Recupera Chile

Recupera Chile is a multi-disciplinary Harvard University initiative led by the Kennedy School and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies that brings together a broad coalition of institutions including Harvard students, alumni and faculty and Chilean academic, non-profit, and private and public sector organizations to focus on post-disaster recovery.  The program addresses a range of issues including technical assistance, livelihood restoration, capacity building, community mental health, early childhood education, cultural heritage restoration, and built space based in the three  communities of Cobquecura, Dichato and Perales, near the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake and tsunami in southern Chile. The people, businesses and local governments of each of these communities are working in tandem with Recupera Chile on a number of projects based on assessments of needed relief emerging from each community with the help of students and faculty from Harvard and its partners.

Media Coverage on Recupera Chile: click here. 


The project aims to put Harvard University’s network and knowledge into action by integrating a multidisciplinary Harvard faculty team and involving students with local communities. Recupera Chile connects these and other resources with the needs of the communities and, in so doing, involve different actors in the long-term and sustainable development of the area.  Recupera Chile’s longer term goal is to create local and international networks to support the projects and to build on lessons learned to strengthen local capabilities that will ensure that the results will endure once these actors step aside. It recognizes the community as the main driver of the recovery/development process.  The program therefore follows a bottom-up approach resulting in a thoughtful analysis to improve the quality of life of the entire community. Harvard hopes to further develop its efforts to address disaster prevention and mitigation around the world through the study of the Chile case.

Recent News

Beyond Reconstruction

On April 17 & April 18, 2019, Diane Davis (GSD), RFK Professor Pablo Allard, and Judith Palfrey (HMS), led a two day conference on conceptual frameworks for recovery in Mexico and Chile. “Beyond Reconstruction: Environmental, social, and infrastructural challenges for long-term recovery after major earthquakes in Mexico and Chile” was held at GSD and Adams house. Diane Davis´ GSD students presented their research and post disaster opportunity projects after the earthquake and field trip in January to Tehuantepec. Recupera Chile team experts, led by Doug Ahlers(HKS) and Judith Palfrey (HMS), presented lessons learned after 8 years of experiential learning with community involvement. During the event, Marcela Rentería and Pablo Allard signed the adoption of Recupera Chile by Universidad del Desarrollo. For more details, click here. 

In January 2019, Judith Palfrey (HMS), visited Dichato, Chile to develop an Innovative Marine Science Education for Children program, as part of the Recupera Chile Initiative and through the Santander Foundation for innovative educational programming. Working with scientists from Universidad del Desarrollo and with Fundación Mar de Chile, they will develop modules and methodologies that support local teachers in teaching the fundamentals of climate science, marine biology, oceanography and prudent stewardship of fish and shellfish populations.
Recupera Chile Judith Palfrey
Together with the Recupera Chile team, Palfrey also met with 20 MBA students from Tsinghua Univeristy School of Economics and Management, Professor Ivan Cartes from Universidad de Bío Bío, and Jeff Swiryn to teach them about the Recupera Chile model.


Sea Farmers

• Click here to check the new initiative of the Recupera Chile Project to Recover the Seashore 

Participating Harvard faculty: Doug Ahlers, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Judith Palfrey, T. Berry Brazelton Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Pierre Bélanger, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Collaborators: Miho Mazereeuw, MIT Architecture; Sam and Cindy McCullagh; Elizabeth Peacock, HMS; Iván Cartes, Universidad del Bío-Bío; Mario Valdivia and Martín Zilic, Universidad de Concepción; Gino Mosso, SERCOTEC; Miguel Cordero; Matthew Stolhandske
Collaborating Institutions: Center for International Development, Harvard University; MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Universidad Católica, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Universidad de Concepción, Universidad del Desarrollo, Universidad del Bío-Bío, CORFO, SERCOTEC, FOSIS, Ministerio de Vivienda y Urbanismo, Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales, Fundación CREA, Fundación para la Superación de la Pobreza, Arauco, Fundación Integra, Delegado de Aldeas y Campamentos, Municipalidad de Tomé, Dichato y Coelemu, Fundación EPES.

Media Coverage on Sea Farmers: click here.