGMT 5090) and Disaster Relief and Recovery (MGMT 5095).
Before joining PCL, Giles worked as a staff researcher at the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a division of the National Academies in Washington, DC. While at the IOM, he contributed to several studies concerning public health emergency preparedness as well as to a major review of smoking prevention efforts in the U.S., which helped inform the Tobacco Control Act of 2009. In addition, Giles served for two years as a NGO Development Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Romania, supporting the implementation of an AIDS/HIV public education campaign and working with city hall to establish a community development resource center.
He received his master’s degree from the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University, where he studied social and political aspects of the post-communist transition in Central and Eastern Europe, and his bachelor’s degree from Vassar College. As an undergraduate, he spent a year directly enrolled at the Freie Universität Berlin.