Dr Alison Thompson is a full time global humanitarian volunteer. Her work started on the Sept 11th 2001 attacks in New York, where she rollerbladed downtown to help as a first responder. There she lived in the streets collecting bodies and running a first aid station for 9 months. Alison lost many close friends on Sept 11th which had a huge impact on dedicating her life to service.
Alison has worked as a full time volunteer for the past 16 years, running refugee and internally displaced persons camps and field hospitals in Sri Lanka, Haiti, Philippines, Greece ( Syrian and Iraq refugees), Turkey, Nepal, Sandy Superstorm in NY and numerous disasters around the world. In 2005 she founded CTEC-the first Tsunami Early-Warning Disaster Center in Sri Lanka along with a Children's Learning Center and Tsunami Museum. In 2015 she was honored at Loyola Chicago University with an Honorary 'Doctorate of Letters', in the 'Humanities', where she also gave the commencement speech.
In 2012 Alison was appointed as the first official Ambassador to the Haitian Ministry of Environment where she still works in reforestation, sustainable energy and cholera initiatives.
In 2010 Alison was also awarded the Order of Australia for her volunteerism, bravery and contributions to mankind and the Paul Harris award from Rotary International. Alison is known in Sri Lanka as the 'Angel of Galle' where she worked for many years helping rebuild tsunami ravaged communities.
For the past 12 months, Alison has worked tirelessly on the island of Lesvos, Greece in the epicenter of the Syrian refugee Crisis, where millions have fled the war zones of Syria and Iraq. In Greece Alison works as a volunteer paramedic caring for refugees with hypothermia and war wounds and has developed a large network of volunteers who support and coordinate direct aid for the refugees. Her mission is to bring Love and Light to the refugees and to be a VOICE for HUMANITY for the suffering. Her latest program is bringing in an innovative origami designed Solar lights to the Syrian refugees in the dark camps. Alison has personally delivered Solar lights to over 75,000 refugees.
In 2001 Alison founded the 'Third Wave' volunteer' organization which has a network of over 50,000 volunteers and followers from all over the world. Alison works at the grassroots level -living in tents in the communities she is helping- creating innovative change to help communities work in a more sustainable way.
In 2010, Alison flew to Haiti along with Sean Penn and ten doctors to help after the earthquake. Together, they managed a 70,000-person IDP camp and field hospital where she was honored with the 'Commanders Award for Excellence' by the US Military Joint Task Force Haiti which also included her work alongside General Simeon Trombitas and the 82nd Airborne.
Alison then moved on to work in the Cite Soleil Haitian slums where she co-founded We Advance with Maria Bello and Aleda Frishman, a gender based violence organization and clinic for women and children and has worked there for the the past 6 years.
Her award-winning documentary The Third Wave, chronicles her volunteer experience in Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami and was screened at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival in a Presidential Jury Screening presented by Sean Penn and Bono. She followed up with a book published by Random house, The Third Wave: A Volunteer Story.
With simplicity and humility, Alison inspires everyone to service and to take action just as she has: as an everyday, average individual. She tailors her message on how 'anyone can volunteer', from a global scope to our own backyards and that â€œeveryone is neededâ€�.
Alison's motto is "It's easy to be in the wrong place at the wrong time but its Leadership to be in the wrong place at the right time!"