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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2013 / 07 

Fourth Conference on Community Resiliency set for Aug. 29-30 in Switzerland

July 8, 2013

Increased environmental and socio-technology threats are challenging the ability to mitigate and recover from major events.

Can new science and technologies improve the resiliency of our critical infrastructures? How do we effectively translate national strategies into local actions that enhance the resiliency in communities and thus collectively enhance the resiliency of a nation? How do we best incorporate social, technical and cultural elements into frameworks that will improve resiliency at all scales – global, national, and local – and across all sectors?

These are the important questions that a group of international academics and practicing professionals will tackle at the Fourth Conference on Community Resiliency sponsored by Virginia Tech and the Foundation Global Risk Forum GRF Davos in collaboration with the U.S. National Academies of Science. The conference will be held in Davos, Switzerland, Aug. 29-30.  

The conference is being organized by James Bohland, professor emeritus, School of Public and International Affairs, and interim vice president and associate director of Virginia Tech National Capital Region Operations; and Jack Harrald, interim director, Center for Community Security and Resilience, Virginia Tech National Capital Region. 

Prior conferences were held in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2010; at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, Va., in 2011; and in Davos, Switzerland, in 2012.

“Providing a platform for academics and practitioners to meet and share their varied approaches in a collaborative environment has been a successful formula for the conferences from the onset,” said Jim Bohland. “The format has resulted in a rich discussion of resiliency issues, often leading to new directions for research and professional practices." 

Addressing this year’s conference theme, Harrald said, “Resilient communities are the foundations on which a resilient nation has always been built and must be rebuilt in the future.  A resilient community understands itself and its vulnerabilities, takes positive collective actions to limit the effects of those vulnerabilities, and recovers rapidly and robustly from disasters of all kinds. We believe that our agenda in Davos will not only significantly advance our knowledge but motivate actions to strengthen resiliency of critical infrastructures in a way that lets our communities prosper in an era of increased and emerging risks.”

Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger will open the conference with the keynote address, "Creating a Culture of Resiliency," on Aug. 29.

Saifur Rahman, the Joseph R. Loring Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Advanced Research Institute, will give the plenary address for the international session.

Faculty representing Virginia Tech – in addition to Bohland and Harrald -- by chairing or participating in panel discussions during the conference include

  • Paul Knox, University Distinguished Professor;
  • Ralph Hall, assistant professor, urban affairs and planning;
  • Kostas Triantis, professor, industrial and systems engineering; and
  • Chris Barrett, director, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute in the National Capital Region. 

Visit the conference website for a complete agenda and registration. Contact Jim Bohland for additional information.

 

 

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