Eastern Connecticut State University has announced that Nicholas Lawson, director of field human resources for Doctors without Borders/“Médecins sans Frontières” (MSF), will be the commencement speaker at Eastern’s 124rd Commencement Exercises on May 13, 2014, at the XL Center in Hartford, CT.
Lawson will also receive an honorary degree from Eastern during the commencement ceremonies. He began working for MSF in 1997 as a logistical and administrative expert in a project in southern Sudan during that country’s brutal civil war. Since then he has held 11 other positions within the organization, which have taken him on humanitarian missions across the globe to Afghanistan, Burundi, East Timor, Pakistan, Kenya and elsewhere.
Last year in Uganda, Lawson coordinated MSF’s response to the Kamango/Bundibugyo refugee crisis on the Uganda/Congo border. In 2011, he coordinated a similar mission to provide HIV-related hospital care to the population of the Chiradzulu district in Malawi. Over the years, Lawson has traveled to and coordinated humanitarian and medical relief efforts in a number of other countries in response to natural disasters, refugee situations, the AIDS pandemic and other health emergencies.
During his years with MSF, Lawson has risen through the organizational ranks from logistician to field coordinator, logistical coordinator and finally head of mission. Lawson’s extensive field experience prepared him for the headquarter role of Recruitment Officer for Field Human Resources at MSF-Australia in Sydney. Today, he continues to use these skills to lead the New York-based human resources team that recruits and places U.S. medical and non-medical staff in MSF projects.
Prior to joining MSF in January 1997, Lawson worked in the finance, construction, education, and hospitality industries in Australia and other locales. He studied anthropology at the University of Western Australia.