Bryan Cassella

Regional Disaster Officer, American Red Cross of Alaska

My name is Bryan Cassella and I am the Regional Disaster Officer for the American Red Cross of Alaska. I come to this position by way of an academic and professional career in international development and humanitarian aid. Having lived and worked around the world, most extensively in Mongolia, Sri Lanka, and Rwanda, my experiences have embedded a deep passion for and care of community engagement, exchange, and empowerment. In relocating back to the United States, I sought to make Alaska my home, as it possesses such a vast and under-appreciated wealth of history, culture, diversity, resilience, and independence. While in graduate school, I discovered some of my greatest academic interests revolved around movements for self-determination and transitional justice. Through the combination of these two themes, I sought to decolonize my understandings of social motivations and reconstruct my approach and methods in engaging communities where they are at, with the tools and wisdoms most available and comfortable to them. I have found great appreciation and value for the state I live in, for there is much to learn from the ways of its native communities and even more to cherish from the pride Alaskans maintain. Through extensive travel across this vast state, I have seen first-hand the devastating impacts of climate change on our Arctic and Sub-Arctic communities. Now more than ever I am driven to foster new connections between Arctic communities, support the people of my home state in their evolution of modern resiliency strategies, and find new paths for resources that may deliver hope for a sustainable future while preserving a historic past. The opportunity for advocacy and privileges granted my position are the greatest tools at my disposal as we seek to identify the most effective course of action for unprecedented development in the global Arctic.

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