In June 2014, a plane landed hard at the Kabul International Airport. It was after dark and the flight crew needed medical attention. The plane suffered damage, so the crew needed to stay overnight in Kabul until another aircraft could be flown in. Jaime Signoracci, who was only in her second day working at International SOS as a security intelligence analyst, was in the room when the phone call came in. The urgent request came with very little time to figure out where to send the injured flight crew for medical attention so late at night, the availability of secure lodging in Kabul for the remaining crew, and the coordination of professional secure transport services to get them all there safely.
This was Signoracci’s “jump into the deep end” introduction to the travel safety and security operations industry.
“It was a whirlwind education and I was drinking it all in from a fire hose,” she says. “I never wanted to work in another industry again. Every day is unique.”
Signoracci lives her passion for geopolitics and travel daily. Her career in global security operations and travel risk management within an array of industries led to an international risk management position at Notre Dame International in the summer of 2018. As the associate director of international travel and safety, Signoracci is leading the charge in providing strategic and operational leadership on matters of safety, and security overseas for Notre Dame faculty, staff, and students and the University’s global networks. She and colleague Judy Hutchinson, student engagement program director, also work closely with the Office of Student Affairs to make sure undergraduate students and other Notre Dame travelers are prepared for medical and mental health issues and resources while they’re traveling abroad.
“There are inherently different and often more risks with international travel and overseas operations, though global universities having an international travel security and risk management expert is a relatively new concept.”
Signoracci works closely with University stakeholders on campus and around the world to develop policies, procedures, and trainings associated with overseas travel. She is constantly monitoring worldwide news, benchmarking with peer institutions, and developing the University’s international preparedness strategy in coordination with Campus Safety and Emergency Management.
Most recently, she traveled to Israel in October of 2019 with Keri Kei Shibata, chief of the Notre Dame Police Department and executive director of emergency management, and Tracy Skibins, senior director of emergency management. They visited the University of Notre Dame at Tantur in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the Old City to experience where students, faculty, and staff spend their time on study abroad programs and research. They also visited the Brigham Young University (BYU) Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies campus to discuss their approach to safety and security, met with the US embassy’s regional security officer and other embassy staff to discuss the ways the Department of State supports US travelers abroad, and visited Tel Aviv to experience the city and meet with a local security company.
“Notre Dame International places the highest priority on safety in our international programs,” Signoracci says. “This trip reaffirms the value of conducting periodic site visits and risk assessments to review the health and safety aspects of international education. There’s no substitute to meeting with local contacts face to face.”
As Notre Dame continues to expand its international reach through diverse study abroad programs and research in challenging and ever-changing environments, Signoracci’s expertise in international risk management is critical. She is happy to have colleagues on the University’s emergency management team to work alongside to understand and mitigate security threats, and manage risks proactively in emergency situations.
“The international mission and footprint of the University mandates a robust travel risk management program that strengthens our duty of care, something that I’ve been building on since I started at Notre Dame.”
Signoracci continues to build up the University’s international preparedness, awareness, and readiness in the pursuit of better preparing the University community to ensure safe continuity of travel.
Notre Dame International provides training and preparation to better understand health, safety, and security best practices for Notre Dame affiliated travel and beyond. All students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to register their travel at ndi-tr.nd.edu.
Originally published by international.nd.edu on March 03, 2020.at