Gisli Olafsson is one of the leading experts in the world on the use of technology in disaster response. Gisli is a sought after speaker, trainer and advisor on the role technology can play in enhancing the response to large scale natural and man-made disasters. Gisli Olafsson joined NetHope in November 2010 as the Emergency Response Director. He is responsible for coordinating information and communication technology (ICT) related emergency preparedness and emergency response activities of NetHope’s 41 member organizations. They include organizations such as International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent, Save the Children, WorldVision, Oxfam, Relief International, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, International Rescue Committee and 33 other world leading non-profit organizations.

Prior to joining 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 (UNDAC) team, a 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 (OCHA). 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 in Ghana (2007), Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (2008), Hurricane Ike in Texas (2008), Sichuan Earthquake (2008), Pandemic Outbreak (2009), West Sumatra Earthquake (2009), Haiti Earthquake (2010), Japan Earthquake/Tsunami (2011), Horn of Africa Famine (2011), and Typhoons Bopha (2012) and Haiyan (2013) in the Philippines.


Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti 2010, Gisli led the first international rescue team that arrived in the country. 


The combination of Gisli’s extensive field experience in disaster management and technology background provides Gisli a deep understanding how technology can be applied to solve the most challenging collaboration issues within disaster response. This has led him to be appointed to various advisory boards and committees, such as the US State Department’s sub-committee on the use of technology in international disasters.

Gisli holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science and Chemistry from Copenhagen University (Denmark 1993). Gisli currently lives in the Seattle area along with his wife, 5 children and 1 dog.