Alison Thompson has been charged by hippos and elephants and has awoken to lionesses sleeping outside her tent in Africa but she is most passionate about her humanitarian work which started on Sept 11th 2001, where she volunteered as a First Responder for nine months. This event changed the course of her life to full time humanitarian work.
Dr. Alison Thompson is a full time humanitarian volunteer. Her work started on the Sept 11th 2001 attacks in New York, where she worked as a first responder for 9 months. Thompson lost many close friends on Sept 11th which had a huge impact on dedicating the rest of her life to service.
Thompson has worked as a full time humanitarian volunteer for the past 19 years, running IDP, refugee camps and field hospitals in most of the largest disasters around the world from Sri Lanka, Haiti, Philippines, Syrian and Iraq refugee crisis, Nepal, Sandy Superstorm in NY and numerous other disasters around the world including the recent Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico hurricanes, Guatemala Eruptions.
In 2001 Thompson founded Third Wave volunteers which has grown to a network of over 30,000 volunteers across 6 continents. Third Wave Volunteers have partnered with many other organizations over the past 19 years with the help over 840,000 volunteers. Thompson works at the grassroots level helping educate communities to work in more sustainable ways. 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 Thompson was appointed as the first official Ambassador to the Haitian Ministry of Environment where she works in reforestation and sustainable energy. In 2016 she represented Haiti at the United Nations COP 22 Climate talks in Marrakesh and helped the Haitian Parliament ratify the Paris Agreement.
In 2010 Thompson was awarded the Order of Australia from the Australian Govt. and Queen Elizabeth the 2nd for her volunteerism, bravery and contributions to mankind and also the Paul Harris award from Rotary International.
For the past 3 years Thompson and her teams has worked tirelessly on the island of Lesvos, Greece and the surrounding borders of Syria in the epicenter of the Syrian refugee Crisis. In Greece Thompson and her Third Wave teams work as paramedics caring for refugees with hypothermia and war wounds and she has developed a large network of volunteers who support and coordinate direct aid to the refugees. Her latest program is bringing innovative fold up solar lights to the Syrian refugees in the dark camps. Thompson has personally delivered solar lights to over 85,000 refugees.
In 2010, Thompson flew to Haiti along with actor Sean Penn and ten doctors to help after the earthquake. Together, they managed a 70,000-person IDP camp and field hospital where they were both later honored with the Commanders Award for Excellence from the US Military Joint Task Force- General Simeon Trombitas and the 82nd Airborne. She then moved on to work in the cholera outbreaks in northern Haiti and to the Cite Soleil Haitian slums where she co-founded We Advance, a gender based violence organization and clinic for women and children.
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, Thompson 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 “everyone is needed”
Third Wave motto’s include “Everyones Needed- No Skills Required” and “Its easy to be in the wrong place at the wrong time but its Leadership to be in the wrong place at the right time!”
Dr .Thompson lectures with APB in universities, schools and corporations worldwide on leadership, volunteering, sustainability, disaster preparedness, GBV, women’s rights and corporate social responsibility.