Welcome to the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative

A crisis leadership training and research program


The NPLI at Harvard University prepares leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors to handle crisis and significant change. Participants in our training programs are leaders responsible for safety and security, emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. We have trained more than 8,000 leaders, from more than 95 agencies and organizations, in over 30 U.S. States and 10 countries around the world.

The curricula are built on faculty research with leaders in the midst of and soon after natural disasters, terror attacks, public health emergencies, and more. Using our field research on major events, faculty provide participants with the knowledge, skills, and tools to effectively ground themselves cognitively and emotionally amidst turbulence; accurately perceive what is happening and what to do about it; and forge robust connectivity with the full range of stakeholders. Faculty integrate applied neuroscience, game theory, psychology, group dynamics, and more into practical tools and techniques to improve leader effectiveness.

Leaders learn with us by attending our residential leadership training programs, custom agency training programs, workshops, and seminars both domestically and internationally. Come learn at Harvard! Our most popular leadership training programs can be found here.

Our programs are popular with government agencies, corporations, and non-profit organizations, whose executive and senior managers face high-stakes, high-pressure crisis and change situations. The faculty have professional leadership training experience working with agencies such as Department of Homeland Security, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Defense, American Red Cross, World Bank, Southern California Edison, Bank of America, and more.                           

The NPLI leadership difference The foundation of our teaching is built on the framework and practice method of Meta-Leadership,  – combining conceptual rigor with pragmatic insights that have been developed through field crisis research on events from: Hurricane Katrina; Boston Marathon Bombings; and Infectious disease outbreaks.

Dr. Leonard J. Marcus, Dr. Barry Dorn, Joseph Henderson, and Eric J. McNulty are among the NPLI faculty who have been at the forefront of developing the Meta-Leadership framework and practice method.