GLOBAL RISK FORUM (GRF): 5th International Disaster Risk Conference (IDRC), Davos, Switzerland, August 24-29, 2014 

This year’s conference, focused on integrative risk management – the role of science, technology, and practice,  gathered over 700 participants from more than 80 countries from UN and other organizations, NGOs, private sector, academia, and media. I had an opportunity to present my project titled Assessing relocation potential in Hurricane Sandy affected coastal communities as a part of  session on Migration and Displacement within Disaster Risk Reduction. This session was organized by Dr. Robin Bronen from the Alaska Institute for Justice who discussed this topic in the context of relocation of Alaskan’s native villages that are already experiencing significant climate change impacts (presentations are available at:

In addition, Dr. Deborah Brosnan form Virginia Tech/Brosnan Center (photo below) invited me to participate in her special panel on Building Functional Resilience: Integrating Ecosystems, Environment and Natural Resources into DRR with Hans-Peter Plag from Old Dominion University, Wendy Cue from UN OCHA, and Timothy Gablehouse from Colorado Emergency Preparedness Partnership as other speakers.  Following the panelists’ individual presentations, we had a very productive discussion with the audience on possible policy, science, and socio-economic barriers and opportunities that could emerge from a more proactive and holistic integration of ecosystem/environmental considerations into DDR. Based on the event feedback, audience especially appreciated a diverse range of perspectives on this topic from the interdisciplinary panel participants and its analysis in different contexts and location specific settings.

Deborah and me

Dr. Yang Zhang from Urban Affairs and Planning – Virginia Tech and I had an opportunity to meet Dr. Walter Amman, the Chairman of the International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC Davos and the Founder and President of the Foundation Global Risk Forum GRF Davos (photo below). We discussed possibilities for continuing collaboration between GRF, Virginia Tech’s Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience, and the School of Public and International Affairs.

Walter, Yang and me

Among many other productive networking opportunities, I had a very enriching  conversation with Dr. Nivideta Haran, the Additional Secretary Home and Vigilance Department of Government of Kerala, India, who was a keynote speaker discussing DRR and CCS: Going from policies to practice. She shared her experiences with coastal hazards/disasters in Kerala region and local efforts to reduce disaster risk by improving infrastructure and connectivity between communities and shoreline to inland locations.

NividetaAnd lastly, this event resulted in the outcome report including a summary of the the post-conference expert workshop with  focus on science and technology, education and training, and implementation from a science and technology perspective, as well as comments from conference participants on this topics. The report findings will be reflected in the post-2015 framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (HFA2) and will provide recommendations towards the UN World Conference WCDRR in Sendai, Japan.


GLOBAL FORUM ON URBAN AND REGIONAL RESILIENCE (GFURR): Normative Aspects of Resilience, Arlington, VA, October 12-14, 2014

This inaugural conference was devoted to informing our understanding of ethical and normative aspects of resilience in the context of metropolitan or regional  scales. According to the event website, the conference was designed to address “the philosophical and theoretical frameworks for understanding and evaluating normative and ethical issues that pertain to resilience in the context of urban and regional settings”. 

I contributed to the panel on Functional Resilience: Integrating Environment and Ecosystems into Resilience Theory and Real World Decisions organized by Dr. Deborah Brosnan,Virginia Tech/Brosnan Center and with three other quest speakers: Dr. Kris Ludwig from USGS,DOI Strategic Science Group, discussing Tactical and Strategies Science during Crises; Dr. Kelly Burks-Copes from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers talking about Chasing the Big Blue Rabbit – meaning climate change challenges; and Del Morris from the Royal Netherlands Embassy reflecting on Dutch experiences with flood management (photo below, second with Dr. Jim Bohland, co-director of Global Forum).

Panel Group4