About Us

FIU is now home to the Academy for International Disaster Preparedness. The Academy's mandate is to establish a professional pathway for existing disaster responders and new students exploring the exciting field of international disaster management/humanitarian relief, emergency preparedness and homeland security. Our faculty and instructors are professionals in their field of expertise and they offer the experience you will not typically find in a text-book.

The advantages to an education at FIU are many, but its location places it among the most dynamic and diverse populations in the nation. An integral part of the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, the Academy will bring together many of FIU's internationally oriented disciplines and nationally recognized colleges to provide hands-on teaching and innovative training. Our program will incorporate many of FIU's world-class faculty, programs, and cutting-edge facilities, including its emergency operations simulator. If you would like to learn more about the Academy and our vision, please feel free to browse through our five-year Strategic Plan to educate tomorrow's leaders.

Our Mission

The Academy's mission is to deliver a competitive master’s program whereupon practicing and aspiring disaster practitioners can develop the knowledge, skills and theoretical analysis to become an effective or more effective disaster management professional.

Our Vision

To be a leader in providing a world-class education and training in the field of international disaster preparedness, humanitarian assistance, emergency management, and homeland security.


Global preparedness through education!

Executive Director Ruben D. Almaguer


Ruben D. Almaguer is a highly qualified professional with more than 35 years of experience in crisis and disaster management operations. At present, Mr. Almaguer serves as the Executive Director of the Academy for International Disaster Preparedness and Assistant Vice President of Disaster Management and Operations at Florida International University (FIU). Prior to joining FlU, he served as the EMS Chief and Training Captain for Monroe County Fire Rescue. In 2007, Mr. Almaguer was appointed by the governor to serve as the first deputy director for the Florida Division of Emergency Management. In 2009, he was elevated to the level of interim director. During this time, he coordinated disaster response and recovery activities during 15 federally declared disasters.

From 1983 to 2007, Mr. Almaguer served as a fire officer/paramedic for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department (MDFR), rising to the rank of division chief. During his 20 years with MDFR, he also served as the Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) program manager for the department. Concurrently, he served as a task force leader for the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance Disaster Assistance (OFDA) Response Team during international disasters. He has deployed all over the world in response to catastrophic earthquakes, hurricanes and flooding. In the United States, he also deployed as a member of a federal US&R team in response to the Oklahoma City Bombing, Hurricane Katrina, and terrorists attacks on 9/11.

Mr. Almaguer holds a Master’s in Public Administration from FIU and a Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Defense from the Naval Post-Graduate School. He possesses over a dozen certifications, including but not limited to: certified FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Lead Instructor, Certified Emergency Manager, certified United Nations Humanitarian Civil Military Assistance and Coordination, and certified USAID/OFDA Instructor.

2016-2021 Strategic Plan

For a copy of the Academy's five-year strategic plan, please select the PDF file below:

Strategic Plan