About The Global Safety and Support Network

Global Safety and Security Assessment Committee

Northeastern university founded the Global Safety and Security Committee (GSSAC) to evaluate the safety of university programs and administer the university’s travel policies. GSSAC serves at the direction of the Provost, Chancellor, and General Counsel.

Mission:  To enhance and promote the safety, security, health and preparedness of faculty, staff and students on university-sponsored travel in support of excellence in experiential learning, advancement of knowledge and discovery, and the strengthening of our global university system; and to assess the risk of such travel.

Charge:  Responsible for the assessment and oversight of travel risk, safety, security, health, preparedness, and appropriate intervention for university sponsored travel:

  • Review and assess health, safety and security risks associated with international travel and new-program domestic travel[1], and promote safe and secure travel practices;
  • Review, recommend and update university travel policies and protocols, with authority to delegate enforcement of policies and protocols to relevant offices (e.g.: GEO, GSSO, regulatory affairs);
  • Maintain coordinated emergency response strategies for travel incidents, monitor travel and safety considerations, and make decisions on changes to programs or other travel or travel-related activities based upon an assessment of evolving conditions;
  • Identify of gaps in policies, procedures and protocols related to university-sponsored travel, define responsible party/parties to investigate and recommend solution for problems identified, and confirm effectiveness of implemented solution;
  • Broadly communicate all university policies and processes and the offices (e.g. GEO, GSSO, Risk);
  • Maintain responsibility for quality and compliance checks on processes (e.g. home country petition process; pre-departure training) implemented through delegated offices (e.g. GEO, GSSO, Risk).

Contact: Khusal Safi, Associate Director of Public Safety and Security k.safi@northeastern.edu

[1] A new program requiring review is a newly designed educational experience involving travel and at least one overnight stay that has not yet received a safety, security and health review because it is a new educational program.  For example, the first cohort of students that are sent to spend a semester at non-Boston campus in the Northeastern network.  It is expected that once an example program comes to GSSAC for review, any future programs of that type are handled through standard processes.  GSSO and GEO have the right to bring any new program to GSSAC attention for further review, and it is expected that programs requiring review will come through either GSSO or GEO.

Senior Leadership Team Sponsors

David Madigan
Ken Henderson

Mary Strother 
General Counsel


Khushal Safi
Global Safety and Support Office

Bryan Lackaye
Office of the Chancellor

GSSAC Members

Lisa Sinclair

Alison Nogueira 
Co-op Leadership


Chief Mike Davis
Public Safety
Madeleine Estabrook
Student Affairs

Amy Stevens
Global Experience Office

Tom Sheahan
Office of the Provost
Deb Franko
Office of the Provost

Michelle Carr

Mal Hill

Debra Copeland Mafhouz
Faculty – Clinical

Elisha Clark

Jenn Christ
Office of Global Services

Ken Liddle
Chief Compliance Officer

Global Safety and Support Office

Northeastern University is a globally engaged institution, which strives to build international and intercultural competence among Northeastern’s community, and establish relationships and collaborations with people and institutions abroad. The university recognizes there is a level of risk involved in international activities and Northeastern University Police Department (NUPD) established the Global Safety and Support Office (GSSO) in July 2014 to identify some of these risks.

GSSO is comprised of two full-time administrators, who specialize in pre-departure training, global event monitoring, and emergency response, while working to mitigate risks faced by Northeastern students, faculty, and staff traveling abroad. The office also employs work-study and coop students to assist its risk mitigation efforts and enhance the office’s GIS and communication technology.

What We Do

The GSSO strives to assist Northeastern travelers prior to international travel by providing guidance, logistics assistance, and information in order to enhance traveler safety and security awareness. The GSSO also endeavors to monitor global events, assess the potential impact to Northeastern travelers, communicate effectively with the Northeastern community, and respond to international emergencies.
The GSSO is housed within the Northeastern University Police Department and can call on the department’s resources depending on the situation. Travelers can also call into the NUPD dispatch center 24/7 to report incidents abroad. They will connect travelers with Northeastern WorldAware or the GSSO if assistance is needed.

Assistance Abroad

As stated, the GSSO monitors global events and communicates potential risks travelers may face. The GSSO can assist when Northeastern travelers on university-sponsored trips abroad need assistance. The GSSO provides advice, referrals, and/or assistance to travelers, whether it be a minor issue or an emergency situation, through collaboration with Northeastern WorldAware, government contacts, and other resources.

Trip Consultation

Trip Consultation

The office provides one-on-one travel consultation for Huskies traveling abroad, especially Northeastern members traveling to high risk destinations. The university suggests members of the Northeastern community consult with GSSO about health, safety, and security concerns prior to their departure. The GSSO can review itineraries, create custom maps, identify key services in your destination, and create emergency and communication plans.

Travel Registration

Travelers on university sponsored programs should enter their travel itinerary into My Travel Plans in order to gain access to university provided assistance programs while abroad. Find out why you need to register your trip.