Deborah Robinson, PhD

Dr. Robinson is a senior program manager with more than 20 years’ experience working with organizations in numerous countries. She has lived, worked, and traveled in 70 countries to date and has been involved in a variety of issues, including human rights, environmental justice, racism, sustainable development, emergency management, and violence against women. The thread that ties this work together is that it was all conducted from a social justice perspective and focused on issues of inclusion and marginalization.

She has over 10 years’ experience developing and delivering training courses and teaching. Most recently, she was director of the Emergency Readiness and Response Management degree program at the National Labor College and had a particular interest in climate change and disaster risk reduction. Prior to that, she was executive director of the National Legal Preparedness Training Program at the University of the District of Columbia. In that capacity, she was responsible for the development of the course Legal Issues and Disasters: Things You Should Know and its delivery across the 50 states and six US territories. She has also taught at Howard University and the University of Michigan.

She was the founder and executive director of International Possibilities Unlimited (IPU). For seven years in that capacity, she focused her attention on developing the capacity of domestic organizations to participate more effectively in international forums such as the United Nations. This process included helping domestic organizations develop a more global perspective, linking them with organizations in other countries involved in similar work, training delegations on United Nations (UN) processes, and participating in policy formation. IPU facilitated the participation of people from 34 countries in consultations, workshops, and delegations; worked with organizations to introduce new issues onto the UN agenda; disseminated regular informational email updates that reached thousands of people; and mentored a cadre of young adults, providing them with experiential learning opportunities.

Robinson received her BA in psychology from Williams College, her MBA with a specialization in international organizations from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and her PhD in social psychology from the University of Michigan.


  • PhD, University of Michigan
  • MBA, University of Geneva
  • BA, Williams College
Deborah Robinson, PhD

SIT Graduate Institute

Affiliated Faculty

MA in Sustainable Development

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