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The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic arm of the United Nations (UN). It bridges the academic world and the UN system. Its goal is to develop sustainable solutions for current and future problems of humankind in all aspects of life. Through a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approach it aims at applied research and education on a global scale. UNU was founded in 1973 and is an autonomous organ of the UN General Assembly. The University comprises headquarters Tokyo, Japan, and more than a dozen Institutes and Programmes worldwide.


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Dr Xiaomeng Shen


Associate Academic Officer

MRF Chair

Tel.: + 49-228-815-0258



Xiaomeng Shen comes from PR China and holds a PhD in Geography and a Master of Translation (Translation, Linguistics and Economics) degree from the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn, Germany. Her PhD thesis investigates flood risk perception and communication amongst key institutional stakeholders involved in flood risk management in different cultural settings of China and Germany.

Xiaomeng is an interdisciplinary researcher with expertise in comparative cultural studies, risk perception, risk communication studies and institutional analysis. Before she joined UNU-EHS, she worked in various sectors which give her a broad range of professional experiences: professional interpretation for workshops and conferences on environmental issues and risk management, translation of books and essays of different authors including Nobel Prize Laureates and seven years experience in tutoring and teaching graduate students in Sinology at the University of Bonn. She has also organized and chaired international workshops and conferences.

Working Area at UNU-EHS

Xiaomeng Shen serves as an Associate Academic Officer in UNU-EHS managing the MRF Chair Project on Social Vulnerability which initiates policy-relevant research and organizes capacity building in the respective area. Her current research focuses on disaster risk management in different cultural settings, institutional vulnerabilities and environmentally induced migration.

She is the focal point for the following topics:

  • Cultural and socio-economic dimensions of social vulnerability

  • Comparative cultural perception of social vulnerabilities

  • Cultural sensitive bottom-up approaches to enhance risk management and social resilience, especially in developing countries.


Shen, X. (Ed.) (2009): Social Vulnerability Bulletin No. 3, UNU-EHS, Bonn, Germany.

Fekete, A.; Shen, X.; Bogardi, J.; Birkmann, J. (2009): Umwelt als Gefährdung – Wahrheit und Wahrnehmung, Transcript Verlag, Bielefeld.

Shen, X. (2009): Flood Risk Perception and Communication in Different Cultural Contexts - A Comparative Case Study between Wuhan, China and Cologne, Germany. Ph.D. dissertation. Online Publication of University of Bonn: hss.ulb.uni-bonn.de/2009/1856/1856.htm, Bonn, Germany.

Oliver-Smith, A.; Shen, X. (Eds.) (2009): Linking Environmental Change, Migration and Social Vulnerability. SOURCE No. 12/2009. UNU-EHS, Bonn, Germany.

Shen, X. (2009): Linking Oriental and Western Thinking to Mitigate Flood Risk. In: Brauch et al. (Eds.): Coping with Global Environmental Change, Disasters and Security - Threats, Challenges, Vulnerabilities and Risks, Springer Verlag, Berlin – Heidelberg – New York – Hong Kong – London – Milan – Paris – Tokyo.

Shen, X. (Ed.) (2008): Social Vulnerability Bulletin No. 2. UNU-EHS, Bonn, Germany.

Shen, X. (2008): Flood Risk Mitigation: Does Culture Matter? In: Simonovic et al. (Eds.): Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Flood Defence, Toronto, Canada.

Maiero, M.; Shen, X. (2004): Commonalities between Cultural and Bio-Diversity. www.zef.de/fileadmin/downloads/forum/docprog/Termpapers/2004_2_Shen_Maiero.pdf.