Lisa Hiwasaki

  • Assistant Professor of International Development
  • Department of Marine Affairs
  • Phone: 401.874.2854
  • Email:
  • Office Location: Coastal Institute Building, Room 213
  • Website


Dr Hiwasaki is an interdisciplinary social scientist who studies vulnerability and adaptive capacities of marginalized communities in the global South, with a focus on Southeast Asia. She brings to MAF 20 years of experience as an international development professional, where she worked with the UN and international research organizations.  She has experience initiating and leading interdisciplinary research and scientific projects in the fields of climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, agriculture and development, and natural resource management. She is passionate about promoting sustainable equitable development using collaborative and participatory approaches, to increase the resilience of marginalized populations, in particular: indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, and women. During her career she has worked in Japan, France, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Canada. Integrity and respect for diversity are key values which she promotes through her research and in her personal life.

Building on her experience over the years to integrate social equity and valorize the use of local & indigenous knowledge into international development programming and projects, Dr Hiwasaki’s current research program is on the interface between global changes and sustainable equitable development.  She is analyzing how Southeast Asian States understand and implement global processes such as the Sustainable Development Goals.  Her field research in coastal areas of Southeast Asia will use the political ecology lens, and will explore how marginalized groups are impacted by changes in their surroundings, and how these groups negotiate their situation vis-à-vis development under such changes.  


Ph.D. in International Development, Yokohama National University, Japan

M.A. in Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Canada

B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton College, Minnesota

Selected Publications

Hiwasaki, L., & Minh, T. T. (2022). Negotiating marginality: Towards an understanding of diverse development pathways of ethnic minorities in Vietnam. Journal of International Development, 1–21.

Landy, F., Chand, R., Déry, S., Dérioz, P., Ducourtieux, O., Garambois, N., Gauché, É., Germaine, M.-A., Hiwasaki, L., Létang, M., Sacareau, I. (2021) « Éco-ethnicité : les enjeux d’un soft power environnemental pour les minorités de l’Asie d’altitude (Chine, Laos, Népal) ». Via Tourism Review.

Hiwasaki, L., and Hill, L. (2019) Can we tackle climate change with social equity? Perspectives article, IDRC.

Hiwasaki, L. (2017) “Local Knowledge”. In Kelman, I., Mercer, J. & Gaillard, J.C. eds. Routledge Handbook of Disaster Risk Reduction Including Climate Change Adaptation. Oxon, UK: Routledge, 227-237.

Hiwasaki, L., Idrissou, L., Okafor, C., and van der Hoek, R. (2017) “Constraints and opportunities in using multi-stakeholder processes to implement integrated agricultural systems research for development: the Humidtropics case”. In Ӧborn, I., Vanlauwe, B., Phillips, M., Thomas, R., and Atta-Krah, K. eds. Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture: An Integrated Systems Research Approach. Oxon, UK: Earthscan from Routledge, 350–366.

Hiwasaki, L., Senaratna Sellamuttu, S., McDougall, C., Pannier, E., Culas, C., Minh, T.T. (2016) Guidelines to engage with marginalized groups in agricultural research for development in the Central Mekong. Hanoi, Vietnam: ICRAF.

Hiwasaki, L., Bolliger, A., Lacombe, G., Raneri, J., Schut, M., and Staal, S. eds. (2016) Integrated Systems Research for Sustainable Smallholder Agriculture in the Central Mekong: Achievements and challenges of implementing integrated systems research. Hanoi, Viet Nam: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Southeast Asia Regional Program.

Hiwasaki, L., Luna, E., Syamsidik, Marçal, J.A. (2015) Local and indigenous knowledge on climate-related hazards of coastal and small island communities in Southeast Asia. Climatic Change 128:35–56.

Hiwasaki, L., Luna, E., Syamsidik, Shaw, R. (2014) Process for integrating local and indigenous knowledge with science for hydro-meteorological disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in coastal and small island communities. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 10:15–27.

Hiwasaki, L. (2012) “‘Water for Life’… Water for Whose Life? Water, Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development in the United Nations. In Johnston, B.R., Hiwasaki, L., Klaver, I., Ramos Castillos, A., and Strang, V. eds. 2012. Water, Cultural Diversity, and Global Environmental Change: Emerging Trends, Sustainable Futures? Dordrecht: Springer, and Paris: UNESCO, 509–514.

Johnston, B.R., Hiwasaki, L., Klaver, I., Ramos Castillos, A., and Strang, V. eds. (2012) Water, Cultural Diversity, and Global Environmental Change: Emerging Trends, Sustainable Futures? Dordrecht: Springer, and Paris: UNESCO.