Policy Leaders Worldwide Converge to Resolve Post-disaster Issues of Social Vulnerability
November 07, 2011
Melissa Morse and Muna Killingback
On November 17 and 18, 2011, McCormack Graduate School's Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities After Disasters (CRSCAD), in collaboration with the chair of multiculturalism, University of São Paolo, São Paulo, Brazil, will host scholars, researchers, NGOs, public policy and crisis management representatives from around the world for an international workshop titled "Innovation, Diversity. and Sustainable Development in Areas of Social Vulnerability." This event is open to the public.
The first session of the conference will focus exclusively on Japan, eight months after the earthquake and tsunami. Thursday’s keynote speaker, Consul General of Japan in Boston Takeshi Hikihara will report on the current situation and the progress of recovery as well as the Japanese government's long and short term responses. Other presenters will look at the philanthropic and the NGO responses to the March earthquake and how architects have responded to the earthquake.
Research will also be presented by scholars from Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Haiti, Mexico, Nigeria, Somalia, Venezuela, and the U.S. on aspects of social vulnerability in their countries. The topics will cover a multitude of issues, ranging from how flooding has impacted some communities in Nigeria and Vietnam to a successful program that teaches children in Somalia skills of conflict resolution.
The Friday afternoon panel is devoted to presentations by FEMA officials and partners. Disability inclusive emergency planning for the whole community will be the topic of a keynote talk by Marcie Roth, director of FEMA's Office of Disability Integration and Coordination. Other presenters in the FEMA panel will focus on increasing resilience, building partnerships, and best practices. Another will review the findings of a 2010 National Commission Report on children and disasters.
Adenrele Awotona, PhD, workshop organizer and founding director of CRSCAD, notes that “the first goal is to strategize for the empowerment of residents in areas of social vulnerability. The second is to develop proposals for the implementation of culturally and economically appropriate public policies, with a sustainable basis, in these areas.” Professor Awotona is an authority on the social consequences of uncoordinated or poorly coordinated post-disaster reconstruction policies, specifically the perpetuation of a disaster’s effects upon the elderly, women, children, and ethnic minorities.
This two-day workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. each day in the Ryan Lounge in McCormack Hall at the University of Massachusetts Boston campus. Registration is $200 per attendee. Registration is free for students and members of non-profit and community-based grassroots organizations.
Learn more about the Innovation, Diversity, and Sustainable Development in Areas of Social Vulnerability conference
Also, for professionals who wish to advance their careers in the field of post-disaster reconstruction, the Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters, in conjunction with University College at UMass Boston, offers a one-of-a-kind, online graduate certificate program in Global Post-Disaster Studies as well as a non-credit certificate providing similar content.