Student profile

Student Profile: Suliaman Sarwary

Suliaman sitting on a rock looking at cloudy mountain valley view.

14 June 2022

Institutional structures, social capital  & community resilience: can legislative & governance arrangements facilitate community influence on recovery decision making?

I was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. Aotearoa New Zealand has been home for almost 18 years. I have a BA (humanitarian interventions) and LLB from the University of Canterbury (UC) in 2011. Although I went away and worked for a few years, I returned to the UC to do my Masters in Law (LLM) between 2014/2015. My work experience has been mainly in humanitarian and development sectors where I have worked on community development, risk reduction and recovery projects. Given my work experience and the hazard-scapes in both Afghanistan and New Zealand, I was always passionate to help communities.

In my spare time, I love outdoor activities and long walks.

My Project

My project concerns how much and what kind of influence the legislative and governance arrangements have on the capacity of communities to influence recovery decision making. It is an inter-disciplinary project that brings together law and sociology/social capital. My research focuses on the Greater Christchurch Area (Christchurch City Council and Selwyn and Waimakariri District Councils) before and during the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence in 2010/2011. I aim to conduct my research through semi-structured interviews with three groups: pop-up groups – those that came in response to the disasters, pre-existing groups, and officials who were part of the recovery process at the time.

My research contributes to Disaster Resilient Rural New Zealand co-creation. I have two amazing supervisors who guide me in this journey. They are Dr. Sarah Beaven (Lead Supervisor, School of Earth and Environment, UC) and Professor John Hopkins (Associate Supervisor, Faculty of Law, UC).

Next Steps

This project is all about the ability of communities to influence recovery decision making and recovery resources required for enhancing community resilience. Thus, my plan for the project is to see if this was the case and how things can be improved for the future to have disaster resilient recoveries.

Suliaman standing in front of a dry, sandy hillside full of tents.

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