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.

Coming Up

Beyond Reconstruction: Environmental, social, and infrastructural challenges for long-term recovery in Mexico and Chile

April 17 & April 18, 2019

Worldwide, natural disasters are increasing in frequency and in severity. Because of population growth, more human communities are being directly affected by natural disasters causing death, disability and destruction of homes and livelihoods. When these disasters occur, there must always be a prompt and robust emergency response and early reconstruction for the victims. Over the years after the initial response, there is a long period of recovery that requires the attention of policy makers and actors from all parts of society to work together. The recovery period provides a unique opportunity for a region to re-evaluate existing conditions and plan for a positive future for residents and resiliency infrastructure. What are the skills and talents that university faculty, students and centers can bring to the field, to transform disasters into opportunities for all involved? This program will explore how the concept of recovery has guided the work of programs in Oaxaca, Mexico and southern Chile.

For more details, click here. 

Recent News

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.

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.