Elena Giral is a Spanish architect and urban planner, specialised in shelter and settlements in emergencies and participatory projects with communities. She currently works in the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission (ECHO), where she coordinates the creation of the first European emergency shelter capacity under the rescEU programme. Previously she worked on selection, funding and monitoring of humanitarian and emergency projects for various regions (Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and East Africa).
Elena has also worked as an architect and urban planner on projects in France and Spain and collaborated with the NGO TECHO in Chile, developing participatory social housing in informal settlements as well as with the King Baudouin Foundation in Belgium, where she coordinated a European network of philanthropic foundations present in 19 countries.
Elena holds an Architecture Master’s degree from the University of Valladolid (Spain) and a Post-graduate Master in European Studies – Policy Advisor and Project Consultant from the UC Louvain / CCItaBel. Last year she completed an Advanced Master of Human Settlements at the KU Leuven (Belgium). Elena was recently part of the academic body of the first shelter workshop organised by the Norman Foster Foundation.