Ela Serdaroglu is currently holding the position of Shelter Lead at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva. In this capacity, she is also the Global Shelter Cluster Coordinator for the IFRC, co-leading the Shelter Cluster with UNHCR.
Ela’s humanitarian career started in 1999 following the Marmara Earthquake in Turkey. Before assuming her current position, Ela worked for the IFRC, Netherlands Red Cross, HealthNet International and UNICEF at field and headquarters levels on a variety of programs covering the full range of disaster management continuum, including organizational development and capacity building. It was a conscious career choice for Ela to focus on the humanitarian shelter and settlements sector as of 2010 when she joined the IFRC. In addition to constantly being on the lookout for improving shelter coordination, her recent professional interests include green response, linkages of shelter with other sectors and working in urban contexts. As part of her dedication to progressing the humanitarian shelter, Ela was one of the chapter lead authors for shelter and settlements in the 2018 revision of Sphere handbook.
Born and raised in Turkey, Ela holds a Bachelor of Science in the city and regional planning from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara and master’s degrees from Harvard University in the USA and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands on urban planning and international humanitarian assistance respectively. When not working and thinking about humanitarian challenges, she translates and edits children’s books and works on improving her silversmithing skills.