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Bianca Fadel

Doctoral Researcher in Development Studies at Northumbria University, UK

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About me

I am a forward thinking, results-oriented and multilingual academic and practitioner navigating humanitarian and development spaces for the past 10 years. I believe in building bridges and using my interpersonal skills to share experiences and learn from others across South and North geographies.


Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, I am currently based in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, as a PhD researcher in the Centre for International Development at Northumbria University. My project analyses identity and belonging in local volunteering experiences during crises, particularly in the case of Burundi, in East Africa. I have also been involved in policy-focused initiatives with humanitarian and development organisations including IFRC, VSO and UNV.


My academic background is in Humanitarian Action and International Relations and I have previously worked as advisor for humanitarian diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brazil. I am currently a volunteer with Macmillan Cancer Support in the UK and have previously implemented local youth engagement volunteering projects in Brazil.


Last but definitely not least, I strongly believe in the power of smiles. :)

KEY AREAS OF INTEREST: Volunteering; Community Development; Humanitarian Action; Creative and Participatory Methodologies; Global South; Decolonising Research


Education & Experience


2017 – Present
Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Fully funded doctoral researcher at the Centre for International Development. Since Sept. 2019, Associate Lecturer with experience in delivering in-person and online teaching for International Development and International Relations Undergraduate and Master's modules
2013 – 2016
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Brasilia, Brazil
Humanitarian Cooperation Adviser within the General Coordination of Humanitarian Cooperation and Actions Against Hunger (CGFOME) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil
2018 – Present
Volunteering in Conflicts and Emergencies Initiative (ViCE)
Member of the ViCE Initiative research team and part of the Volunteering in Dangerous Situations Working Group of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Volunteering Alliance
2016 – Present
Centre for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)
Brown University
Global Fellow in the CHRHS at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Jan – May 2013
Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations in Geneva
Geneva, Switzerland
Trainee on humanitarian diplomacy and human rights themes
2011 – 2013
Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)
Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Master’s degree in Humanitarian Action
2007 – 2010
Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP)
São Paulo, Brazil
Bachelor’s degree in International Relations

Recent Publications & Activities


Interactive map on volunteers’ experiences in response to COVID-19

Collaboration with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to analyse stories from volunteers currently responding to COVID-19 around the globe (with M. Baillie Smith, S. Fennerty, S. Hazeldine & others) [More information available here]​

Journal Article on Volunteering, Remuneration and Livelihoods

Volunteering hierarchies in the global South: remuneration and livelihoods (2020), Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations (with M. Baillie Smith, A. O’Loghlen & S. Hazeldine) [Open access article available here]

Encyclopedia Article on Volunteering and Sustainability

Volunteering: Connecting the Global Agenda on Sustainability to the Community Level (2020), Encyclopedia of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Partnerships for the Goals, Edited by Walter Leal Filho, Anabela Marisa Azul, Luciana Brandli, Amanda Lange Salvia and Tony Wall, Springer International Publishing: Cham [Article available here]

Conference Paper on Resilience and Volunteering

Volunteerism and Community Resilience: Locally Owned Solutions Delivering Impact (2020), IAVE 2020 Conference Paper (with A. Chadwick) [Paper and recording of webinar presentation available here]

Theme Papers on Volunteering in Conflicts and Emergencies

Volunteering in Conflicts and Emergencies, Series of Theme Papers (2018), Swedish Red Cross: Stockholm (with M. Baillie Smith, N. Thomas, J. Cadesky, M. Griffiths, B. Valle Paz & S. Agerhem) [Papers available here]

Book Chapter on Brazilian Humanitarian Diplomacy (in Portuguese)

Food Security and Nutrition and Humanitarian Action from the perspective of the Brazilian Foreign Policy from 2013 to 2015 (2017), in XIII Curso para Diplomatas Sul-Americanos: Brasília e Rio de Janeiro, 11 a 20 de maio de 2015, Organised by Sérgio Eduardo Moreira Lima,  FUNAG:  Brasilia,  pp.  57-78 (with M. Rondó Filho, M. C. Rial & M. A. Lopes Filho) [Full book available here]

A snapshot of my PhD research in 3 minutes?

Happy to share upon request a video recording of my participation on the 3MT® Three Minute Thesis Competition at Northumbria University in June 2020, for which I was awarded second place. Please feel free to get in touch!




Portuguese (native language)






Bossa Nova & MPB listener

Sunshine seeker

DIY person

Chocolate addicted

Travel lover