Howard (Roy) Williams is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), in New York City. He has also lectured at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS), in Monterey, California, the American University in Washington, DC, the Università della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, Switzerland, He has designed and led crisis preparedness and response simulations in various locations for the NOHA network of European universities, hosted in the Netherlands.
Mr. Williams was previously Director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), in the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Response, of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). As head of OFDA, He oversaw disaster preparedness, conflict response, and relief and rehabilitation programs worldwide.
Before going to OFDA, Mr. Williams was a staff member of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) where he was Director of Emergency Operations and Vice President for Overseas Programs.
During this period with IRC, he led efforts that resulted in the conceptualization, creation, and staffing of IRC's Emergency Preparedness Unit. He helped to establish and staff IRC offices in a variety of places, including Northern Iraq, Jordan, the Balkans, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, and Southern Sudan.
He has also served as an advisor on civilian/military relations while on the staff of the Peace Keeping and Stabilization Institute (PKSOI) of the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and as Humanitarian Chair at the Marine Corps University Foundation in Quantico, Virginia.
His career has included service as Chair of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAG), of the Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC), of the American Red Cross
In addition, he has served with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in Geneva, Switzerland, as Regional Director in Bangkok, Thailand, and Country Representative in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,
Mr. Williams is a native New Yorker and received his Bachelor's degree from Columbia College. He did additional coursework at the Columbia University School of Law. He also served in the U. S. armed forces. He is the author of several articles on issues relating to humanitarian assistance appearing in publications in the U.S. and Europe, such as Liaison magazine distributed by the Center of Excellence in Hawaii, and Bochume Schriften, published by Bochum University in Germany.